Summary of Statement No. 59

Statement No. 59
Financial Instruments Omnibus
(Issued 6/10)

The objective of this Statement is to update and improve existing standards regarding financial reporting and disclosure requirements of certain financial instruments and external investment pools for which significant issues have been identified in practice. This Statement provides for the following amendments:

  • National Council on Governmental Accounting Statement 4, Accounting and Financial Reporting Principles for Claims and Judgments and Compensated Absences, is updated to be consistent with the amendments to GASB Statement No. 53, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Derivative Instruments, regarding certain financial guarantees.
  • Statements No. 25, Financial Reporting for Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Note Disclosures for Defined Contribution Plans, and No. 43, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans, are amended to remove the fair value exemption for unallocated insurance contracts. The effect of this amendment is that investments in unallocated insurance contracts should be reported as interest-earning investment contracts according to the provisions of paragraph 8 of Statement No. 31, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Certain Investments and for External Investment Pools.
  • Statement 31, is clarified to indicate that a 2a7-like pool, as described in Statement 31, is an external investment pool that operates in conformity with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Rule 2a7 as promulgated under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.
  • Statement No. 40, Deposit and Investment Risk Disclosures, is amended to indicate that interest rate risk information should be disclosed only for debt investment pools—such as bond mutual funds and external bond investment pools—that do not meet the requirements to be reported as a 2a7-like pool.
  • Statement 53 is amended to:
    • Clarify that the net settlement characteristic of Statement 53 that defines a derivative instrument is not met by a contract provision for a penalty payment for nonperformance 
    • Provide that financial guarantee contracts included in the scope of Statement 53 are limited to financial guarantee contracts that are considered to be investment derivative instruments entered into primarily for the purpose of obtaining income or profit 
    • Clarify that certain contracts based on specific volumes of sales or service revenues are excluded from the scope of Statement 53 
    • Provide that one of the “leveraged yield” criteria of Statement 53 is met if the initial rate of return on the companion instrument has the potential for at least a doubled yield.
The provisions of this Statement are effective for financial statements for periods beginning after June 15, 2010. Earlier application is encouraged.

How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting

The requirements of this Statement will improve financial reporting by providing more complete information, by improving consistency of measurements, and by providing clarifications of existing standards. Applying the reporting provisions of Statement 31 for interest-earning investment contracts to unallocated insurance contracts improves consistency of investment measurements that are reported by pension and other postemployment benefit plans. Emphasizing the applicability of SEC requirements to 2a7-like external investment pools provides practitioners with improved guidance. Limiting interest rate risk disclosures for investments in mutual funds, external investment pools, and other pooled investments to debt investment pools provides better guidance regarding the applicability of interest rate risk disclosures. Finally, addressing the applicability of Statement 53 to certain financial instruments refines which financial instruments are within the scope of that Statement.

Unless otherwise specified, pronouncements of the GASB apply to financial reports of all state and local governmental entities, including general purpose governments; public benefit corporations and authorities; public employee retirement systems; and public utilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and colleges and universities. Paragraph 2 discusses the applicability of this Statement.