Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SEC IFRS Roundtable

The CFO magazine published an article yesterday entitled Global Standards: Jilted at the Altar? The article was written by David Katz and can be found at

Mr. Katz covers the SEC Roundtable held last Monday. As I noted in my last post Chairman Cox does not seem to be near to announcing a plan for convergence. There are a number of issues not the least of which is orienting three new Commissioners to the issues surrounding conversion to IFRS.

The CFO Magazine covers some of the specific points made by certain individuals at the session and will be interesting to those of you who did not listen in. Many of the comments seem very negative and non supportive. Of course there are several things that need to be considered if and when US companies convert to IFRS. Who says it has to be easy. Many of these matters are already on the IASB agenda over the next three years or so. As I previously reported the tone of the meeting was that the majority of Roundtable participants were generally in support of IFRS adoption.

The title of the article seems to imply some backtracking or at best a major delay. The term "jilted" is strong. The SEC may yet, of course, back off on IFRS but that would be contrary to signals that they have been sending over the last few years. Indeed the elimination of the reconciliation (to US GAAP) for foreign issuers filing IFRS statements is quite a strong move one would think and sends a very strong signal.

Understandably the SEC is cautious in taking the big step to IFRS conversion and wants to have its "ducks in a row" before moving. My view (but I have been wrong before) that it is a matter of when not if the US adopts IFRSs (absent some major event we cannot anticipate). Rather than a jilting I believe the SEC would be better characterized as doing a "dance of the seven veils" metaphorically of course. The reveal may be slower coming than many might wish. A certain date is required for US business to focus on IFRS.

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