IOSCO and IFRS collaboration “encouraging” but limited

22 Oct 2013

The two global bodies at the head of internationally recognised standards for accounting and securities regulation have pledged to deepen their cooperation in the development and implementation of IFRS.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the IFRS Foundation have “agreed on a set of protocols” that aims to support their “shared commitment to the highest standards of financial reporting” in a global setting.

The announcement builds on a history of cooperation between the two bodies. Their collective ambition is that the protocols will improve the consistency of application of accounting standards and promote and enable increased transparency in capital markets.

IOSCO’s membership is comprised of more than 120 securities regulators, overseeing 95% of the world’s securities markets. Those capital market regulators are responsible for supervising the form and content of financial reporting in their market, many of which mandate or allow the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

In working terms, the protocols will seek to identify areas in which the bodies can offer one another mutual support, in the discussion of initiatives, projects, reviews and developments. Respective members will be encouraged to respond to proposals and amendments and to consider comments “in the normal course” of work.

Michel Prada, the chairman of the IFRS Foundation, noted that IOSCO’s work led to the creation of the IASB – the standard setting body for the Foundation. He added: “[t]oday’s agreement … represents a big step forward”, in the journey towards a global accounting standard.

Peter Hogarth, PwC’s technical accounting lead, agreed with the sentiment driving the collaboration, saying: “this is an encouraging step – but another important piece of the puzzle is that IOSCO members themselves approach enforcement in a consistent way, and this isn’t always the case today”.