SEC roundtable discussions on IFRSs

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11 Jul 2011

The SEC held roundtable discussions with representatives from investors, smaller public companies, and regulators to discuss benefits and challenges related to potentially incorporating IFRSs in the United States financial reporting system.

The investor panelists discussion supported a single set of globally accepted accounting standards. However, the investor panelists were concerned about the IASB's governance and funding, especially regarding the fact that financial reporting may be serving public policy interests rather than those of investors in some countries. Further concerns were raised on the uniform application of principles-based accounting standards and the IASB's interpretative mechanisms. Investors stressed the importance of the IASB's having a responsive interpretative mechanism subject to a formal standard-setting process, and they noted that local interpretation of IFRSs could lead to diverse application of IFRSs globally.

The smaller public companies panelists were concern about the lack of resources and the potential implementation costs. Some panelists viewed little or no benefits of implementing IFRSs. The panelists mostly supported a "big bang approach" versus a staggered approach for incorporating IFRSs into the U.S. system. A staggered transition was perceived as more costly. They also stressed the importance of the FASB and IASB completing its current convergence projects before the SEC sets the date for IFRS incorporation.

The regulatory panelists discussed the current use of U.S. GAAP financial information in the various regulatory activities they undertake, the steps required and potential timing to make changes in regulations, and costs and benefits of potential IFRS incorporation. The panelists believe that sufficient time should be provided for the transition to IFRS and that the needs of U.S. investors should be carefully considered.

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