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US Government Threatens to Step in for Mark to Market Improvements

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Members of the US Congress have indicated that the government will step in to take action if the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) does not take swift action to improve mark to market accounting standards. The industry has been discussing potential improvements to the controversial accounting rules over the last couple of months but there remain outstanding issues with regards to pricing illiquid securities.

Paul Kanjorski, the chairman of the US House capital markets subcommittee, explained during a hearing: “If the regulators and standard setters do not act now to improve the standards, then the Congress will have no other option than to act itself.”

FASB has indicated that it will soon be releasing guidance to help firms determine fair value, or more specifically whether a market can be termed as active or inactive and whether a transaction is distressed or not. However, it has not given a definitive timeline as for when this will be released.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Mary Schapiro last week told Congress that the regulator would be putting pressure on FASB to release the guidance by the second quarter of this year.

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