LONDON Feb 25 The United States has been
offered a seat on a new global accounting panel, in a move that
the body behind the initiative hopes will help persuade the
world's biggest capital market to adopt its rules.
Lack of U.S. adoption has been a glaring gap in efforts to
create a set of truly worldwide accounting rules. The
International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is therefore
offering the United States a seat on its new 12-member forum of
national and regional accounting bodies, hoping this will help
bring it into the fold.
To the dismay of U.S. accounting officials, the original
criteria for panel membership ruled out the U.S. Financial
Accounting Standards Board (FASB) joining, as it does not use
IASB standards and hasn't pledged to do so.
IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said on Monday membership
rules will be changed by the time the new panel holds its first
meeting in April so the world's biggest capital market can join.
Michel Prada, chairman of the IASB's trustees, who will
select panel members, said: "We very much hope our U.S. friends
will join. We obviously need their contribution."
The IASB, whose rules are used in over 100 countries, is
treading a fine line between throwing in the towel on U.S.
adoption after a decade spent trying to align global rules, and
keeping the door open.
Earlier this month, the G20 top economies reiterated its
call for a single set of rules for investors and gave the IASB
and FASB until December to say how this will be done.
The IASB, which has several Americans as board members,
faces a funding gap as contributions from the United States
diminish and there is also a need to replenish reserves.
Prada said the IASB is stuck in an ambiguous position.
"Now we are in a sort of situation people are waiting and
wondering what's next," Prada said. "The message we have to
convey to our U.S. counterparts is that they have to help us get
out of this situation and find a new way forward."
The U.S. decision would be taken by the Securities and
Exchange Commission which is undergoing major staffing changes
amid a heavy post financial crisis workload.
Prada said the U.S. Treasury still backed a single set of
global rules and he was trying to garner more political backing
from the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability
Board, the G20's regulatory task force.
(Editing by David Holmes)