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Business and Policy Areas
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GASB Issues Technical Bulletin to Improve Derivative Disclosures

May 12, 2003

On April 2, 2003, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued a proposed technical bulletin, “Disclosure Requirements for Derivatives Not Presented at Fair Value on the Statement of Net Assets.” Recently the use of derivative instruments by state and local governments to manage debt and investments has increased. Because derivative instruments are not without risk, the proposed technical bulletin seeks to address adequate disclosure by governments in their financial statements. The proposed guidance clarifies derivative disclosures pending results of the GASB’s project on reporting and measurement of derivatives and hedging activities.

The bulletin applies to derivative instruments that are not reported at fair value on the statement of net assets. In addition to requirements regarding an instrument’s objective, term, and fair value, the proposed accounting guidance requires governments to disclose credit risk, interest rate risk, basis risk, termination risk, rollover risk and market access risk. The increased information is intended to enhance financial statement user’s understanding of the significance of derivatives to a government’s net assets as well as potential exposure to risk that could affect future cash flows. Comments on the proposed technical bulletin are due by May 16, 2003. NACUBO encourages members to write comment letters to the GASB or provide feedback to Sue Menditto, Manager Accounting and Finance Programs (Susan.Menditto@nacubo.org).

Resource Link: The proposed bulletin is available at http://www.gasb.org/.