The staffs of the SEC and FASB have issued an interpretive release that could permit an increase in the values at which some owners of assets for which no active market exists can carry those assets in their financial statements. This could be of assistance to companies that own assets such as subprime mortgage securities and, over time, could help to ease strains in the financial markets. As the current difficulties have developed, there have been increasing calls to revisit the current fair value accounting requirements, which some believe are unnecessarily exacerbating those difficulties. The legislation that Congress is now considering would mandate such a reconsideration, although the SEC/ FASB staff release (issued September 30, 2008) takes at least a small step in that regard.
The release may be found at http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-234.htm