Volume 4, No. 12

 

Bank Holidays: Vacationing From SFAS No. 115:  Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 115 required all companies to classify their holdings of debt securities in one of three ways: held to maturity, available for sale and trading. Those provisions nudged American companies towards fair value accounting for at least a portion of their securities holdings, while retaining amortized cost accounting for held-to-maturity securities. In an unusual temporary suspension of this pronouncement, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is permitting all holders of debt securities to reclassify their holdings without penalty from mid-November to year end. More than likely, firms - particularly banks - will take advantage of the grace period to take profits in their held-to-maturity holdings in order to bolster capital. Previously, a sale of these kinds of holdings would have had negative consequences.

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