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Annual ECON exchange of views with Hans Hoogervorst and Erkki Liikanen

  • IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) (blue) Image
  • European Union Image

26 Feb 2019

At the annual exchange of views this morning between the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) of the European Parliament and representatives of the IASB and the IFRS Foundation, IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst and Erkki Liikanen, Chairman of the IFRS Foundation Trustees, stood ready to answer questions of the Parliamentarians. IFRS 17 'Insurance Contracts' and wider corporate reporting dominated the exchange.

On IFRS 17, Mr Hoogervorst stressed the IASB's efforts to support implementation. He noted that the IASB had always said it was willing to consider addressing problems that become obvious during the implementation phase as long as addressing them would not disrupt the implementation process. He explained about the list of issues the IASB is looking into and also about the IASB's tentative decision to defer the effective date of IFRS 17 by one year.

On wider corporate reporting, Mr Liikanen noted that the IFRS Foundation and the IASB are well aware of the fact that investors want more information about long-term risks and environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. Mr Hoogervorst pointed to the IASB's project to update the management commentary practice statement and noted that management commentary provided the space for information that does not naturally fit into the financial statements but can have a financial effect nonetheless. He also used the opportunity to follow up on a question from an earlier exchange of views regarding country-by-country reporting and explained that while there was no direct fit with IFRSs, information on for example risky tax strategies could also very well be reported in the management commentary.

Questions from the almost empty room were few and were mostly focused on extra financial reporting. In response, Mr Hoogervorst explained that the IASB does not see itself as a sustainability standard-setter as it a) lacks the expertise in the area and b) as there are already many standard-setters ("too many") active in the field. Therefore, the updated management commentary practice statement will include guidelines how sustainability information can be included in the management commentary and will provide space for such information, but it will not contain any standards for doing so. He also agreed that insurance is an industry very much exposed to effects of the climate change, but he noted that between the information resulting from the forward-looking standard itself and the management commentary there is enough space to report on these effects. Finally, he noted that the management commentary is also the place to report on intangibles and crypto currencies that are not caught by the financial statements.

A recording of the exchange of views is available on the European Parliament website (begins at 09:11, ends at 09:54). There are intermittent problems with the English language and original language soundtrack, all other translations work well.

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