Monday, June 8, 2009

FAS 166, 167 Putting Kibosh on Q's Expected This Week; SEC Forms Investor Advisory Committee

FASB is expected to release its amendments to FAS 140 and FIN 46R this week -in the form of new standards numbered FAS 166 and FAS 167 - which, among other things, will remove the prior exception for off-balance sheet treatment for Qualifying Special Purpose Entities (aka QSPEs or Q's), according to a report published by BNA last week. The article, FASB Planning to Issue New Guidance Soon on Off-Balance Sheet Activities, Golden Says, by Steven Marcy, states:

"[FASB] plans to issue its new guidance on off-balance-sheet activities the week of June 8, FASB Technical Director Russell Golden said June 4. The new guidance, which will revise [FAS] 140, Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities, and [FIN] 46(R), Consolidation of
Variable Interest Entities, also will carry new names, FAS 166 and FAS 167 respectively.

"Golden, in remarks to a Compliance Week conference session on FASB activities, noted that the new standards will be two of the shortest-lived separate standards ever. FASB is ending its current system of nomenclature July 1 and instituting a new Accounting Standards Codification, which will organize accounting literature by topic. The codification will become the new U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, although the substance of the new GAAP is not supposed to change from the outgoing system."

See our earlier (May 18) post, FASB Keeps 2010 Effective Date for Upcoming Changes to Securitization, Asset Transfer Rules.

For up-to-the-minute news on FASB's latest standards and upcoming standards, tune into FEI's webcast Tues. June 9 from 12 noon - 1:30 pm EDT: "What's New With FASB?"Advance registration is required; 1.5 CPE; free for FEI members, $50 for nonmembers.

SEC Forms Investor Advisory Committee
BNA's Marcy also reported on SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar's remarks at the Compliance Week conference last week, in two separate articles: SEC's Aguilar Sees Slowdown On Decision Whether to Require Use of IFRS in U.S., and SEC's Aguilar Says Reform Debate Too Focused on Entities, Not Investors. You can read the full text of Aguilar's remarks in the link that follows; one point of interest - although perhaps not too much should be read into this - many, but not all, SEC speeches are simply entitled "Address To..." or "Remarks To..." (conference XYZ...) Aguilar's remarks were specifically titled: "Reversing Course: Putting Investors First in Regulatory Reform."

The SEC concurrently announced last week: SEC Announces Creation of Investor Advisory Committee. SEC's press release stated: "The Investor Advisory Committee will be co-chaired by Richard (Mac) Hisey, President of AARP Financial Incorporated and AARP Funds, and Hye-Won Choi, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Governance for TIAA-CREF;" committee members are also listed. Additionally, the press release states: "Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar will serve as the Commission's primary sponsor of the Committee."

It appears to me that the Investor Advisory Commitee will be formed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), similar to SEC's most recent FACA committees - the Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting (CIFiR), and the SEC Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies (SPC) - based on the closing words in last week's press release: "The Advisory Committee will begin its work in the next few weeks, after the SEC staff files the Committee's charter with Congress."

[UPDATE: The SEC also posted a Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Establishment on June 3, which states: "The [Investor Advisory] Committee may be established 15 days after publication of this notice by filing a charter for the Committee with the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the United States Senate and the Committee on Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives." Additionally, the Notice states (as does the above-cited press release) that the objectives of the Investor Advisory Committee are: "to provide the Commission with the views of a broad spectrum of investors on their priorities concerning the Commission’s regulatory agenda, including: (1) advising the Commission regarding matters of concern to investors in the securities markets; (2) providing the Commission with investors’ perspectives on current, non­enforcement, regulatory issues; and (3) serving as a source of information and recommendations to the Commission regarding the Commission’s regulatory programs from the point of view of investors." The Notice adds that the committee is expected to have a two-year life, subject to renewal of its charter.]

Additional reporting from the Compliance Week '09 conference can be found in Compliance Week's Blogs and on the Compliance Week website. A number of other well known bloggers reporting from the Compliance Week conference included Francine McKenna of RE: The Auditors and Doug Cornelius of the Compliance Building blog.

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