EC proposes to adopt IAS 39 minus two sections

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09 Sep 2004

The European Commission has posted to its Website a "working document" setting out its proposals regarding adoption of IAS 39 for use in Europe.

The proposals would carve out of IAS 39 two sections – the prohibition on hedge accounting for core deposits and the fair value option. The remainder of IAS 39 would be adopted. The Commission explains the carve-outs as follows:

  • "IAS 39 does not sufficiently take into account the way in which many European banks operate their asset/liability management particularly in a fixed interest rate environment. The limitation of hedges to either cash flow hedges or fair value hedges and the strict requirements concerning the effectiveness of those hedges make it impossible for those banks to hedge their core deposits on a portfolio basis and would force them to carry out important and costly changes both to their asset/liability management and to their accounting system.... Those provisions of IAS 39, which prevent portfolio hedging of core deposits on a fair value measurement basis, and which can be clearly identified, should not be adopted because they do not meet the conditions set out in Article 3(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 and in particular the criteria of understandability, relevance, reliability and comparability required of the financial information needed for making economic decisions."
  • "IAS 39 introduces an option to fair value all financial assets and liabilities. However, the IASB has recently published an Exposure Draft (a consultation paper) which proposes an amendment to IAS 39 in order to restrict the fair value option contained in the standard. The proposed amendment is a direct response to concerns expressed by the European Central Bank, by prudential supervisors as well as by securities regulators which fear that the fair value option might be used inappropriately. This proposed amendment is currently debated in public and a final version will most likely not be available before the end of 2004. The provisions in IAS 39 relating to that fair value option, which are also distinct and separable from other parts of the standard, should not be considered applicable, because of the uncertainty surrounding the final version of those provisions. As soon as the IASB has completed its work on this issue, and normally no later than by the end of 2005, the Commission will examine the resulting amendments to IAS 39 with a view to their endorsement, in the light of the conditions set out in Article 3(2).
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