Volume 20, No. 11

 

Fair Value Reporting: A Financial Institutions Survey:  A year ago, the FASB’s proposal for revamping financial instrument accounting was the burning accounting issue of the day. In the end, the FASB got singed by the fire. In the face of staunch opposition to the proposal from just about every quarter -preparers, regulators, and even investors - the FASB pulled in its horns and moved to a more IFRS-like stance, one that perpetuates amortized cost as the fundamental measure for financial instruments.

There’s a good chance that the FASB’s new-yet- old-fashioned approach may be re-exposed for comment: it’s much different than the May 2010 financial instruments proposal. One thing that’s unlikely to change are the quarterly fair value disclosures for financial instruments. In fact, they might be staked out parenthetically in the balance sheet - a much more investor-friendly treatment than their current burial in the footnotes.

Whether they’re on the face of the balance sheet or tucked into the footnotes, there’s still information in them for investors to consider. What follows here is a survey of the differences between amortized cost and fair value for the 453 non-REIT financial institutions contained in the Russell 3000.

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