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IAS 39 — Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement

Overview

IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement outlines the requirements for the recognition and measurement of financial assets, financial liabilities, and some contracts to buy or sell non-financial items. Financial instruments are initially recognised when an entity becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the instrument, and are classified into various categories depending upon the type of instrument, which then determines the subsequent measurement of the instrument (typically amortised cost or fair value). Special rules apply to embedded derivatives and hedging instruments.

IAS 39 was reissued in December 2003, applies to annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005, and will be largely replaced by IFRS 9 Financial Instruments for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

History of IAS 39

Date Development Comments
October 1984 Exposure Draft E26 Accounting for Investments
March 1986 IAS 25 Accounting for Investments Operative for financial statements covering periods beginning on or after 1 January 1987
September 1991 Exposure Draft E40 Financial Instruments
January 1994 E40 was modified and re-exposed as Exposure Draft E48 Financial Instruments
June 1995 The disclosure and presentation portion of E48 was adopted as IAS 32
March 1997 Discussion Paper Accounting for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities issued
June 1998 Exposure Draft E62 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement issued Comment deadline 30 September 1998
December 1998 IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement (1998) Effective date 1 January 2001
April 2000 Withdrawal of IAS 25 following the approval of IAS 40 Investment Property Effective for financial statements covering periods beginning on or after 1 January 2001
October 2000 Limited revisions to IAS 39 Effective date 1 January 2001
17 December 2003 IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement (2004) issued Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005
31 March 2004 IAS 39 revised to reflect macro hedging Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005
17 December 2004 Amendment issued to IAS 39 for transition and initial recognition of profit or loss
14 April 2005 Amendment issued to IAS 39 for cash flow hedges of forecast intragroup transactions Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2006
15 June 2005 Amendment to IAS 39 for fair value option Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2006
18 August 2005 Amendment to IAS 39 for financial guarantee contracts Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2006
22 May 2008 IAS 39 amended for Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2007 Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009
30 July 2008 Amendment to IAS 39 for eligible hedged items Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 July 2009
13 October 2008 Amendment to IAS 39 for reclassifications of financial assets Effective 1 July 2008
12 March 2009 Amendment to IAS 39 for embedded derivatives on reclassifications of financial assets Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 July 2009
16 April 2009 IAS 39 amended for Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2009 Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2010
12 November 2009 IFRS 9 Financial Instruments issued, replacing the classification and measurement of financial assets provisions of IAS 39 Original effective date 1 January 2013, later deferred and subsequently removed*
28 October 2010 IFRS 9 Financial Instruments reissued, incorporating new requirements on accounting for financial liabilities and carrying over from IAS 39 the requirements for derecognition of financial assets and financial liabilities Original effective date 1 January 2013, later deferred and subsequently removed*
27 June 2013 Amended by Novation of Derivatives and Continuation of Hedge Accounting Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2014 (earlier application permitted)
19 November 2013 IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (Hedge Accounting and amendments to IFRS 9, IFRS 7 and IAS 39) issued, permitting an entity to elect to continue to apply the hedge accounting requirements in IAS 39 for a fair value hedge of the interest rate exposure of a portion of a portfolio of financial assets or financial liabilities when IFRS 9 is applied, and to extend the fair value option to certain contracts that meet the 'own use' scope exception Applies when IFRS 9 is applied*
24 July 2014 IFRS 9 Financial Instruments issued, replacing IAS 39 requirements for classification and measurement, impairment, hedge accounting and derecognition Effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018#

* IFRS 9 (2014) supersedes IFRS 9 (2009), IFRS 9 (2010) and IFRS 9 (2013), but these standards remain available for application if the relevant date of initial application is before 1 February 2015.

# When an entity first applies IFRS 9, it may choose as its accounting policy choice to continue to apply the hedge accounting requirements of IAS 39 instead of the requirements of Chapter 6 of IFRS 9.  The IASB currently is undertaking a project on macro hedge accounting which is expected to eventually replace these sections of IAS 39.

Related Interpretations

  • IFRIC 16 Hedge of a Net Investment in a Foreign Operation
  • IFRIC 12 Service Concession Arrangements
  • IFRIC 9 Reassessment of Embedded Derivatives
  • IAS 39 (2003) superseded SIC-33 Consolidation and Equity Method – Potential Voting Rights and Allocation of Ownership Interest

Amendments under consideration by the IASB

Summary of IAS 39

Deloitte guidance on IFRSs for financial instruments

iGAAP2012

iGAAP 2012: Financial Instruments

Deloitte (United Kingdom) has developed iGAAP 2012: Financial Instruments – IFRS 9 and related Standards (Volume B) and iGAAP 2012: Financial Instruments – IAS 39 and related Standards (Volume C), which have been published by LexisNexis. These publications are the authoritative guides for financial instruments accounting under IFRSs. These two titles go beyond and behind the technical requirements, unearthing common practices and problems, and providing views, interpretations, clear explanations and examples. They enable the reader to gain a sound understanding of the standards and an appreciation of their practicalities.The iGAAP 2012 Financial Instruments books can be purchased through www.lexisnexis.co.uk/deloitte.

Scope

Scope exclusions

IAS 39 applies to all types of financial instruments except for the following, which are scoped out of IAS 39: [IAS 39.2]

  • interests in subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures accounted for under IAS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements, IAS 28 Investments in Associates, or IAS 31 Interests in Joint Ventures (or, for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2013, IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements, IAS 27 Separate Financial Statements or IAS 28 Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures); however IAS 39 applies in cases where under those standards such interests are to be accounted for under IAS 39. The standard also applies to most derivatives on an interest in a subsidiary, associate, or joint venture
  • employers' rights and obligations under employee benefit plans to which IAS 19 Employee Benefits applies
  • forward contracts between an acquirer and selling shareholder to buy or sell an acquiree that will result in a business combination at a future acquisition date
  • rights and obligations under insurance contracts, except IAS 39 does apply to financial instruments that take the form of an insurance (or reinsurance) contract but that principally involve the transfer of financial risks and derivatives embedded in insurance contracts
  • financial instruments that meet the definition of own equity under IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation
  • financial instruments, contracts and obligations under share-based payment transactions to which IFRS 2 Share-based Payment applies
  • rights to reimbursement payments to which IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets applies

Leases

IAS 39 applies to lease receivables and payables only in limited respects: [IAS 39.2(b)]

  • IAS 39 applies to lease receivables with respect to the derecognition and impairment provisions
  • IAS 39 applies to lease payables with respect to the derecognition provisions
  • IAS 39 applies to derivatives embedded in leases.

Financial guarantees

IAS 39 applies to financial guarantee contracts issued. However, if an issuer of financial guarantee contracts has previously asserted explicitly that it regards such contracts as insurance contracts and has used accounting applicable to insurance contracts, the issuer may elect to apply either IAS 39 or IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts to such financial guarantee contracts. The issuer may make that election contract by contract, but the election for each contract is irrevocable.

Accounting by the holder is excluded from the scope of IAS 39 and IFRS 4 (unless the contract is a reinsurance contract). Therefore, paragraphs 10-12 of IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors apply. Those paragraphs specify criteria to use in developing an accounting policy if no IFRS applies specifically to an item.

Loan commitments

Loan commitments are outside the scope of IAS 39 if they cannot be settled net in cash or another financial instrument, they are not designated as financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss, and the entity does not have a past practice of selling the loans that resulted from the commitment shortly after origination. An issuer of a commitment to provide a loan at a below-market interest rate is required initially to recognise the commitment at its fair value; subsequently, the issuer will remeasure it at the higher of (a) the amount recognised under IAS 37 and (b) the amount initially recognised less, where appropriate, cumulative amortisation recognised in accordance with IAS 18. An issuer of loan commitments must apply IAS 37 to other loan commitments that are not within the scope of IAS 39 (that is, those made at market or above). Loan commitments are subject to the derecognition provisions of IAS 39. [IAS 39.4]

Contracts to buy or sell financial items

Contracts to buy or sell financial items are always within the scope of IAS 39 (unless one of the other exceptions applies).

Contracts to buy or sell non-financial items

Contracts to buy or sell non-financial items are within the scope of IAS 39 if they can be settled net in cash or another financial asset and are not entered into and held for the purpose of the receipt or delivery of a non-financial item in accordance with the entity's expected purchase, sale, or usage requirements. Contracts to buy or sell non-financial items are inside the scope if net settlement occurs. The following situations constitute net settlement: [IAS 39.5-6]

  • the terms of the contract permit either counterparty to settle net
  • there is a past practice of net settling similar contracts
  • there is a past practice, for similar contracts, of taking delivery of the underlying and selling it within a short period after delivery to generate a profit from short-term fluctuations in price, or from a dealer's margin, or
  • the non-financial item is readily convertible to cash

Weather derivatives

Although contracts requiring payment based on climatic, geological, or other physical variable were generally excluded from the original version of IAS 39, they were added to the scope of the revised IAS 39 in December 2003 if they are not in the scope of IFRS 4. [IAS 39.AG1]

Definitions

IAS 39 incorporates the definitions of the following items from IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation: [IAS 39.8]
  • financial instrument
  • financial asset
  • financial liability
  • equity instrument.

Note: Where an entity applies IFRS 9 Financial Instruments prior to its mandatory application date (1 January 2015), definitions of the following terms are also incorporated from IFRS 9: derecognition, derivative, fair value, financial guarantee contract.  The definition of those terms outlined below (as relevant) are those from IAS 39.

Common examples of financial instruments within the scope of IAS 39
  • cash
  • demand and time deposits
  • commercial paper
  • accounts, notes, and loans receivable and payable
  • debt and equity securities. These are financial instruments from the perspectives of both the holder and the issuer. This category includes investments in subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures
  • asset backed securities such as collateralised mortgage obligations, repurchase agreements, and securitised packages of receivables
  • derivatives, including options, rights, warrants, futures contracts, forward contracts, and swaps.

A derivative is a financial instrument:

  • Whose value changes in response to the change in an underlying variable such as an interest rate, commodity or security price, or index;
  • That requires no initial investment, or one that is smaller than would be required for a contract with similar response to changes in market factors; and
  • That is settled at a future date. [IAS 39.9]
Examples of derivatives

Forwards: Contracts to purchase or sell a specific quantity of a financial instrument, a commodity, or a foreign currency at a specified price determined at the outset, with delivery or settlement at a specified future date. Settlement is at maturity by actual delivery of the item specified in the contract, or by a net cash settlement.

Interest rate swaps and forward rate agreements: Contracts to exchange cash flows as of a specified date or a series of specified dates based on a notional amount and fixed and floating rates.

Futures: Contracts similar to forwards but with the following differences: futures are generic exchange-traded, whereas forwards are individually tailored. Futures are generally settled through an offsetting (reversing) trade, whereas forwards are generally settled by delivery of the underlying item or cash settlement.

Options: Contracts that give the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to buy (call option) or sell (put option) a specified quantity of a particular financial instrument, commodity, or foreign currency, at a specified price (strike price), during or at a specified period of time. These can be individually written or exchange-traded. The purchaser of the option pays the seller (writer) of the option a fee (premium) to compensate the seller for the risk of payments under the option.

Caps and floors: These are contracts sometimes referred to as interest rate options. An interest rate cap will compensate the purchaser of the cap if interest rates rise above a predetermined rate (strike rate) while an interest rate floor will compensate the purchaser if rates fall below a predetermined rate.

Embedded derivatives

Some contracts that themselves are not financial instruments may nonetheless have financial instruments embedded in them. For example, a contract to purchase a commodity at a fixed price for delivery at a future date has embedded in it a derivative that is indexed to the price of the commodity.

An embedded derivative is a feature within a contract, such that the cash flows associated with that feature behave in a similar fashion to a stand-alone derivative. In the same way that derivatives must be accounted for at fair value on the balance sheet with changes recognised in the income statement, so must some embedded derivatives. IAS 39 requires that an embedded derivative be separated from its host contract and accounted for as a derivative when: [IAS 39.11]

  • the economic risks and characteristics of the embedded derivative are not closely related to those of the host contract
  • a separate instrument with the same terms as the embedded derivative would meet the definition of a derivative, and
  • the entire instrument is not measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognised in the income statement

If an embedded derivative is separated, the host contract is accounted for under the appropriate standard (for instance, under IAS 39 if the host is a financial instrument). Appendix A to IAS 39 provides examples of embedded derivatives that are closely related to their hosts, and of those that are not.

Examples of embedded derivatives that are not closely related to their hosts (and therefore must be separately accounted for) include:

  • the equity conversion option in debt convertible to ordinary shares (from the perspective of the holder only) [IAS 39.AG30(f)]
  • commodity indexed interest or principal payments in host debt contracts[IAS 39.AG30(e)]
  • cap and floor options in host debt contracts that are in-the-money when the instrument was issued [IAS 39.AG33(b)]
  • leveraged inflation adjustments to lease payments [IAS 39.AG33(f)]
  • currency derivatives in purchase or sale contracts for non-financial items where the foreign currency is not that of either counterparty to the contract, is not the currency in which the related good or service is routinely denominated in commercial transactions around the world, and is not the currency that is commonly used in such contracts in the economic environment in which the transaction takes place. [IAS 39.AG33(d)]

If IAS 39 requires that an embedded derivative be separated from its host contract, but the entity is unable to measure the embedded derivative separately, the entire combined contract must be designated as a financial asset as at fair value through profit or loss). [IAS 39.12]

Classification as liability or equity

Since IAS 39 does not address accounting for equity instruments issued by the reporting enterprise but it does deal with accounting for financial liabilities, classification of an instrument as liability or as equity is critical. IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation addresses the classification question.

Classification of financial assets

IAS 39 requires financial assets to be classified in one of the following categories: [IAS 39.45]

  • Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss
  • Available-for-sale financial assets
  • Loans and receivables
  • Held-to-maturity investments

Those categories are used to determine how a particular financial asset is recognised and measured in the financial statements.

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss. This category has two subcategories:

  • Designated. The first includes any financial asset that is designated on initial recognition as one to be measured at fair value with fair value changes in profit or loss.
  • Held for trading. The second category includes financial assets that are held for trading. All derivatives (except those designated hedging instruments) and financial assets acquired or held for the purpose of selling in the short term or for which there is a recent pattern of short-term profit taking are held for trading. [IAS 39.9]

Available-for-sale financial assets (AFS) are any non-derivative financial assets designated on initial recognition as available for sale or any other instruments that are not classified as as (a) loans and receivables, (b) held-to-maturity investments or (c) financial assets at fair value through profit or loss. [IAS 39.9] AFS assets are measured at fair value in the balance sheet. Fair value changes on AFS assets are recognised directly in equity, through the statement of changes in equity, except for interest on AFS assets (which is recognised in income on an effective yield basis), impairment losses and (for interest-bearing AFS debt instruments) foreign exchange gains or losses. The cumulative gain or loss that was recognised in equity is recognised in profit or loss when an available-for-sale financial asset is derecognised. [IAS 39.55(b)]

Loans and receivables are non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market, other than held for trading or designated on initial recognition as assets at fair value through profit or loss or as available-for-sale. Loans and receivables for which the holder may not recover substantially all of its initial investment, other than because of credit deterioration, should be classified as available-for-sale.[IAS 39.9] Loans and receivables are measured at amortised cost. [IAS 39.46(a)]

Held-to-maturity investments are non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that an entity intends and is able to hold to maturity and that do not meet the definition of loans and receivables and are not designated on initial recognition as assets at fair value through profit or loss or as available for sale. Held-to-maturity investments are measured at amortised cost. If an entity sells a held-to-maturity investment other than in insignificant amounts or as a consequence of a non-recurring, isolated event beyond its control that could not be reasonably anticipated, all of its other held-to-maturity investments must be reclassified as available-for-sale for the current and next two financial reporting years. [IAS 39.9] Held-to-maturity investments are measured at amortised cost. [IAS 39.46(b)]

Classification of financial liabilities

IAS 39 recognises two classes of financial liabilities: [IAS 39.47]

  • Financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss
  • Other financial liabilities measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method

The category of financial liability at fair value through profit or loss has two subcategories:

  • Designated. a financial liability that is designated by the entity as a liability at fair value through profit or loss upon initial recognition
  • Held for trading. a financial liability classified as held for trading, such as an obligation for securities borrowed in a short sale, which have to be returned in the future

Initial recognition

IAS 39 requires recognition of a financial asset or a financial liability when, and only when, the entity becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the instrument, subject to the following provisions in respect of regular way purchases. [IAS 39.14]

Regular way purchases or sales of a financial asset. A regular way purchase or sale of financial assets is recognised and derecognised using either trade date or settlement date accounting. [IAS 39.38] The method used is to be applied consistently for all purchases and sales of financial assets that belong to the same category of financial asset as defined in IAS 39 (note that for this purpose assets held for trading form a different category from assets designated at fair value through profit or loss). The choice of method is an accounting policy. [IAS 39.38]

IAS 39 requires that all financial assets and all financial liabilities be recognised on the balance sheet. That includes all derivatives. Historically, in many parts of the world, derivatives have not been recognised on company balance sheets. The argument has been that at the time the derivative contract was entered into, there was no amount of cash or other assets paid. Zero cost justified non-recognition, notwithstanding that as time passes and the value of the underlying variable (rate, price, or index) changes, the derivative has a positive (asset) or negative (liability) value.

Initial measurement

Initially, financial assets and liabilities should be measured at fair value (including transaction costs, for assets and liabilities not measured at fair value through profit or loss). [IAS 39.43]

Measurement subsequent to initial recognition

Subsequently, financial assets and liabilities (including derivatives) should be measured at fair value, with the following exceptions: [IAS 39.46-47]

  • Loans and receivables, held-to-maturity investments, and non-derivative financial liabilities should be measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method.
  • Investments in equity instruments with no reliable fair value measurement (and derivatives indexed to such equity instruments) should be measured at cost.
  • Financial assets and liabilities that are designated as a hedged item or hedging instrument are subject to measurement under the hedge accounting requirements of the IAS 39.
  • Financial liabilities that arise when a transfer of a financial asset does not qualify for derecognition, or that are accounted for using the continuing-involvement method, are subject to particular measurement requirements.

Fair value is the amount for which an asset could be exchanged, or a liability settled, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm's length transaction. [IAS 39.9] IAS 39 provides a hierarchy to be used in determining the fair value for a financial instrument: [IAS 39 Appendix A, paragraphs AG69-82]

  • Quoted market prices in an active market are the best evidence of fair value and should be used, where they exist, to measure the financial instrument.
  • If a market for a financial instrument is not active, an entity establishes fair value by using a valuation technique that makes maximum use of market inputs and includes recent arm's length market transactions, reference to the current fair value of another instrument that is substantially the same, discounted cash flow analysis, and option pricing models. An acceptable valuation technique incorporates all factors that market participants would consider in setting a price and is consistent with accepted economic methodologies for pricing financial instruments.
  • If there is no active market for an equity instrument and the range of reasonable fair values is significant and these estimates cannot be made reliably, then an entity must measure the equity instrument at cost less impairment.

Amortised cost is calculated using the effective interest method. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments or receipts through the expected life of the financial instrument to the net carrying amount of the financial asset or liability. Financial assets that are not carried at fair value though profit and loss are subject to an impairment test. If expected life cannot be determined reliably, then the contractual life is used.

IAS 39 fair value option

IAS 39 permits entities to designate, at the time of acquisition or issuance, any financial asset or financial liability to be measured at fair value, with value changes recognised in profit or loss. This option is available even if the financial asset or financial liability would ordinarily, by its nature, be measured at amortised cost – but only if fair value can be reliably measured.

In June 2005 the IASB issued its amendment to IAS 39 to restrict the use of the option to designate any financial asset or any financial liability to be measured at fair value through profit and loss (the fair value option). The revisions limit the use of the option to those financial instruments that meet certain conditions: [IAS 39.9]

  • the fair value option designation eliminates or significantly reduces an accounting mismatch, or
  • a group of financial assets, financial liabilities or both is managed and its performance is evaluated on a fair value basis by entity's management.

Once an instrument is put in the fair-value-through-profit-and-loss category, it cannot be reclassified out with some exceptions. [IAS 39.50] In October 2008, the IASB issued amendments to IAS 39. The amendments permit reclassification of some financial instruments out of the fair-value-through-profit-or-loss category (FVTPL) and out of the available-for-sale category – for more detail see IAS 39.50(c). In the event of reclassification, additional disclosures are required under IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures. In March 2009 the IASB clarified that reclassifications of financial assets under the October 2008 amendments (see above): on reclassification of a financial asset out of the 'fair value through profit or loss' category, all embedded derivatives have to be (re)assessed and, if necessary, separately accounted for in financial statements.

IAS 39 available for sale option for loans and receivables

IAS 39 permits entities to designate, at the time of acquisition, any loan or receivable as available for sale, in which case it is measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognised in equity.

Impairment

A financial asset or group of assets is impaired, and impairment losses are recognised, only if there is objective evidence as a result of one or more events that occurred after the initial recognition of the asset. An entity is required to assess at each balance sheet date whether there is any objective evidence of impairment. If any such evidence exists, the entity is required to do a detailed impairment calculation to determine whether an impairment loss should be recognised. [IAS 39.58] The amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset's carrying amount and the present value of estimated cash flows discounted at the financial asset's original effective interest rate. [IAS 39.63]

Assets that are individually assessed and for which no impairment exists are grouped with financial assets with similar credit risk statistics and collectively assessed for impairment. [IAS 39.64]

If, in a subsequent period, the amount of the impairment loss relating to a financial asset carried at amortised cost or a debt instrument carried as available-for-sale decreases due to an event occurring after the impairment was originally recognised, the previously recognised impairment loss is reversed through profit or loss. Impairments relating to investments in available-for-sale equity instruments are not reversed through profit or loss. [IAS 39.65]

Financial guarantees

A financial guarantee contract is a contract that requires the issuer to make specified payments to reimburse the holder for a loss it incurs because a specified debtor fails to make payment when due. [IAS 39.9]

Under IAS 39 as amended, financial guarantee contracts are recognised:

  • initially at fair value. If the financial guarantee contract was issued in a stand-alone arm's length transaction to an unrelated party, its fair value at inception is likely to equal the consideration received, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  • subsequently at the higher of (i) the amount determined in accordance with IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets and (ii) the amount initially recognised less, when appropriate, cumulative amortisation recognised in accordance with IAS 18 Revenue. (If specified criteria are met, the issuer may use the fair value option in IAS 39. Furthermore, different requirements continue to apply in the specialised context of a 'failed' derecognition transaction.)

Some credit-related guarantees do not, as a precondition for payment, require that the holder is exposed to, and has incurred a loss on, the failure of the debtor to make payments on the guaranteed asset when due. An example of such a guarantee is a credit derivative that requires payments in response to changes in a specified credit rating or credit index. These are derivatives and they must be measured at fair value under IAS 39.

Derecognition of a financial asset

The basic premise for the derecognition model in IAS 39 is to determine whether the asset under consideration for derecognition is: [IAS 39.16]

  • an asset in its entirety or
  • specifically identified cash flows from an asset or
  • a fully proportionate share of the cash flows from an asset or
  • a fully proportionate share of specifically identified cash flows from a financial asset

Once the asset under consideration for derecognition has been determined, an assessment is made as to whether the asset has been transferred, and if so, whether the transfer of that asset is subsequently eligible for derecognition.

An asset is transferred if either the entity has transferred the contractual rights to receive the cash flows, or the entity has retained the contractual rights to receive the cash flows from the asset, but has assumed a contractual obligation to pass those cash flows on under an arrangement that meets the following three conditions: [IAS 39.17-19]

  • the entity has no obligation to pay amounts to the eventual recipient unless it collects equivalent amounts on the original asset
  • the entity is prohibited from selling or pledging the original asset (other than as security to the eventual recipient),
  • the entity has an obligation to remit those cash flows without material delay

Once an entity has determined that the asset has been transferred, it then determines whether or not it has transferred substantially all of the risks and rewards of ownership of the asset. If substantially all the risks and rewards have been transferred, the asset is derecognised. If substantially all the risks and rewards have been retained, derecognition of the asset is precluded. [IAS 39.20]

If the entity has neither retained nor transferred substantially all of the risks and rewards of the asset, then the entity must assess whether it has relinquished control of the asset or not. If the entity does not control the asset then derecognition is appropriate; however if the entity has retained control of the asset, then the entity continues to recognise the asset to the extent to which it has a continuing involvement in the asset. [IAS 39.30]

These various derecognition steps are summarised in the decision tree in AG36.

Derecognition of a financial liability

A financial liability should be removed from the balance sheet when, and only when, it is extinguished, that is, when the obligation specified in the contract is either discharged or cancelled or expires. [IAS 39.39] Where there has been an exchange between an existing borrower and lender of debt instruments with substantially different terms, or there has been a substantial modification of the terms of an existing financial liability, this transaction is accounted for as an extinguishment of the original financial liability and the recognition of a new financial liability. A gain or loss from extinguishment of the original financial liability is recognised in profit or loss. [IAS 39.40-41]

Hedge accounting

IAS 39 permits hedge accounting under certain circumstances provided that the hedging relationship is: [IAS 39.88]

  • formally designated and documented, including the entity's risk management objective and strategy for undertaking the hedge, identification of the hedging instrument, the hedged item, the nature of the risk being hedged, and how the entity will assess the hedging instrument's effectiveness and
  • expected to be highly effective in achieving offsetting changes in fair value or cash flows attributable to the hedged risk as designated and documented, and effectiveness can be reliably measured and
  • assessed on an ongoing basis and determined to have been highly effective

Hedging instruments

Hedging instrument is an instrument whose fair value or cash flows are expected to offset changes in the fair value or cash flows of a designated hedged item. [IAS 39.9]

All derivative contracts with an external counterparty may be designated as hedging instruments except for some written options. A non-derivative financial asset or liability may not be designated as a hedging instrument except as a hedge of foreign currency risk. [IAS 39.72]

For hedge accounting purposes, only instruments that involve a party external to the reporting entity can be designated as a hedging instrument. This applies to intragroup transactions as well (with the exception of certain foreign currency hedges of forecast intragroup transactions – see below). However, they may qualify for hedge accounting in individual financial statements. [IAS 39.73]

Hedged items

Hedged item is an item that exposes the entity to risk of changes in fair value or future cash flows and is designated as being hedged. [IAS 39.9]

A hedged item can be: [IAS 39.78-82]

  • a single recognised asset or liability, firm commitment, highly probable transaction or a net investment in a foreign operation
  • a group of assets, liabilities, firm commitments, highly probable forecast transactions or net investments in foreign operations with similar risk characteristics
  • a held-to-maturity investment for foreign currency or credit risk (but not for interest risk or prepayment risk)
  • a portion of the cash flows or fair value of a financial asset or financial liability or
  • a non-financial item for foreign currency risk only for all risks of the entire item
  • in a portfolio hedge of interest rate risk (Macro Hedge) only, a portion of the portfolio of financial assets or financial liabilities that share the risk being hedged

In April 2005, the IASB amended IAS 39 to permit the foreign currency risk of a highly probable intragroup forecast transaction to qualify as the hedged item in a cash flow hedge in consolidated financial statements – provided that the transaction is denominated in a currency other than the functional currency of the entity entering into that transaction and the foreign currency risk will affect consolidated financial statements. [IAS 39.80]

In 30 July 2008, the IASB amended IAS 39 to clarify two hedge accounting issues:

  • inflation in a financial hedged item
  • a one-sided risk in a hedged item.

Effectiveness

IAS 39 requires hedge effectiveness to be assessed both prospectively and retrospectively. To qualify for hedge accounting at the inception of a hedge and, at a minimum, at each reporting date, the changes in the fair value or cash flows of the hedged item attributable to the hedged risk must be expected to be highly effective in offsetting the changes in the fair value or cash flows of the hedging instrument on a prospective basis, and on a retrospective basis where actual results are within a range of 80% to 125%.

All hedge ineffectiveness is recognised immediately in profit or loss (including ineffectiveness within the 80% to 125% window).

Categories of hedges

A fair value hedge is a hedge of the exposure to changes in fair value of a recognised asset or liability or a previously unrecognised firm commitment or an identified portion of such an asset, liability or firm commitment, that is attributable to a particular risk and could affect profit or loss. [IAS 39.86(a)] The gain or loss from the change in fair value of the hedging instrument is recognised immediately in profit or loss. At the same time the carrying amount of the hedged item is adjusted for the corresponding gain or loss with respect to the hedged risk, which is also recognised immediately in net profit or loss. [IAS 39.89]

A cash flow hedge is a hedge of the exposure to variability in cash flows that (i) is attributable to a particular risk associated with a recognised asset or liability (such as all or some future interest payments on variable rate debt) or a highly probable forecast transaction and (ii) could affect profit or loss. [IAS 39.86(b)] The portion of the gain or loss on the hedging instrument that is determined to be an effective hedge is recognised in other comprehensive income. [IAS 39.95]

If a hedge of a forecast transaction subsequently results in the recognition of a financial asset or a financial liability, any gain or loss on the hedging instrument that was previously recognised directly in equity is 'recycled' into profit or loss in the same period(s) in which the financial asset or liability affects profit or loss. [IAS 39.97]

If a hedge of a forecast transaction subsequently results in the recognition of a non-financial asset or non-financial liability, then the entity has an accounting policy option that must be applied to all such hedges of forecast transactions: [IAS 39.98]

  • Same accounting as for recognition of a financial asset or financial liability – any gain or loss on the hedging instrument that was previously recognised in other comprehensive income is 'recycled' into profit or loss in the same period(s) in which the non-financial asset or liability affects profit or loss.
  • 'Basis adjustment' of the acquired non-financial asset or liability – the gain or loss on the hedging instrument that was previously recognised in other comprehensive income is removed from equity and is included in the initial cost or other carrying amount of the acquired non-financial asset or liability.

A hedge of a net investment in a foreign operation as defined in IAS 21 The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates is accounted for similarly to a cash flow hedge. [IAS 39.102]

A hedge of the foreign currency risk of a firm commitment may be accounted for as a fair value hedge or as a cash flow hedge.

Discontinuation of hedge accounting

Hedge accounting must be discontinued prospectively if: [IAS 39.91 and 39.101]

  • the hedging instrument expires or is sold, terminated, or exercised
  • the hedge no longer meets the hedge accounting criteria – for example it is no longer effective
  • for cash flow hedges the forecast transaction is no longer expected to occur, or
  • the entity revokes the hedge designation

In June 2013, the IASB amended IAS 39 to make it clear that there is no need to discontinue hedge accounting if a hedging derivative is novated, provided certain criteria are met. [IAS 39.91 and IAS 39.101]

For the purpose of measuring the carrying amount of the hedged item when fair value hedge accounting ceases, a revised effective interest rate is calculated. [IAS 39.BC35A]

If hedge accounting ceases for a cash flow hedge relationship because the forecast transaction is no longer expected to occur, gains and losses deferred in other comprehensive income must be taken to profit or loss immediately. If the transaction is still expected to occur and the hedge relationship ceases, the amounts accumulated in equity will be retained in equity until the hedged item affects profit or loss. [IAS 39.101(c)]

If a hedged financial instrument that is measured at amortised cost has been adjusted for the gain or loss attributable to the hedged risk in a fair value hedge, this adjustment is amortised to profit or loss based on a recalculated effective interest rate on this date such that the adjustment is fully amortised by the maturity of the instrument. Amortisation may begin as soon as an adjustment exists and must begin no later than when the hedged item ceases to be adjusted for changes in its fair value attributable to the risks being hedged.

Disclosure

In 2003 all disclosures about financial instruments were moved to IAS 32, so IAS 32 was renamed Financial Instruments: Disclosure and Presentation. In 2005, the IASB issued IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures to replace the disclosure portions of IAS 32 effective 1 January 2007. IFRS 7 also superseded IAS 30 Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and Similar Financial Institutions.

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.