Advisers Call for More Specificity in Investor Outreach

FASB’s main advisers said the board should be more specific in its investor outreach, citing ways it can broaden current efforts to generate feedback on its rulemaking efforts. Outreach to investors can also be heightened beyond current efforts to ensure that analysts get that call for input on topics they are best qualified to opine on, finance leaders from some of the nation’s largest companies told the board. The board could tap big investors—Vanguard Group, Blackrock Inc., Fidelity, and State Street Corp., for example—to provide feedback on topics that would impact larger companies, suggested Amie Thuener, vice president, chief accountant at Google’s parent company Alphabet. “How do we make sure we’re going to those investors and that we are proactively getting their voice,” she said during Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC) discussions. “I think silence doesn’t necessarily mean agreement.” Leveraging outreach to CFA organizations and industry associations is another way for the board to tap into more investors, according to the discussions. “When I see investors, oftentimes it would be at industry events, especially when they are focused on a given sector,” said John Pietrowicz, senior managing direct6or and chief financial officer of CME Group. Analysts on the FASAC also pointed to the need for specificity and for reaching out to trade groups; they suggested the board could use a partnership approach to incentivize those who might be reluctant to participate.

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Hundreds of Requests Received for Rule on Cryptocurrencies

To date, FASB has received about 500 comment letters in response to its agenda consultation document, 100 of which are unique, and the remaining 400 are singularly requesting rules on cryptocurrencies, Chair Richard Jones said at a board advisory meeting. FASB staff is evaluating the comment letters, and the board will discuss the topics at future public meetings, Jones said at a September 30meeting of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC).  The board in June issued Invitation to Comment (ITC) 2021-004, Agenda Consultation, to solicit broad public feedback about what to add to its five-year technical agenda. The document asked companies to weigh in on the board’s priorities and provide suggestions on other standard-setting initiatives—such as how to reduce complexity in financial reporting, enhance the board’s process, and so forth. The requests for the board to tackle cryptocurrencies (also referred to as digital assets) come at a time when the interest in and use of digital assets in business transactions is rapidly increasing, but variable in practice. Some businesses accept digital assets as payment for goods and services and immediately convert those assets to cash, while others hold those assets past a reporting period date.


Final Decision on New Sustainability Board Coming Mid-October

The IFRS Foundation will make a final determination during the week of October 18 about establishing the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the body that will develop climate-related disclosure rules, according to a September 28 trustee report. The decision to establish the board will be subject to satisfying the key requirements for success that were outlined in proposed amendments to the foundation’s constitution and governance, the report stated. The determination comes a year after the foundation issued a consultation document to generate public feedback about the establishment of the new board. [Initially, the board was going to be named the “Sustainability Standards Board (SSB).”] The topic was most recently discussed at the September 20 trustee video conference, which weighed progress and feedback on the consultation document that was issued in April. Specifically, trustees discussed three areas: technical readiness working group, jurisdictional engagement, and proposed amendments to its constitution.