Duff & Phelps Roundtable Focuses on Hedge Fund-Specific Valuation, Accounting and Regulatory Issues
Hedge Fund Law Report
On January 28, 2010, Duff & Phelps Corp., the financial advisory and investment banking firm, hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of fair value accounting. The panel consisted of Warren Hirschhorn, a Managing Director in the New York office of Duff & Phelps and the global head of its Portfolio Valuation practice, and David Larsen, Managing Director in the San Francisco office and a member of the Portfolio Valuation practice. They reviewed the history of mark-to-market accounting, both before and since the promulgation of Standards of Financial Accounting Statement (FAS) 157 in September 2006, while seeking to correct mischaracterizations of that document; surveyed developments in accounting standards in late 2009 that may not yet have received sufficient attention from affected entities; outlined differences between the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and its London-based counterpart, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB); discussed the degree to which the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) have or may converge; covered the question of “sensitivity analysis” (an analysis of the degree to which different assumptions about “inputs” may affect valuations), and whether such analysis should be mandated as part of either IFRS or GAAP; and briefly analyzed pending regulatory issues in Europe and the U.S. This article summarizes the key points discussed at the conference on each of the foregoing topics.