Proposed Agenda Item: Rate-regulated Activities

Date recorded:

The Board considered a request to add to its technical agenda a project on rate regulated activities. The issue is whether regulated entities could or should recognise a liability (or an asset) as a result of rate regulation by regulatory bodies or governments. The IFRIC had tentatively agreed not to add this item to its agenda at its November meeting, citing the reason that divergence in practice in jurisdictions using IFRSs does not seem to be significant.

The staff noted that, in bringing the Agenda Proposal to the Board, it had restricted the scope of the project to those kinds of regulation with the potential to lead to the recognition of assets and liabilities; this meant that 'price cap' regulation would be excluded because, in the staff's view, this type of regulation would rarely, if ever, have such potential.

Board members agreed with the staff's approach, but several were worried that the analysis of 'price cap' and similar types of regulation would inform and provide the background to the Board's potential conclusions about the accounting effects of other types of regulation.

A Board member spoke in favour of the project and complimented the staff analysis. He noted that the current definitions of an asset and a liability should be able to solve many of the accounting issues, although there will be some nuances around 'control' that must be resolved. He acknowledged that the project risk was how far towards US GAAP would the IASB want to go: too 'principles based' and constituents would want the detail in US GAAP; too much like US GAAP and constituents would complain about excessive rules. He favoured an approach that developed the Framework guidance on assets and liabilities without going into excessive, jurisdictional-specific detail.

The Board agreed that it should develop an IFRS on this topic and that an 'interim or holding' IFRS (similar to IFRS 4 and 6) should not be prepared.

The Board approved the proposed project timetable, which proposes publishing an exposure draft in May 2009, but added that they thought such a timetable was ambitious.

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