The Securities and Exchange Commission said it has started work on a study of mark-to-market accounting authorized by the financial rescue bill that was approved last week.

The study is to be completed by Jan. 2, 2009, within the 90-day limit mandated by the bill, and will focus on the effects of mark-to-market accounting standards on a financial institution's balance sheet; the impacts of such accounting on bank failures in 2008 and on the quality of financial information available to investors; the process used by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in developing accounting standards; the advisability and feasibility of modifications to such standards; and alternative accounting standards to those provided in FASB Statement Number 157 on fair value measurement.

SEC deputy chief accountant James Kroeker will serve as staff director for the study. He was formerly a partner at Deloitte and Touche and a practice fellow at FASB, where he helped develop accounting guidance.

The SEC plans to hold public roundtables to get input from investors, accountants, standard-setters, business leaders and other interested parties for the study.

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