Notes from Trustees' subgroup meeting

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30 Mar, 2010

On Monday 29 March 2010, subgroups of the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation (IASB) and the US Financial Accounting Foundation (FASB) responsible for monitoring IASB-FASB convergence activities met with the Chairmen and Technical Directors of the IASB and FASB to discuss the convergence agenda.

Both the FAF and IASCF Chairmen were present, along with about five trustees from each organisation in addition to the respective chief operating officers. One FAF trustee and the technical director and Chairman of the FASB joined by video link.

Meeting of Subgroups of Trustees of IFRS Foundation and Financial Accounting Foundation
29 March 2010, London

The IASB and FASB chairman addressed each of the convergence projects in turn, highlighting where they thought they have agreement between the Boards and those topics on which there are severe challenges. FASB Chairman Robert Herz noted that meeting in joint session had proved to be much more effective, helping the Boards to understand each other's point of view and reach common decisions on many issues. He noted that 'good progress had been made on a good majority' of the MoU projects.

A few points arose in the question and answer session:

  • Resources: Both FAF and IASCF asked their respective standard-setters whether they had enough resources to complete the MoU. Both said 'yes', although financial instrument specialists were hard to find. IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie thanked the large audit firms in particular for helping out-and giving the IASB 'real experts'.
  • Challenges: The projects most susceptible to slippage against the MoU are:
    • Financial instruments, for which much depends on the post-exposure deliberations as the IASB and FASB seek to reconcile their models.
    • Leases, for which both Boards are braced for a high volume of responses.
    • Financial statement presentation: the Boards agree, but it is likely that the changes proposed will be contentious for preparers especially.
    • Revenue recognition, if only because of the massive change in practice in some significant industries.


On the non-MoU joint projects, the most significant challenge is Insurance. Resource at the FASB is an issue, especially because the FASB is playing 'catch-up' to the IASB. It was admitted that there are a number of issues for which the exposure draft may have to expose alternative solutions, since it may be impossible to reconcile IASB and FASB views.

XBRL was noted as a sleeping issue, especially because of the challenges of data capture, but also an issue that might aid the financial statement presentation project.

The FAF and IASCF Chairmen concluded the meeting by saying that they considered it reasonable to report to the Monitoring Board (and the FAF oversight body) that the MoU was 'broadly on track' for June 2011 completion. Financial instruments and leases might be 'a challenge', but completing all other MoU projects by that date 'seems within possibility'.

The sub-committee will maintain 'open communications' out of session.

This summary is based on notes taken by observers at the Trustees' meeting and should not be regarded as an official or final summary.


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