IASB Addresses 'Counter-Intuitive' Effects of Fair Value Measurement of Financial Liabilities

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published for public comment its proposed changes to the accounting for financial liabilities. The proposal follows work already completed on the classification and measurement of financial assets (IFRS 9 Financial Instruments).

 

The IASB is proposing limited changes to the accounting for liabilities, with changes to the fair value option. The proposals respond to the view expressed by many investors and others in the extensive consultations that the IASB has undertaken—that volatility in profit or loss resulting from changes in the credit risk of liabilities that an entity chooses to measure at fair value is counter-intuitive and does not provide useful information to investors.

 

When the IASB introduced IFRS, 9 many stakeholders around the world advised the IASB that the existing requirements for financial liabilities work well, except for the effects of changes in the credit risk of a financial liability (‘own credit’) that an entity chooses to measure at fair value.

 

Building on that global consultation on IFRS 9, the IASB sought the views of investors, preparers, audit firms, regulators and others on the ‘own credit’ issue. The views received were consistent with the earlier consultations—that volatility in profit or loss resulting from changes in ‘own credit’ does not provide useful information except for derivatives and liabilities that are held for trading.

 

The IASB is therefore proposing that all gains and losses resulting from changes in ‘own credit’ for financial liabilities that an entity chooses to measure at fair value should be transferred to ‘other comprehensive income’. Changes in ‘own credit’ will therefore not affect reported profit or loss. No other changes are proposed for financial liabilities.

 

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