The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued a statement intended to improve financial reporting on derivative instruments and hedging activities.

The statement requires enhanced disclosures to enable investors to better understand their effects on an entity's financial position, financial performance and cash flow. FASB Statement No. 161, "Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities," is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years and interim periods beginning after Nov. 15, 2008. The new standard requires disclosure of the fair values of derivative instruments and their gains and losses in tabular format.

It also provides more information about an entity's liquidity by requiring disclosure of derivative features that are credit risk-related. The statement requires cross-referencing within footnotes to enable financial statement users to locate important information about derivative instruments.

In addition, the organization has issued FASB Staff Position No. 132(R)-a, "Employers' Disclosures about Postretirement Benefit Plan Assets." With the document, the organization aims to obtain feedback on its proposed guidance for increasing disclosures about the types of assets held in retirement plans, such as the fair value of categories of plan assets and the nature and amount of concentrations of risk. The deadline for providing comments to FASB on the guidance is May 2.

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