KBW: Two-thirds of investors oppose FASB accounting proposal
Two-thirds of investors oppose a series of new bank accounting proposals from the Financial Accounting Standards Board, according to a survey from the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Greenwich Associates. One of the key changes in the proposal would require banks to report the estimated fair value of most loans on their books alongside the current cost accounting valuations. According to the survey of 62 U.S. institutional investors, only one in five favor the proposed changes. Despite the survey results, many still believe current accounting standards are inadequate and need revision. In August, the Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to FASB saying the proposals would increase the complexity in financial statements, which would make regulation more difficult. The investors surveyed by KBW believe the mark-to-market valuations would not help their decision making because fair market values of such infrequently traded loans on banks' books would not be reliable. Nearly 45% say the mark-to-market rules would force them to reduce their investments in U.S. banks. "The fact that U.S. institutional investors overwhelmingly oppose the ?fair value proposals should give FASB board members cause to rethink ?their approach," Don Raftery, a Greenwich Associates consultant, said. The investors preferred changes that would increase transparency and provide more disclosure on specific bank portfolio holdings. Write to Jon Prior.