Standard Seeks to Reduce Complexity and Improve Relevance of Financial Statements

Norwalk, CT, February 15, 2007—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued a standard that provides companies with an option to report selected financial assets and liabilities at fair value.  The Standard’s objective is to reduce both complexity in accounting for financial instruments and the volatility in earnings caused by measuring related assets and liabilities differently.

Generally accepted accounting principles have required different measurement attributes for different assets and liabilities that can create artificial volatility in earnings. Today’s Standard helps to mitigate this type of accounting-induced volatility by enabling companies to report related assets and liabilities at fair value, which would likely reduce the need for companies to comply with detailed rules for hedge accounting.

Today’s Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 159, The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities, also establishes presentation and disclosure requirements designed to facilitate comparisons between companies that choose different measurement attributes for similar types of assets and liabilities.

The standard requires companies to provide additional information that will help investors and other users of financial statements to more easily understand the effect of the company’s choice to use fair value on its earnings. It also requires entities to display the fair value of those assets and liabilities for which the company has chosen to use fair value on the face of the balance sheet.  The new Statement does not eliminate disclosure requirements included in other accounting standards, including requirements for disclosures about fair value measurements included in FASB Statements No. 157, Fair Value Measurements, and No. 107, Disclosures about Fair Value of Financial Instruments.

“We believe that today’s standard will simplify accounting and encourage the display of more relevant and understandable information for investors and other users of financial statements,” said Robert Wilkins, FASB senior project manager. “Today’s Statement also helps achieve further convergence with the International Accounting Standards Board, which has previously adopted a fair value option.

This Statement is effective as of the beginning of an entity’s first fiscal year beginning after November 15, 2007.  Early adoption is permitted as of the beginning of the previous fiscal year provided that the entity makes that choice in the first 120 days of that fiscal year and also elects to apply the provisions of Statement 157.

About the Financial Accounting Standards Board

Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting and reporting. Those standards govern the preparation of financial reports and are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Such standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because investors, creditors, auditors, and others rely on credible, transparent, and comparable financial information. For more information about the FASB, visit our website at