Standing Interpretations Committee

Date recorded:

At its meeting with its Standards Advisory Council 23 July, IASB presented a paper that proposed major changes to the structure of the Standing Interpretations Committee (SIC). SAC comments are noted in italics:

Name of committee. SIC will be renamed the International Financial Reporting Issues Committee ('IFRIC'). This would be consistent with the proposed new name of IASB pronouncements, International Financial Reporting Standards and with the new mandate (below).

Name of pronouncements. IFRIC's output would be known as 'Abstracts' rather than 'Interpretations'. This change is consistent with the new mandate and is in line with other standard setters 'interpretative' committees and would aid in convergence. The US EITF and UK UITF both release 'Abstracts'.

Mandate.The scope of the IFRIC's activities would be broadened to allow the IFRIC to address issues beyond interpretations of existing standards. This would allow IFRIC to answer questions that would otherwise be answered ad hoc by external parties, which could lead to divergent practices.

SAC members raised concerns that there would be conflicts between the IASB and the IFRIC agenda's. SAC members also expressed concerns that the new IFRIC would be setting new 'mini-standards' with the same status as IFRS.

IFRIC members and chairman.The new IFRIC would have 12 members and a non-voting chairman. This would allow the voting members of IFRIC to concentrate on the technical issues while the chairman can deal with the running of the meeting. The chairman would be either an IASB liaison member, senior IASB staff member, or outside party -- most likely to be a senior member of IASB staff.

SAC members expressed concerns over a non-voting chairman. It was also proposed that the Big 5 firms should all have a permanent seat on IFRIC as they see the practical issues daily.

Procedures.The following procedural issues are set out in the draft paper:

  • An IFRIC agenda committee will make recommendations on proposed agenda items. This will increase IFRIC efficiency and work as a screening process for issues submitted by the public. Sources of questions posed to the committee will remain confidential. The agenda committee will make recommendations on an agenda, but the final decision will be with the IFRIC.
  • IASB will review Draft Abstracts by a process of negative clearance. This would help prevent, at an early stage, the possibility of IFRIC issuing a Draft Abstract to which IASB is opposed.
  • Final approval of an Abstract will be given in a public meeting of the IASB by voting.

Other matters set out in the draft paper

  • There should be a principle-based approach to the guidance to be issued.
  • The proposed IFRIC structure will also have the ability to reconsider a member's membership should they not attend meetings regularly.
  • The proposal makes provision for meeting electronically. These must still be public meetings.
  • Issues where consensus is not reached within 3 meetings will be automatically referred to the Board.
  • Regular IFRIC review of the mandate and operating procedures.
  • The IFRIC will meet every 2 months.

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