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SEC Expresses Clear Support for International Accounting Standards

Last month, the SEC sent a strong signal of support for the move from separate bodies of accounting and financial disclosure standards from country to country, to a unified set of globally accepted standards.  In a statement released last month, the Commission stated that it continues to support the move to International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"):

The Commission continues to believe that a single set of high-quality globally accepted accounting standards will benefit U.S. investors and that this goal is consistent with our mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation. As a step toward this goal, we continue to encourage the convergence of U.S. GAAP and IFRS and expect that the differences will become fewer and narrower, over time, as a result of the convergence project.

Though a convergence between US financial reporting standards and IFRS has been generally supported by the Commission, this statement reinforces the SEC's commitment to pursue the course laid out in the "Roadmap for the Potential Use of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards by U.S. Issuers" issued in 2008.

The Commission's recent release supporting IFRS lays out generally how the international standards are set, and how they are overseen.  It also explains how the migration to international standards maintains a focus on investors, how they are represented on the standard setting bodies, and how the Commission and other agencies and organizations will move forward in educating the investing public on the new disclosure regime presented by IFRS.

The full text of the Commission's February 2010 release on IFRS is available at: