By Jason Bramwell
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted on June 12 to indefinitely defer certain disclosures about investments held by a nonpublic employee benefit plan in its plan sponsor's own nonpublic equity securities.
The issue focuses on certain disclosure requirements in paragraph 820-10-50-2 of the FASB Accounting Standards Codification that bothered private company stakeholders.
"Today's decision is responsive to private company stakeholders, addressing their concern that certain disclosure requirements would potentially provide proprietary information when their employee benefit plans' financial statements are posted on the plan regulator's website", FASB Chairman Leslie Seidman said in a written statement.
Because the Department of Labor makes all financial statements for employee benefit plans public on its website, anyone with an Internet connection could access this proprietary information, according to the FASB.
The indefinite deferral applies to disclosures of certain quantitative information about significant unobservable inputs used in Level 3 fair value measurement for investments held by certain employee benefit plans, the FASB stated.
The deferral applies specifically to employee benefit plans – other than those plans that are subject to US Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements – that hold investments in their plan sponsors' own nonpublic entity equity securities, including equity securities of their nonpublic-affiliated entities.
The FASB will issue an accounting standards update, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Deferral of the Effective Date of Certain Disclosures for Nonpublic Employee Benefit Plans in Update No. 2011-04, in the next few weeks.
The deferral will become effective upon issuance of the final update for all financial statements that have not yet been issued, which is expected in the next few weeks.