Does Fair Value Accounting Provide More Useful Financial Statements Than Current GAAP for Banks?
Posted: 8 Dec 2017 Last revised: 31 Jul 2019
Date Written: November 21, 2017
Standard setters contend fair value accounting yields the most relevant measurement for financial instruments. We examine this claim by comparing the value relevance of banks’ financial statements under fair value accounting with that under current GAAP, which is largely based on historical costs. We find the combined value relevance of book value of equity and income under fair value is less than that under GAAP. We also find fair value income is less value relevant than GAAP income because of the inclusion of transitory unrealized gains and losses in fair value income. More surprisingly, we find book value of equity under fair value is not more value relevant than under GAAP, due both to divergence between exit value and value-in-use and to measurement error in fair value estimates. Overall, our results suggest that financial statements under fair value accounting provide less relevant information for bank valuation than financial statements under current GAAP.
Keywords: fair value, historical cost, financial instrument, bank, value relevance
JEL Classification: G12, G34, M41, M44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation