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    FASB Updates List of US Benchmark Interest Rates for Hedge Accounting

    October 25, 2018

    FASB issued an Accounting Standards Update that expands the list of U.S. benchmark interest rates permitted in the application of hedge accounting. The amendments in the Accounting Standards Update will be effective concurrently with Update 2017-12. For public companies that have adopted Update 2017-12, the new amendments will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, along with the interim periods within those fiscal years. For all other companies and organizations that already have adopted Update 2017-12, the new amendments will become effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, along with the interim periods within those fiscal years.

    FASB Accounting Standards Codification® Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, provides guidance on the risks associated with financial assets or liabilities that are permitted to be hedged. Among those risks is the risk of changes in fair values or cash flows of existing or forecast issuances, or purchases of fixed-rate financial assets or liabilities attributable to the designated benchmark interest rate (referred to as interest rate risk). In the United States, eligible benchmark interest rates under Topic 815 are interest rates on direct Treasury obligations of the U.S. government (UST), the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) swap rate, and the Overnight Index Swap (OIS) Rate based on the Fed Funds Effective Rate.

    When FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (Update) No. 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities, in August 2017, it introduced the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Municipal Swap Rate as the fourth permissible U.S. benchmark rate. Based on concerns about the sustainability of LIBOR, in 2017, a committee convened by the FED and the New York FED identified a broad Treasury repurchase agreement (repo) financing rate referred to as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as its preferred alternative reference rate. The new Accounting Standards Update adds the OIS rate based on SOFR as a U.S. benchmark interest rate to facilitate the LIBOR to SOFR transition and provide sufficient lead time for entities to prepare for changes to interest rate risk hedging strategies for both risk management and hedge accounting purposes.


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    Keywords: Americas, US, Accounting, Banking, Securities, Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, Benchmark Interest Rates, FASB

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