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U.S. Will Probably Adopt IFRS Standards, IASB Chairman Says

The U.S. will probably adopt International Financial Reporting Standards, said Hans Hoogervorst, the new chairman of the London-based accounting organization IASB.

The U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, which wanted to expand the use of fair-value accounting to all financial assets, has dropped that model and “that has made talking to each other a lot easier,” Hoogervorst told delegates at an IFRS conference in Zurich today.

“We still have quite a few things to resolve, but I’m positive about the outcome,” Hoogervorst, a former Dutch finance minister, said in his first public speech since taking over from David Tweedie as chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board on July 1.

A dispute between the U.S. and the IASB about how to value financial instruments threatened to derail efforts to align global standards, affecting how trillions of dollars of assets are marked on bank balance sheets.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has indicated it will make a decision later this year on incorporating IFRS, Hoogervorst said.

“The U.S. is the largest national capital market in the world with some of most developed and sophisticated accounting standards, therefore it’s appropriate that the SEC has taken its time,” he said. The U.S. will want to maintain its leadership in international financial reporting, making it “very hard to fathom a negative decision by the U.S.,” he added.

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