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SEC Commissioner compares convergence with the search for the Holy Grail

  • IFRS - SEC Image

Sep 10, 2015

On September 10, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a speech from SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein. In the speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and BritishAmerican Business, the SEC Commissioner remarked that the focus of financial reporting should be on expanding timely access to information and understanding differences between accounting standards rather than directing efforts to converge.

In her speech entitled Accountants and Capital Markets in an Era of Digital Disruption, Commissioner Stein commented that while there has been an effort over the last years to find a globally accepted, single set of high-quality financial reporting standards, which would be attactive in view of borderless business and instantaneous movement of data, the practical challenges of the task seem to be overwhelming: "Quite frankly, it often feels like we are searching for the Holy Grail. But I am not sure it is there."

Commissioner Stein even questioned whether the convergence efforts so far have contributed to improved quality at all: "The key in my mind is not necessarily to converge for the sake of convergence, but rather to expand timely access to information and provide for understanding differences."

Review the full text of the speech on the SEC's Web Site.

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