The objective of general purpose financial reporting is to provide financial information about the reporting entity that is useful to existing and potential investors, lenders and other creditors in making decisions about providing resources to the entity.
The International Accounting Standards Board (Board) cannot achieve this objective on its own. We need investors and analysts to tell us where this is working well, and where there are opportunities for improvement. Your knowledge of how reporting works in practice will help us to develop accounting standards that better meet your needs.
The Board's Investor Centre aims to make it easy for investors and analysts to:
- understand how recent changes to accounting standards may impact company analysis;
- stay up to date on changes that are in the pipeline, especially those that will impact financial statements; and
- share views on the Board's projects, get involved in events, or make suggestions about future projects that the Board might undertake.
You don’t need an accounting background to speak to us. It is your insight and experience as an investor that we need!
The IASB Investors in Financial Reporting programme
Working with the investment community for greater transparency in global capital markets
Financial information is the lifeblood of global capital markets. Financial reporting standards that result in a faithful representation of a company’s performance and allow easier comparison among peers are essential to helping investors identify investment opportunities—while understanding the risks involved.
The International Accounting Standards Board’s mission is to develop such financial reporting requirements, known as IFRS Standards. Our Standards fulfil an important public interest by bringing transparency, accountability and efficiency to global capital markets.
Investors play a key role in this process.
A new phase in our interaction with the buy-side community
Investors rely on the financial information provided by companies. Consequently, the Board has always sought the views of both buy-side and sell-side investment professionals throughout the standard-setting process.
However, the Board believes that the interaction with the buy-side can, and should, be broadened. It can also be structured to become more effective.
To do so, in December 2014 we established the Investors in Financial Reporting programme. The goal of the programme is to increase our dialogue with the buy-side community, to ensure that IFRS Standards continue to meet the information needs of investors globally.
Central to the programme is a Statement of Shared Beliefs, which describes steps that both the Board and these investors are committed to take, in order to foster greater participation in the reporting debate among the global investment community.
What do participants in the programme say?
'Access to high quality, transparent financial and non-financial information is central to Insight’s investment research process. Initiatives that seek to enhance the integrity of financial information are in our clients’ best interests and can help mitigate some investment risks. As a responsible, long-term investor we support the Statement of Shared Beliefs’ objectives to provide greater comparability, consistency and relevance of business reporting and we are pleased to participate in this programme.'
David Averre, Head of Credit Analysis, Insight Investment
'With a long-term investment approach and a business-owner mindset, CDPQ has an acute interest in having financial statements that best represent the underlying economic value of companies. To this end, we are happy to share our perspective through the IASB’s investor programme.'
Roland Lescure, Chief Investment Officer, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)
'Odey is supporting the Investors in Financial Reporting programme to ensure accounting standards develop in a way that helps all investors to improve their returns. Clear, representative and accurate company accounts are the bedrock of all good research.'
Crispin Odey, Founding Partner, Odey Asset Management
'Improved engagement between standard setters and the users of accounts is very much in the best interests of our investors, which is why Fidelity Worldwide Investment is keen to support this new initiative.'
Henk-Jan Rikkerink, Head of Equity Research and Marty Dropkin, Head of Credit Research, Fidelity Worldwide Investment
'We have long been supporters of countries and companies adopting IFRS to give us greater confidence in their financial reporting, and greater comparability between investment opportunities. Our participation in the Investors in Financial Reporting programme gives us the basis to take the next step and work more fully with the IASB in further improving standards for company reporting so that our understanding of their underlying business is enhanced.'
Hugh Young, Head of Direct Investments, Aberdeen Asset Management
'As a global investor and extensive user of financial statements, Ontario Teachers’ welcomes the opportunity to support IASB’s Investors in Financial Reporting programme to improve the quality and transparency of financial reporting.'
Michael Wissell, Senior Vice-President, Public Equities, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
'IFRS Standards are leading us towards a more transparent and balanced information world. The work already done is impressive. Nevertheless, this is only the beginning and we still have a long way to go. We are pleased to play our part in moving forward.'
Barbara Cohen, Head of European Credit Research, BNP Paribas Asset Management
'As a responsible long-term investor, PGGM fully shares the beliefs and is therefore pleased to endorse the Statement. We look forward to start a formal dialogue with IASB on the further development of accounting standards.'
Eloy Lindeijer, Chief Investment Management, PGGM Investments
A Statement of Shared Beliefs
The International Accounting Standards Board (Board) and the organisations listed below agree that high-quality, transparent financial reporting is fundamental to building trust in the capital markets and to making investment decisions. Achieving this should be a shared goal of all stakeholders in the capital markets.
The listed organisations acknowledge that as responsible investors they have an important role to play in the achievement of this goal by:
- sharing their views and contributing to the development of standards for financial reporting; and
- having a commitment to working with the Board to ensure that the investor perspective is articulated clearly, and is considered in the standard-setting process.
The Board recognises that this shared goal lies at the heart of the standard-setting process and is essential to fulfil the Board's role as a global standard-setter. This can only be achieved with the help of insight and experience from the investment community. To meet this aim, the Board commits to continue to seek the views of investors, to consider them carefully, and to give due weight to their views in the standard-setting process.
While the Board and the listed organisations share a commitment to work together to improve financial reporting, both acknowledge that they may have different views on some of the topics that are discussed.
|Participants in the programme:|
What we need and what we have to offer
What we need
Leading the profession
Signing up to the Statement of Shared Beliefs enables leading voices within the global investment community to make visible their:
- own commitment to improving financial reporting;
- belief that high quality financial reporting standards are a collective responsibility; and
- belief that this is a debate so fundamental to the efficient running of capital markets that it should be viewed as part of the day job of any responsible investor.
As part of being a responsible investor and improving the quality and usefulness of financial reporting, investor organisations that sign-up to the Statement of Shared Beliefs agree to the following:
- ongoing dialogue: senior representatives will meet with Board members or senior staff on a periodic basis to discuss high-level issues that are relevant to investors and financial reporting, and to review opportunities to improve the Board's interaction with their investment teams.
- executive level support: senior management (for example, Chief Investment Officers or Heads of Research) will provide executive-level support for their organisation’s participation in the development of high-quality global accounting standards. This comprises encouraging their analysts and portfolio managers to see engagement with the Board and staff as beneficial to their day-to-day activities and formally supporting them in taking the time to understand how accounting requirements are changing. This also includes encouraging these investors to share their thoughts on the financial information that they need.
- access to analysts and portfolio managers: to streamline engagement with the Board and staff, organisations will provide a point of contact within the firm or territorial cluster. This will help the Board and staff to disseminate education materials to the right teams, to introduce us to those who are most likely to be affected by a change in reporting, and to ensure that we hear any suggestions for change from those most affected.
We hope that the leadership of these organisations in the first phase of the programme will encourage others within the investment community to join the financial reporting debate.
What we have to offer
We see engagement with the investment community as a two-way street. As well as continuing to seek the views of investors, considering them carefully and giving them due weight in the standard-setting process, the Board has committed to:
- providing the buy-side community with an improved channel through which to influence our Standards.
- developing investor-tailored webcasts on changes to our Standards as well as on key details about the Standards and how they might affect the information that investors receive. The webcasts aim to raise the levels of awareness and understanding among investors about proposed changes in accounting requirements, and are produced separately by the IASB staff as well as being developed in conjunction with the CFA Institute.
- providing investor-friendly articles on our proposed changes. These articles are written by Board members and aim to summarise the key points about any new proposal or Standard in an ‘investor-friendly’ way.
- providing access to IASB members and staff who can provide updates to the organisations’ analysts and portfolio managers on the potential impact of new Standards, especially those related to certain sectors or jurisdictions.
- providing a contact person to discuss any suggestions that analysts have on existing disclosures or proposed changes to our Standards or introduce them to the related expert in our organisation.
- providing investor-focused education sessions for analysts and portfolio managers on current projects, new Standards, and/or existing Standards. In addition, we will notify investor organisations of any new changes to our Standards and endeavour to highlight any industries that might be ‘disproportionately affected.’
The IASB Investor Education team develops webcasts and publications that are designed to keep investors up to date on today’s major accounting issues.
The objective of the Investor Education Programme is to improve investors' knowledge of IFRS, including the judgements and estimates that are necessarily made when preparing IFRS financial information.
Improving investors' knowledge of IFRS aims to help:
- reduce the perceived need for industry-specific IFRS guidance and IFRS Interpretations; and
- contribute indirectly to increasing the consistency and rigour with which IFRS is applied.
Our activities include:
- working with established investor professional associations/investor organisations to enhance the IFRS knowledge and competences of their members;
- the development of a more comprehensive suite of investor-focused products and services; and
- arranging investor-focused IFRS updates at IFRS Foundation conferences and other events.
The IASB Investor Update aims to make it easy for investors to keep up to speed on changes in the world of International Financial Reporting Standards and how those changes may affect an investor’s day job.
Each issue profiles the impact that recently introduced Standards may have on your analysis of performance. We will highlight changes that are in the pipeline and signal how they might alter the way in which you look at companies. And we flag when and how you can best share your thoughts on the direction we are taking.