Speech by SEC Commissioner:
Commission Statement in Support of Convergence and Global Accounting Standards
Commissioner Elisse B. Walter
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
SEC Open Meeting
February 24, 2010
I, too, am pleased to support the Commission Statement before us today and want to thank the staff for all of your incredibly hard work.
I strongly believe that by reaffirming our commitment to moving to one global set of high-quality accounting standards — and by that, I mean IFRS — we are doing the right thing for investors.
The staff's Work Plan — by virtue of what it is and what it is not — advances this goal. Let me start with what it is not. It is not a work plan towards "early adoption" of IFRS for U.S. public companies. I have been quite concerned that we might be heading towards a reporting system with dual GAAP for U.S. public companies. I am greatly relieved to say that I will now be crossing that off my list of things that keep me awake at night.
I also want to highlight the fact that inclusion of an item in the Work Plan does not necessarily mean that it is a condition precedent for our adoption of IFRS for U.S. public companies. Successful completion of the FASB-IASB convergence project and the independence of standard setting for the benefit of investors will remain critical milestones that, in my view, must be achieved before we move forward. Other items address primarily transition issues. And, of course, I want to reiterate that we will move to IFRS only if it is in the best interests of U.S. investors.
Along that line, it is important that FASB have a continuing, substantive role as we move forward. As I have said publicly before, the FASB has been instrumental in helping to make the vision of global accounting standards start to become a reality. I continue to be eager to explore the continuing role of FASB in the event global standards are adopted.
Now, let me turn to what the Work Plan is. It is a plan that is designed to succeed. It is specific about what the staff will do to get us to a decision point on moving forward with IFRS for U.S. public companies. While the Plan is ambitious, I am absolutely confident that our energetic and extremely talented staff will get it done — and get it done well — so that we are able to reach this decision point as originally contemplated in our IFRS Roadmap — in 2011.
The Work Plan is also transparent. The staff's public progress reports will provide transparency to the marketplace at regular intervals throughout its execution of the Work Plan. I look forward to the dialogue that I hope this transparency will continue to foster, and I expect this dialogue to play a key role in helping us determine in 2011 whether the IFRS reporting by U.S. issuers is in the public interest.
Again, I am happy to support the Commission Statement in support of Convergence and Global Accounting Standards, and I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow Commissioners, our staff, investors, and other market participants towards achieving this goal.