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Introduction to IFRS 7 - Financial Instruments: Disclosures

Reasons for issuing the IFRS

1. In recent years, the techniques used by entities for measuring and managing exposure to risks arising from financial instruments have evolved and new risk management concepts and approaches have gained acceptance. In addition, many public and private sector initiatives have proposed improvements to the disclosure framework for risks arising from financial instruments.

2. The International Accounting Standards Board believes that users of financial statements need information about an entity’s exposure to risks and how those risks are managed. Such information can influence a user’s assessment of the financial position and financial performance of an entity or of the amount, timing and uncertainty of its future cash flows. Greater transparency regarding those risks allows users to make more informed judgements about risk and return.

3. Consequently, the Board concluded that there was a need to revise and enhance the disclosures in IAS 30 Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and Similar Financial Institutions and IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Disclosure and Presentation. As part of this revision, the Board removed duplicative disclosures and simplified the disclosures about concentrations of risk, credit risk, liquidity risk and market risk in IAS 32.

Main features of the IFRS

4. IFRS 7 applies to all risks arising from all financial instruments, except those instruments listed in paragraph 3. The IFRS applies to all entities, including entities that have few financial instruments (eg a manufacturer whose only financial instruments are accounts receivable and accounts payable) and those that have many financial instruments (eg a financial institution most of whose assets and liabilities are financial instruments). However, the extent of disclosure required depends on the extent of the entity’s use of financial instruments and of its exposure to risk.

5. The IFRS requires disclosure of:

(a) the significance of financial instruments for an entity’s financial position and performance. These disclosures incorporate many of the requirements previously in IAS 32.

(b) qualitative and quantitative information about exposure to risks arising from financial instruments, including specified minimum disclosures about credit risk, liquidity risk and market risk. The qualitative disclosures describe management’s objectives, policies and processes for managing those risks. The quantitative disclosures provide information about the extent to which the entity is exposed to risk, based on information provided internally to the entity’s key management personnel. Together, these disclosures provide an overview of the entity’s use of financial instruments and the exposures to risks they create.

5A. Amendments to the IFRS, issued in March 2009, require enhanced disclosures about fair value measurementsand liquidity risk. These have been made to address application issues and provide useful information to users.

5B. Disclosures—Transfers of Financial Assets (Amendments to IFRS 7), issued in October 2010, amended the required disclosures to help users of financial statements evaluate the risk exposures relating to transfers of financial assets and the effect of those risks on an entity’s financial position.

5C. In May 2011 the Board relocated the disclosures about fair value measurements to IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement.

6. The IFRS includes in Appendix B mandatory application guidance that explains how to apply the requirements in the IFRS. The IFRS is accompanied by non-mandatory Implementation Guidance that describes how an entity might provide the disclosures required by the IFRS.

7. The IFRS supersedes IAS 30 and the disclosure requirements of IAS 32. The presentation requirements of IAS 32 remain unchanged.

8. The IFRS is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2007. Earlier application is encouraged.

9. Disclosures—Offsetting Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities (Amendments to IFRS 7), issued in December 2011, amended the required disclosures to include information that will enable users of an entity’s financial statements to evaluate the effect or potential effect of netting arrangements, including rights of set-off associated with the entity’s recognised financial assets and recognised financial liabilities, on the entity’s financial position.