SEC seeks views on use of IFRSs by US listed companies

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26 Jul 2007

Yesterday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to publish a Concept Release for public comment on whether to allow US issuers, including investment companies, to prepare their financial statements using International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as published in English by the International Accounting Standards Board.

Under the SEC's current rules, US issuers are required to follow US GAAP). The Concept Release is an information-seeking document that describes the policy issues and, in the form of questions, seeks public input regarding the possibility of allowing US issuers to report under IFRSs. The comment period will be for 90 days after the Concept Release is published in the Federal Register. The Concept Release has not yet been posted on the SEC's website. In introducing the proposal to the Commission, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said:

This morning, we are considering publishing a staff Concept Release that solicits public comment on the future role of IFRSs in US markets and asks whether US issuers should be permitted to use IFRSs for purposes of complying with our rules and regulations. In some respects, this is the mirror image of allowing foreign private issuers to file IFRS financial statements without reconciling their financial statements to US GAAP, in that it would give US issuers the same choice that foreign private issuers would have. Such a concept would also touch potentially every aspect of the US capital markets – from how US accountants are educated and trained, to how US issuers prepare their financial statements, to how US investors understand financial statements, and to how accounting standards are developed and interpreted to apply to US companies.

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