It looks like, finally, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is going to relax that “mark to market” rules that have been one of the major impediments to (and cause of) the bank credit crisis. On the whole, I think it’s a good move. If banks aren’t forced to artificially peg the value of their assets to the results of one transaction, they’ll be better able to value them based on the performance of the loans that underlie the assets.
I find it interesting that Reuters couldn’t find anyone to quote in favor of relaxing the rules, though they found at least four different people who want the rules to stay as it is and were willing to issue dire warnings of fiscal armageddon if they changed. It’s not like there aren’t articulate opponents of mark to market out there. It took me about five minutes with Google to find two (and those two quoted others).
Reuters clearly biased its article in favor of the rules, but I can’t figure out why. The normal divisions (Democrat v. Republican, Corporation v. Peasant, Statist v. Freedom) don’t really seem to apply here. But lets you doubt that Reuters is squarely on the side of keeping all the rules in place, read the first paragraph of this alleged news story.
Why the bias? Got me. Maybe the crew there just can’t help themselves. Maybe they’ve forgotten how to write a straight news story.