The adoption of International Accounting Standards (IAS) by publicly listed EU banks by 2005 will boost both the transparency and volatility of these institutions’ financial statements in coming years, Standard & Poor’s Services said in a new report. ‘With only four of the 50 largest banks having adopted IAS practices as of June 2002, major changes are set to take place in European financial statements in coming years, during a time when accounting practices are the subject of scrutiny by investors and other market participants,’ said analyst Sylvie Dalmaz. The report outlines Standard & Poor’s approach to assessing three key elements of banks’ financial profiles-capitalization, asset quality, and earnings – and the impact, if any, IAS rules have on Standard & Poor’s analytical process. ‘Overall, we view the pan-European introduction of IAS accounting rules as a mild positive, as it will improve transparency and facilitate cross-border comparisons,’ Ms. Dalmaz said. ‘At the same time, Standard & Poor’s is concerned that fair-value accounting for derivatives and available-for-sale securities and the burdensome restrictions on hedge accounting proposed by IAS 39 will introduce added complexity and volatility into banks’ financial statements.’
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