Statement No. 93
Replacement of Interbank Offered Rates
Some governments have entered into agreements in which variable payments made or received depend on an interbank offered rate (IBOR)—most notably, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). As a result of global reference rate reform, LIBOR is expected to cease to exist in its current form at the end of 2021, prompting governments to amend or replace financial instruments for the purpose of replacing LIBOR with other reference rates, by either changing the reference rate or adding or changing fallback provisions related to the reference rate.
Statement No. 53, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Derivative Instruments, as amended, requires a government to terminate hedge accounting when it renegotiates or amends a critical term of a hedging derivative instrument, such as the reference rate of a hedging derivative instrument’s variable payment. In addition, in accordance with Statement No. 87, Leases, as amended, replacement of the rate on which variable payments depend in a lease contract would require a government to apply the provisions for lease modifications, including remeasurement of the lease liability or lease receivable.
The objective of this Statement is to address those and other accounting and financial reporting implications that result from the replacement of an IBOR. This Statement achieves that objective by:
- Providing exceptions for certain hedging derivative instruments to the hedge accounting termination provisions when an IBOR is replaced as the reference rate of the hedging derivative instrument’s variable payment
- Clarifying the hedge accounting termination provisions when a hedged item is amended to replace the reference rate
- Clarifying that the uncertainty related to the continued availability of IBORs does not, by itself, affect the assessment of whether the occurrence of a hedged expected transaction is probable
- Removing LIBOR as an appropriate benchmark interest rate for the qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of an interest rate swap
- Identifying a Secured Overnight Financing Rate and the Effective Federal Funds Rate as appropriate benchmark interest rates for the qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of an interest rate swap
- Clarifying the definition of reference rate, as it is used in Statement 53, as amended
The removal of LIBOR as an appropriate benchmark interest rate is effective for reporting periods ending after December 31, 2021. All other requirements of this Statement are effective for reporting periods beginning after June 15, . Earlier application is encouraged.The exceptions to the existing provisions for hedge accounting termination and lease modifications in this Statement will reduce the cost of the accounting and financial reporting ramifications of replacing IBORs with other reference rates. The reliability and relevance of reported information will be maintained by requiring that agreements that effectively maintain an existing hedging arrangement continue to be accounted for in the same manner as before the replacement of a reference rate. As a result, this Statement will preserve the consistency and comparability of reporting hedging derivative instruments and leases after governments amend or replace agreements to replace an IBOR.
How the Changes in This Statement Will Improve Financial Reporting
The requirements of this Statement will enhance comparability in the application of accounting and financial reporting requirements and will improve the consistency of authoritative literature. More comparable reporting will improve the usefulness of information for users of state and local government financial statements.
How the Board Considered Costs and Benefits in the Development of This Statement
One of the principles guiding the Board’s setting of standards for accounting and financial reporting is the assessment of the expected benefits and perceived costs. The Board strives to determine that its standards address significant user needs and that the costs incurred through the application of its standards, compared with possible alternatives, are justified when compared to the expected overall public benefit. The Board believes that the expected benefits that will result from the information provided through implementation of this Statement—maintaining reliability, relevance, consistency, and comparability with regard to the replacement of IBORs—are significant and justify the perceived costs of implementation and ongoing compliance. The Board believes that the exceptions to the hedge accounting termination provisions and the lease modifications guidance, and the clarification that reference rate uncertainty per se does not affect the probability that an expected transaction will occur, will reduce costs for governments and facilitate governments’ transition from IBORs. To reduce the complexity and, thereby, the costs of implementing this Statement, and to further facilitate the transition from IBORs, the removal of LIBOR as an appropriate benchmark interest rate is effective after the other provisions of this 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.