New York (April 4, 2003) - While financial institutions executives show strong support for the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards, few said their firms will be using IFRS as their primary accounting standard in 2005, when adoption is required, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

While 92 percent of survey respondents favor a single set of global accounting standards, only 34 percent said they would be using IFRS as their primary accounting standard come 2005.What’s more, nearly half of respondents have yet to start implementation, PwC reported. Senior executives from 85 financial institutions participated in the online survey in February 2003.

While two-thirds of respondents thought that IFRS-compliant institutions would be more transparent in their reporting, only 22 percent thought adoption was a key business priority. Only 38 percent of respondents said their institution had a good understanding of the proposals.

“These are the biggest changes in financial reporting for more than 30 years,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s U.S. ABAS Financial Services Leader. “Given the lack of clarity on what the final standards will look like, it is not surprising that the survey revealed a high degree of uncertainty amongst financial institutions. However, with just two years left for European financial institutions, and others parts of the world committed to conversion, our survey suggests that many companies have a lot to do in a short space of time.”

According to the report, much of the debate so far has centered on IAS 39 (financial instrument standard) and proposed insurance contract standards. The standards will, among other things, require banks and insurance companies to measure more of their exposures using fair value techniques.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire Staff

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