G20 hopes for fourth time lucky on global accounting

Mon Nov 5, 2012 5:30pm EST
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* G20 body sets mid-2013 date to set alignment deadline

* IASB's Hoogervorst expects U.S. to come on board in the end

By Huw Jones

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Regulators are trying for a fourth time to revive stalled plans for common global accounting rules so that investors and regulators can compare companies and spot problems more easily.

Leaders of the world's leading 20 economies (G20) met in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis and set a deadline to align differing rules by the end of that year.

But disagreements between two key rulesetters scuppered that timetable and revised deadlines for mid-2011 and mid-2013 were also missed, leading to Monday's move to set a deadline for a deadline.

The Financial Stability Board, a G20 task force, said efforts by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)and the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) were diverging, such as in forcing banks from around 2015 to recognise losses far earlier than under current rules.

Both rulesetters reached a common approach but at the last minute in July FASB had second thoughts and went its own way.

There is also disagreement over how banks should show investors their derivatives holdings: on balance sheet - the IASB's preferred option - or via footnotes as sought by FASB.   Continued...