IFRS 9 Financial Instruments

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Standard 2021 Issued
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IFRS 9 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018 with early application permitted.

IFRS 9 specifies how an entity should classify and measure financial assets, financial liabilities, and some contracts to buy or sell non-financial items.

IFRS 9 requires an entity to recognise a financial asset or a financial liability in its statement of financial position when it becomes party to the contractual provisions of the instrument. At initial recognition, an entity measures a financial asset or a financial liability at its fair value plus or minus, in the case of a financial asset or a financial liability not at fair value through profit or loss, transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition or issue of the financial asset or the financial liability.

Financial assets

When an entity first recognises a financial asset, it classifies it based on the entity’s business model for managing the asset and the asset’s contractual cash flow characteristics, as follows:

  • Amortised cost—a financial asset is measured at amortised cost if both of the following conditions are met: 
    • the asset is held within a business model whose objective is to hold assets in order to collect contractual cash flows; and
    • the contractual terms of the financial asset give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding.
  • Fair value through other comprehensive income—financial assets are classified and measured at fair value through other comprehensive income if they are held in a business model whose objective is achieved by both collecting contractual cash flows and selling financial assets.
  • Fair value through profit or loss—any financial assets that are not held in one of the two business models mentioned are measured at fair value through profit or loss.

When, and only when, an entity changes its business model for managing financial assets it must reclassify all affected financial assets.

Standard history

In April 2001 the International Accounting Standards Board (Board) adopted IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement, which had originally been issued by the International Accounting Standards Committee in March 1999.

The Board had always intended that IFRS 9 Financial Instruments would replace IAS 39 in its entirety. However, in response to requests from interested parties that the accounting for financial instruments should be improved quickly, the Board divided its project to replace IAS 39 into three main phases. As the Board completed each phase, it issued chapters in IFRS 9 that replaced the corresponding requirements in IAS 39.

In November 2009 the Board issued the chapters of IFRS 9 relating to the classification and measurement of financial assets. In October 2010 the Board added the requirements related to the classification and measurement of financial liabilities to IFRS 9. This includes requirements on embedded derivatives and how to account for changes in own credit risk on financial liabilities designated under the fair value option.

In October 2010 the Board also decided to carry forward unchanged from IAS 39 the requirements related to the derecognition of financial assets and financial liabilities. Because of these changes, in October 2010 the Board restructured IFRS 9 and its Basis for Conclusions. In December 2011 the Board deferred the mandatory effective date of IFRS 9.

In November 2013 the Board added a Hedge Accounting chapter. IFRS 9 permits an entity to choose as its accounting policy either to apply the hedge accounting requirements of IFRS 9 or to continue to apply the hedge accounting requirements in IAS 39. Consequently, although IFRS 9 is effective (with limited exceptions for entities that issue insurance contracts and entities applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard), IAS 39, which now contains only its requirements for hedge accounting, also remains effective.

In July 2014 the Board issued the completed version of IFRS 9. The Board made limited amendments to the classification and measurement requirements for financial assets by addressing a narrow range of application questions and by introducing a ‘fair value through other comprehensive income’ measurement category for particular simple debt instruments. The Board also added the impairment requirements relating to the accounting for an entity’s expected credit losses on its financial assets and commitments to extend credit. A new mandatory effective date was also set.

In May 2017 when IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts was issued, it amended the derecognition requirements in IFRS 9 by permitting an exemption for when an entity repurchases its financial liability in specific circumstances.

In October 2017 IFRS 9 was amended by Prepayment Features with Negative Compensation (Amendments to IFRS 9). The amendments specify that particular financial assets with prepayment features that may result in reasonable negative compensation for the early termination of such contracts are eligible to be measured at amortised cost or at fair value through other comprehensive income.

In September 2019 the Board amended IFRS 9 and IAS 39 by issuing Interest Rate Benchmark Reform to provide specific exceptions to hedge accounting requirements in IFRS 9 and IAS 39 for (a) highly probable requirement; (b) prospective assessments; (c) retrospective assessment (IAS 39 only); and (d) separately identifiable risk components. Interest Rate Benchmark Reform also amended IFRS 7 to add specific disclosure requirements for hedging relationships to which an entity applies the exceptions in IFRS 9 or IAS 39.

In August 2020 the Board issued Interest Rate Benchmark Reform―Phase 2 which amended requirements in IFRS 9, IAS 39, IFRS 7, IFRS 4 and IFRS 16 relating to:

•                changes in the basis for determining contractual cash flows of financial assets, financial liabilities and lease liabilities;

•                hedge accounting; and

•                disclosures.

The Phase 2 amendments apply only to changes required by the interest rate benchmark reform to financial instruments and hedging relationships.

Other Standards have made minor consequential amendments to IFRS 9. They include Severe Hyperinflation and Removal of Fixed Dates for First-time Adopters (Amendments to IFRS 1) (issued December 2010), IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements (issued May 2011), IFRS 11  Joint Arrangements (issued May 2011), IFRS 13  Fair Value Measurement (issued May 2011), IAS 19 Employee Benefits (issued June 2011), Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2010–2012 Cycle (issued December 2013), IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (issued May 2014), IFRS 16 Leases (issued January 2016), Amendments to References to the Conceptual Framework in IFRS Standards (issued March 2018), Annual Improvements to IFRS Standards 2018–2020 (issued May 2020) and Amendments to IFRS 17 (issued June 2020).

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