Summary of Statement No. 157

Fair Value Measurements

Summary

This Statement defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and expands disclosures about fair value measurements. This Statement applies under other accounting pronouncements that require or permit fair value measurements, the Board having previously concluded in those accounting pronouncements that fair value is the relevant measurement attribute. Accordingly, this Statement does not require any new fair value measurements. However, for some entities, the application of this Statement will change current practice.

Reason for Issuing This Statement

Prior to this Statement, there were different definitions of fair value and limited guidance for applying those definitions in GAAP. Moreover, that guidance was dispersed among the many accounting pronouncements that require fair value measurements. Differences in that guidance created inconsistencies that added to the complexity in applying GAAP. In developing this Statement, the Board considered the need for increased consistency and comparability in fair value measurements and for expanded disclosures about fair value measurements.

Differences between This Statement and Current Practice

The changes to current practice resulting from the application of this Statement relate to the definition of fair value, the methods used to measure fair value, and the expanded disclosures about fair value measurements.

The definition of fair value retains the exchange price notion in earlier definitions of fair value. This Statement clarifies that the exchange price is the price in an orderly transaction between market participants to sell the asset or transfer the liability in the market in which the reporting entity would transact for the asset or liability, that is, the principal or most advantageous market for the asset or liability. The transaction to sell the asset or transfer the liability is a hypothetical transaction at the measurement date, considered from the perspective of a market participant that holds the asset or owes the liability. Therefore, the definition focuses on the price that would be received to sell the asset or paid to transfer the liability (an exit price), not the price that would be paid to acquire the asset or received to assume the liability (an entry price).

This Statement emphasizes that fair value is a market-based measurement, not an entity-specific measurement. Therefore, a fair value measurement should be determined based on the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability. As a basis for considering market participant assumptions in fair value measurements, this Statement establishes a fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between (1) market participant assumptions developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of the reporting entity (observable inputs) and (2) the reporting entity’s own assumptions about market participant assumptions developed based on the best information available in the circumstances (unobservable inputs). The notion of unobservable inputs is intended to allow for situations in which there is little, if any, market activity for the asset or liability at the measurement date. In those situations, the reporting entity need not undertake all possible efforts to obtain information about market participant assumptions. However, the reporting entity must not ignore information about market participant assumptions that is reasonably available without undue cost and effort.

This Statement clarifies that market participant assumptions include assumptions about risk, for example, the risk inherent in a particular valuation technique used to measure fair value (such as a pricing model) and/or the risk inherent in the inputs to the valuation technique. A fair value measurement should include an adjustment for risk if market participants would include one in pricing the related asset or liability, even if the adjustment is difficult to determine. Therefore, a measurement (for example, a “mark-to-model” measurement) that does not include an adjustment for risk would not represent a fair value measurement if market participants would include one in pricing the related asset or liability.

This Statement clarifies that market participant assumptions also include assumptions about the effect of a restriction on the sale or use of an asset. A fair value measurement for a restricted asset should consider the effect of the restriction if market participants would consider the effect of the restriction in pricing the asset. That guidance applies for stock with restrictions on sale that terminate within one year that is measured at fair value under FASB Statements No. 115, Accounting for Certain Investments in Debt and Equity Securities, and No. 124, Accounting for Certain Investments Held by Not-for-Profit Organizations.

This Statement clarifies that a fair value measurement for a liability reflects its nonperformance risk (the risk that the obligation will not be fulfilled). Because nonperformance risk includes the reporting entity’s credit risk, the reporting entity should consider the effect of its credit risk (credit standing) on the fair value of the liability in all periods in which the liability is measured at fair value under other accounting pronouncements, including FASB Statement No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.

This Statement affirms the requirement of other FASB Statements that the fair value of a position in a financial instrument (including a block) that trades in an active market should be measured as the product of the quoted price for the individual instrument times the quantity held (within Level 1 of the fair value hierarchy). The quoted price should not be adjusted because of the size of the position relative to trading volume (blockage factor). This Statement extends that requirement to broker-dealers and investment companies within the scope of the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guides for those industries.

This Statement expands disclosures about the use of fair value to measure assets and liabilities in interim and annual periods subsequent to initial recognition. The disclosures focus on the inputs used to measure fair value and for recurring fair value measurements using significant unobservable inputs (within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy), the effect of the measurements on earnings (or changes in net assets) for the period. This Statement encourages entities to combine the fair value information disclosed under this Statement with the fair value information disclosed under other accounting pronouncements, including FASB Statement No. 107, Disclosures about Fair Value of Financial Instruments, where practicable.

The guidance in this Statement applies for derivatives and other financial instruments measured at fair value under Statement 133 at initial recognition and in all subsequent periods. Therefore, this Statement nullifies the guidance in footnote 3 of EITF Issue No. 02-3, “Issues Involved in Accounting for Derivative Contracts Held for Trading Purposes and Contracts Involved in Energy Trading and Risk Management Activities.” This Statement also amends Statement 133 to remove the similar guidance to that in Issue 02-3, which was added by FASB Statement No. 155, Accounting for Certain Hybrid Financial Instruments.

How the Conclusions in This Statement Relate to the FASB’s Conceptual Framework

The framework for measuring fair value considers the concepts in FASB Concepts Statement No. 2, Qualitative Characteristics of Accounting Information. Concepts Statement 2 emphasizes that providing comparable information enables users of financial statements to identify similarities in and differences between two sets of economic events.

The definition of fair value considers the concepts relating to assets and liabilities in FASB Concepts Statement No. 6, Elements of Financial Statements, in the context of market participants. A fair value measurement reflects current market participant assumptions about the future inflows associated with an asset (future economic benefits) and the future outflows associated with a liability (future sacrifices of economic benefits).

This Statement incorporates aspects of the guidance in FASB Concepts Statement No. 7, Using Cash Flow Information and Present Value in Accounting Measurements, as clarified and/or reconsidered in this Statement. This Statement does not revise Concepts Statement 7. The Board will consider the need to revise Concepts Statement 7 in its conceptual framework project.

The expanded disclosures about the use of fair value to measure assets and liabilities should provide users of financial statements (present and potential investors, creditors, and others) with information that is useful in making investment, credit, and similar decisions—the first objective of financial reporting in FASB Concepts Statement No. 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting by Business Enterprises.

How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting

A single definition of fair value, together with a framework for measuring fair value, should result in increased consistency and comparability in fair value measurements.

The expanded disclosures about the use of fair value to measure assets and liabilities should provide users of financial statements with better information about the extent to which fair value is used to measure recognized assets and liabilities, the inputs used to develop the measurements, and the effect of certain of the measurements on earnings (or changes in net assets) for the period.

The amendments made by this Statement advance the Board’s initiatives to simplify and codify the accounting literature, eliminating differences that have added to the complexity in GAAP.

Costs and Benefits of Applying This Statement

The framework for measuring fair value builds on current practice and requirements. However, some entities will need to make systems and other changes to comply with the requirements of this Statement. Some entities also might incur incremental costs in applying the requirements of this Statement. However, the benefits from increased consistency and comparability in fair value measurements and expanded disclosures about those measurements should be ongoing.

The Effective Date of This Statement

This Statement is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after November 15, 2007, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Earlier application is encouraged, provided that the reporting entity has not yet issued financial statements for that fiscal year, including financial statements for an interim period within that fiscal year.

The provisions of this Statement should be applied prospectively as of the beginning of the fiscal year in which this Statement is initially applied, except as follows. The provisions of this Statement should be applied retrospectively to the following financial instruments as of the beginning of the fiscal year in which this Statement is initially applied (a limited form of retrospective application):

  1. A position in a financial instrument that trades in an active market held by a broker-dealer or investment company within the scope of the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guides for those industries that was measured at fair value using a blockage factor prior to initial application of this Statement

     

  2. A financial instrument that was measured at fair value at initial recognition under Statement 133 using the transaction price in accordance with the guidance in footnote 3 of Issue 02-3 prior to initial application of this Statement

     

  3. A hybrid financial instrument that was measured at fair value at initial recognition under Statement 133 using the transaction price in accordance with the guidance in Statement 133 (added by Statement 155) prior to initial application of this Statement.

     

The transition adjustment, measured as the difference between the carrying amounts and the fair values of those financial instruments at the date this Statement is initially applied, should be recognized as a cumulative-effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings (or other appropriate components of equity or net assets in the statement of financial position) for the fiscal year in which this Statement is initially applied.