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Financial Accounting Standards: Investment Portfolios

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The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued its Statement No. 115 to clarify accounting methods and procedures with respect to certain debt and all equity securities. An important part of the statement concerns the distinction between held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, and trading securities.

a. Why does a company maintain an investment portfolio of held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, and trading securities?

b. What factors should be considered in determining whether investments in securities should be classified as held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, and trading?

c. How do these factors affect the accounting treatment for unrealized losses?

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a. A company maintains an investment portfolio of held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, and trading securities because of the different characteristics of the different investment asset components of the portfolio. For example, assets in the held-to-maturity category are, as the ...

Solution Summary

The distinction between the statuses of held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, and trading securities are made.

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Intermediate Financial Accounting: Variable Interest Entity

Discussion Question 1: Veritae, Inc. maintains an investment portfolio for liquidity and to enhance earnings. Included in the investment portfolio is $500,000 in bonds of D'Elegant Home Construction. The company's chief financial officer (CFO), Gaylord Kwame read in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that Moody's just downgraded D'Elegant's bonds because of the slowdown in the housing market. Gaylord wants you to research the current accounting requirements related to declines in the value of investment securities.

Research about accounting requirements of investment securities. Based on your research and understanding, answer the following questions:
- How would you account for the decline of the value of the investment securities required by GAAP?
- Does the treatment of the decline in value differ depending on whether the investment is accounted for as held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, or trading securities? Why or why not?
- If the investment was an equity investment in D'Elegant, how would your answer change?

Discussion Question 2: The decline and fall of Enron and its auditors were well publicized. Enron used special purpose entities (SPEs) to keep from reporting certain liabilities on their balance sheet. You may be surprised to know that their reporting of these entities was consistent with GAAP at that time.

Subsequently, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Interpretation Number 46 (revised December 2003), or FIN 46(R), was issued to address reporting of these types of entities, which are now referred to by the more general name of variable-interest entities (VIEs). This standard requires companies to consolidate VIEs based on risks and rewards rather than percentage ownership.

Research about Enron. Based on your research and understanding, respond to the following:
- Analyze and evaluate whether these guidelines will increase the quality of information investors receive about risks related to VIEs.
- Rationalize and justify your position using Enron or any other company—that either uses or has used SPEs or VIEs—as an example.

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