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Financial instruments with characteristics of equity


This project was originally commenced as a joint IASB-FASB project addressing the distinction between liabilities and equity.  The main objective is to identify the characteristics that should be present in an instrument for it to be classified as either an equity or liability instrument.

On reactivating this project as an IASB-only project in December 2012, the IASB decided this project should be undertaken in conjunction with the comprehensive conceptual framework project.

Accordingly, this project is expected to:

  • identify financial instruments that are difficult to classify under the current requirements of IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation, or those for which the classification is questioned by preparers and users
  • use these instruments as 'test cases' for the elements chapter of the Conceptual Framework.


Current status of the project

During their joint meeting in November 2010, the IASB and FASB decided to defer further work on this project. In December 2012, as part of its response to the Agenda consultation 2011, the IASB formally reactivated this project as an IASB-only research project. Board discussions were taken up in October 2014. In March 2017, the first phase of deliberations was concluded. A discussion paper DP/2018/1 Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity was published on 28 June 2018. Comments are requested by 7 January 2019.

Project milestones

Date Development Comments
28 February 2008 Discussion Paper Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity published Comment deadline 5 September 2008
24 July 2008 Added to the active agenda
November 2010 IASB and FASB deferred further work on their joint project
December 2012 Reactivated as an IASB-only research project Outcomes to be incorporated into the elements chapter of the Conceptual Framework
October 2014 Board discussions taken up again First phase of discussions concluded March 2017, DP expected towards the end of 2017
June 2018 DP/2018/1 Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity published Comment deadline 7 January 2019

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.