Two new FASB releases

BVWireIssue #66-4
March 26, 2008

Last week the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Statement No. 161, Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.  “The new standard is intended to improve financial reporting about derivative instruments and hedging activities by requiring enhanced disclosures to enable investors to better understand their effects on an entity’s financial position, financial performance, and cash flows,” says the FASB release.  “The new standard also improves transparency about the location and amounts of derivative instruments in an entity’s financial statements; how derivative instruments and related hedged items are accounted for under Statement 133; and how derivative instruments and related hedged items affect its financial position, financial performance, and cash flows.”   Effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years and interim periods beginning after November 15, 2008, FAS 161 is available here.  Early application is encouraged. 

Last week the FASB also released Staff Position (FSP) No. 132(R)-a, Employers’ Disclosures about Postretirement Benefit Plan Assets.  “The purpose of the proposed FSP is to obtain feedback from constituents on proposed guidance intended to improve the quality of financial reporting by increasing disclosures about the types of assets held in postretirement benefit plans,” says this release.  The proposed amendments include: i) a principle for disclosing the fair value of categories of plan assets by type; ii) categories of plan assets that should be disclosed; iii) disclosures about nature/amount of risk within plan categories; and iv) disclosures about fair value measurements (similar to FAS 157 requirements).  Respondents have until May 2, 2008, to comment.  The disclosure requirements of FSP 132(R)-a would be applied on a prospective basis for fiscal years ending after December 15, 2008; for a copy, click here.

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