SEC to Meet Wednesday on IFRS Roadmap

The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to meet this Wednesday to consider a statement on International Financial Reporting Standards.

According to a Sunshine Act Notice published Friday, the SEC said, “The commission will consider whether to publish a statement regarding its continued support for a single-set of high-quality globally accepted accounting standards and its ongoing consideration of incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers.”

The SEC proposed its roadmap in August 2008 for converging U.S. GAAP with IFRS by 2014 under former Chairman Christopher Cox, and published it on its Web site in November 2008. But the current chair, Mary Schapiro, has delayed approval of the roadmap as she dealt with the fallout from the financial crisis and efforts at financial regulatory reform.

Also on the agenda for Wednesday is consideration of amendments to rules governing short sale restrictions. The short notice of the meeting apparently was related to a change in priorities, according to the announcement. The SEC noted that Commissioner Kathleen Casey had determined that no earlier notice was possible, adding, “At times, changes in commission priorities require alterations in the scheduling of meeting items.”

SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker told WebCPA earlier this month that he hopes to see a decision on the status of the IFRS roadmap by early 2010 (see Industry Leader Q&A: James L. Kroeker). It is not clear from the description of the meeting whether the SEC will actually vote to adopt, revise or reject the roadmap on Wednesday.

At the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh last September, the U.S. was among the countries that called for international accounting bodies to redouble their efforts to achieve “a single set of high-quality, global accounting standards within the context of their independent standard-setting process, and complete their convergence project by June 2011.” Part of the meeting will apparently be devoted to reaffirming that earlier expression of support.

Last October, Financial Accounting Standards Board Chairman Robert Herz and International Accounting Standards Board Chairman Sir David Tweedie committed to meet on a monthly basis to resolve the major outstanding differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS by June 2011. They have been conducting joint meetings in person and by video conference, including a meeting last week in which they made tentative decisions on fair value accounting and other issues (see Accounting Boards Refine Fair Value Standards).

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.