FASB Exposure Draft seeks input on Transfers and Servicing

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Exposure Draft (ED) last week to solicit input from stakeholders on its proposal to improve the accounting for repurchase agreements (repos) and other agreements that both entitle and obligate a transferor to repurchase or redeem financial assets before their maturity.

The FASB requests comments on this ED by January 15, 2011.

“During the global economic crisis, concerns were expressed about a narrow aspect of existing guidance for determining whether a repo should be accounted for as a sale or as a secured borrowing,” said FASB Acting Chairman Leslie F. Seidman. “The proposals contained in this Exposure Draft seek to address these concerns by simplifying this guidance.”

In a typical repo transaction, an entity transfers financial assets to a counterparty in exchange for cash with an agreement for the counterparty to return the same or equivalent financial assets for a fixed price in the future. Topic 860, Transfers and Servicing, prescribes when an entity may or may not recognize a sale upon the transfer of financial assets subject to repo agreements. That determination is based, in part, on whether the entity has maintained effective control over the transferred financial assets.

The amendments in this proposed update are intended to simplify the accounting for these transactions by removing from the assessment of effective control the criterion requiring the transferor to have the ability to repurchase or redeem the financial assets, as well as implementation guidance related to that criterion.

The ED is available at www.fasb.org.

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.

 
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