Leaders of 20 of the world’s richest nations agreed on common principles to guide financial market reform at the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in Washington on Saturday. An attached plan charged G-20 financial ministers with accomplishing “immediate” high priority tasks designed to strengthen financial market transparency and accountability as early as March 31, 2009.
Immediate accounting related tasks included:
- The key global accounting standards bodies should work to enhance guidance for valuation of securities, also taking into account the valuation of complex, illiquid products, especially during times of stress.
- Accounting standard setters should significantly advance their work to address weaknesses in accounting and disclosure standards for off-balance sheet vehicles.
- Regulators and accounting standard setters should enhance the required disclosure of complex financial instruments by firms to market participants.
- With a view toward promoting financial stability, the governance of the international accounting standard setting body should be further enhanced, including by undertaking a review of its membership, in particular in order to ensure transparency, accountability, and an appropriate relationship between this independent body and the relevant authorities.
Medium-term accounting-related tasks included:
- The key global accounting standards bodies should work intensively toward the objective of creating a single high-quality global standard.
- Regulators, supervisors, and accounting standard setters, as appropriate, should work with each other and the private sector on an ongoing basis to ensure consistent application and enforcement of high-quality accounting standards.
- Financial institutions should provide enhanced risk disclosures in their reporting and disclose all losses on an ongoing basis, consistent with international best practice, as appropriate. Regulators should work to ensure that a financial institution's financial statements include a complete, accurate, and timely picture of the firm's activities (including off-balance sheet activities) and are reported on a consistent and regular basis.
To read the entire declaration, visit www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/11/20081115-1.html.