Summary of Statement No. 155

Accounting for Certain Hybrid Financial Instruments—an amendment of FASB Statements No. 133 and 140


This Statement amends FASB Statements No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities, and No. 140, Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities. This Statement resolves issues addressed in Statement 133 Implementation Issue No. D1, “Application of Statement 133 to Beneficial Interests in Securitized Financial Assets.”

This Statement:

  1. Permits fair value remeasurement for any hybrid financial instrument that contains an embedded derivative that otherwise would require bifurcation


  2. Clarifies which interest-only strips and principal-only strips are not subject to the requirements of Statement 133


  3. Establishes a requirement to evaluate interests in securitized financial assets to identify interests that are freestanding derivatives or that are hybrid financial instruments that contain an embedded derivative requiring bifurcation


  4. Clarifies that concentrations of credit risk in the form of subordination are not embedded derivatives


  5. Amends Statement 140 to eliminate the prohibition on a qualifying special-purpose entity from holding a derivative financial instrument that pertains to a beneficial interest other than another derivative financial instrument.


Reasons for Issuing This Statement

In January 2004, the Board added this project to its agenda to address what had been characterized as a temporary exemption from the application of the bifurcation requirements of Statement 133 to beneficial interests in securitized financial assets.

Prior to the effective date of Statement 133, the FASB received inquiries on the application of the exception in paragraph 14 of Statement 133 to beneficial interests in securitized financial assets. In response to the inquiries, Implementation Issue D1 indicated that, pending issuance of further guidance, entities may continue to apply the guidance related to accounting for beneficial interests in paragraphs 14 and 362 of Statement 140. Those paragraphs indicate that any security that can be contractually prepaid or otherwise settled in such a way that the holder of the security would not recover substantially all of its recorded investment should be subsequently measured like investments in debt securities classified as available-for-sale or trading under FASB Statement No. 115, Accounting for Certain Investments in Debt and Equity Securities, and may not be classified as held-to-maturity. Further, Implementation Issue D1 indicated that holders of beneficial interests in securitized financial assets that are not subject to paragraphs 14 and 362 of Statement 140 are not required to apply Statement 133 to those beneficial interests until further guidance is issued.

How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting

This Statement improves financial reporting by eliminating the exemption from applying Statement 133 to interests in securitized financial assets so that similar instruments are accounted for similarly regardless of the form of the instruments. This Statement also improves financial reporting by allowing a preparer to elect fair value measurement at acquisition, at issuance, or when a previously recognized financial instrument is subject to a remeasurement (new basis) event, on an instrument-by-instrument basis, in cases in which a derivative would otherwise have to be bifurcated. Providing a fair value measurement election also results in more financial instruments being measured at what the Board regards as the most relevant attribute for financial instruments, fair value.

Effective Date and Transition

This Statement is effective for all financial instruments acquired or issued after the beginning of an entity’s first fiscal year that begins after September 15, 2006. The fair value election provided for in paragraph 4(c) of this Statement may also be applied upon adoption of this Statement for hybrid financial instruments that had been bifurcated under paragraph 12 of Statement 133 prior to the adoption of this Statement. Earlier adoption is permitted as of the beginning of an entity’s fiscal year, provided the entity has not yet issued financial statements, including financial statements for any interim period for that fiscal year. Provisions of this Statement may be applied to instruments that an entity holds at the date of adoption on an instrument-by-instrument basis.

At adoption, any difference between the total carrying amount of the individual components of the existing bifurcated hybrid financial instrument and the fair value of the combined hybrid financial instrument should be recognized as a cumulative-effect adjustment to beginning retained earnings. The cumulative-effect adjustment should be disclosed gross (that is, aggregating gain positions separate from loss positions) determined on an instrument-by-instrument basis. Prior periods should not be restated.