The IASB is, however, currently undertaking a comprehensive review of financial instruments accounting and aims to replace IAS39 with a new financial instruments standard referred to as IFRS9 Financial Instruments.
The IFRS9 project is partly driven by requests for reform from the Group of 20 and other constituents. The IFRS9 project is divided into three main phases: classification and measurement, impairment, and hedge accounting.
The IASB aims to complete all phases by the second quarter of 2011. To date, the classification and measurement phase has been completed and draft proposals arising from the impairment phase have been issued.
Under the classification and measurement phase, the four categories for financial assets under IAS39 (namely held to maturity, loans and receivables, fair value through profit or loss, and available for sale) are replaced by just two categories i.e. amortised cost and fair value.
An entity’s “business model” condition is introduced to determine the appropriate classification for financial assets. If an entity’s business model’s objective is to hold assets to collect the contractual cashflows, then the financial assets are measured at amortised cost.
This change is intended to make it easier for entities to measure their financial assets (particularly quoted debt securities) at amortised cost rather than fair value. Hence, unlike previously, an entity does not have to hold all debt securities to maturity to qualify for amortised cost measurement.
Other key changes
There are also key changes in the accounting for investments in equity investments (shares).
Equity investments are generally measured at fair value and gains/losses on fair value changes are recognised in profit or loss. However, an entity may elect to present the fair value changes to other comprehensive income (OCI) instead. The election is irrevocable and can be made on an individual share-by-share basis.