Friday, July 09, 2004

Brussels creates IAS headache for companies

Companies across Europe have been left with a real headache over the awkward compromise the European Commission has proposed this week on new A. rules for derivatives.
While the debate is not yet over, it looks like Brussels will endorse only parts of the IA standard known as IAS 39 and set aside its most controversial aspects.
"It's a real mess," said John Hitchins, UK banking leader at PwC, the A. and consultancy firm. "Especially if you are SEC registered."
Many European companies with a US share listing, and therefore registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, had hoped Brussels would back convergence of US and European A. standards so they would no longer have to do things in duplicate. It is not clear the compromise will be enough to achieve that.
Many will probably implement anyway, but fear they will not after all feel the benefit.
IAS 39 has been devised primarily with banks in mind, but nevertheless applies to all of Europe's 7,000 listed companies. Corporate treasurers, the people at the front line, see the deadline of January 1 2005 looming with some difficult decisions to make.