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August 18, 2008

Banks still lacking transparency

Global banks have demonstrated an increase in fair value disclosures and in the range and depth of structured financial disclosures since the onset of the credit crunch, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Global.

Accounting for Change: Transparency in the Midst of Turmoil reviewed bank disclosure requirements for the three areas most affected by market events: fair value, structured finance and risk management. It also benchmarked current findings against the corresponding 2006 report.

The report suggested that although banks have expanded their disclosures in areas most impacted by the credit crunch, the increase has not achieved the level of transparency that report users are demanding.

The report also suggested the implementation of IFRS 7 – Financial Instruments: Disclosures and the US fair value measurement standard, combined with the fallout from the market turmoil, had a positive impact on the nature and extent of fair value disclosures. However, IFRS 7 did not improve the transparency of risk management disclosures.

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