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IFRS 7 — Whether the transfers of financial assets disclosure requirements apply to servicing rights/obligations

Date recorded:

In October 2010, the IASB issued Disclosures-Transfers of Financial Assets (Amendments to IFRS 7). The amendments included the addition of paragraphs 42A-H to IFRS 7 and were effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 July 2011.

In October 2012, the Committee received a request for clarification through an annual improvement on whether servicing rights and obligations are continuing involvement in a transferred financial asset/liability for the purpose of the transfer disclosures.

The staff, in analysing the issue, noted that whether servicing rights and obligations should be included in the transfer disclosures can be derived from the current IFRS 7 disclosure requirements without the need for further guidance or amendments. The staff noted that while IFRS 7 specifically excludes some contractual rights and obligations as forms of continuing involvement, servicing agreements are not included within that list. Therefore, disclosure should be provided about servicing rights and obligations for a transferred financial asset if the terms of the servicing agreements meet the IFRS 7 definition of continuing involvement.

However, the staff noted that subsequent to posting the staff paper on this issue, feedback had been received from a number of constituents which suggested diversity in practice in the assessment of whether servicing rights and obligations are continuing involvement for the purpose of the transfer disclosures.

Hearing the staff’s analysis and constituent feedback suggesting diversity in practice, many Committee members believed the staff’s analysis failed to answer the question of whether servicing rights and obligations represent continuing involvement for purposes of the transfer disclosures. Instead, it merely stated that constituents should look to the scope of IFRS 7 to determine applicability. The staff noted a belief that paragraph 42C of IFRS 7 provided a clear scoping definition for which to assess the applicability of servicing rights and obligations to the transfer disclosure requirements. However, the staff did not believe it could generically characterise all servicing rights and obligations as within or external to the scope of the transfer disclosure requirements without knowing the terms of individual arrangements.

The Committee expressed doubts as to whether IFRS 7 provided a clear scoping definition. In particular, multiple Committee members questioned whether a ‘general’ servicing arrangement, in which a servicer collects fees, retains their fee and has an obligation to pay certain obligations, is representative of continuing involvement (i.e., the servicer retains any of the contractual rights/obligations inherent in the transferred financial asset or obtains any new contractual rights/obligations relating to the transferred financial asset). Some believed that all (or substantially all) servicing arrangement have continuing involvement, while others believed the assessment was driven by facts and circumstances.

Hearing the debate, the Committee Chair noted that paragraph 47C of IFRS 7 appears to be ‘unintelligible’. Assuming general agreement from the Committee that the paragraph was unintelligible, he believed the Committee would be required to refer the issue to the IASB as it was no longer an interpretation issue. The Committee expressed general agreement with this assessment. The Committee Chair asked if the Committee could provide its inclination to the IASB as to whether ‘all’ or ‘some’ servicing arrangements are representative of continuing involvement. Four Committee members were of the view that all servicing arrangement are representative of continuing involvement, while six believed that only some are representative of continuing involvement (facts and circumstances based).

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