IASB Chair Meets with New SEC Chair

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The International Accounting Standards Board wants the U.S. to remain committed to its roadmap for transitioning to International Financial Reporting Standards and is making the case directly to the new SEC chairman.

IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie (pictured) met with the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, in the past week and had what is described as an amicable meeting. Schapiro said in her confirmation hearing last month that she would not “feel bound” by the roadmap (see New SEC Chair May Delay IFRS Roadmap). “I would proceed with great caution so we don’t have a race to the bottom,” she said. “I have some concerns about IFRS standards generally.” She also criticized the IASB in a follow-up letter to Congress, saying that she “is not prepared to delegate standard-setting or oversight responsibility to the IASB.”

However, the IASB has been continuing work with the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board on various convergence projects, including work on off-balance-sheet accounting, recognition and derecognition. Tweedie has also been participating with FASB, and other accounting regulators from around the world, in a series of meetings of the Financial Crisis Advisory Group. The next meeting is scheduled for New York on Friday and will discuss fair value accounting and other controversial matters.

To address concerns about governance of the IASB, a monitoring group of government securities regulators has also been named to oversee the board’s parent organization (see New Board Will Monitor International Accounting).

The IASB will have to work with not only the new SEC chair, but also a new chief accountant. James Kroeker, the former deputy chief accountant, was recently named acting chief accountant, succeeding Conrad Hewitt, who retired last month. However, the SEC is reportedly planning to select Charles Niemeier, one of the original members of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, for the permanent slot, according to Bloomberg News. Niemeier has also been critical of the move toward IFRS, but is said to have a good relationship with Tweedie.

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