FASB issues fair value measurement standard

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19 Sep 2006

The US Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 157 'Fair Value Measurements'.

FAS 157 provides enhanced guidance for using fair value to measure assets and liabilities. It applies whenever other standards require (or permit) assets or liabilities to be measured at fair value. FAS 157 does not expand the use of fair value in any new circumstances.

Some points about FAS 157:

  • Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants in the market in which the reporting entity transacts.
  • Fair value should be based on the assumptions market participants would use when pricing the asset or liability.
  • FAS 157 establishes a fair value hierarchy that prioritises the information used to develop those assumptions. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets and the lowest priority to unobservable data, for example, the reporting entity's own data.
  • Fair value measurements would be separately disclosed by level within the fair value hierarchy.
  • FAS 157 is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after 15 November 2007, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted.
  • FAS 157 may be downloaded from FASB's Website without charge.

The IASB has on its agenda a project on fair value measurement. It is one of the convergence projects with the FASB. This means that the IASB and the FASB plan to have similar, if not identical, definitions and guidance relating to fair value measurements. The IASB plans to issue a discussion paper in the fourth quarter of 2006 that will:

  • indicate the IASB's preliminary views on the provisions of FAS 157;
  • identify differences between FAS 157 and fair value measurement guidance in existing IFRSs; and
  • invite comments on the provisions of FAS 157 and on the IASB's preliminary views about those provisions.

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