U.S. accounting board eyes more disclosure on illiquid assets
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Reuters) – U.S. accounting rulemakers have proposed requiring new disclosures on how companies value illiquid assets, a move designed to make it easier for investors to assess businesses’ financial health.
The rules proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board would require a company to provide alternative means to calculate how much its hardest-to-value assets are worth, using “reasonably possible” scenarios.
Robert Herz, FASB’s chairman, in a statement said the proposed disclosures would result in “increased transparency” for investors.
U.S. rules for fair value accounting divide assets into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
The value of a Level 1 asset can typically be determined from market prices. A Level 2 asset is often valued based on prices for similar assets, sometimes known as “mark-to-model.” A Level 3 asset is considered illiquid, and often valued based on complex mathematical models.
FASB’s proposal would require a company to show how its valuation of a Level 3 asset would increase or decrease in the event of a “reasonably possible” market scenario.
It would also require a company to disclosure the amounts of major transfers of assets in or out of Level 1 and Level 2, and the reasons for those transfers.
FASB said the deadline for comments on its proposed update is Oct. 12.