This book focuses on Fair Value Accounting which is a market-based accounting system for determining the value of assets and liabilities. Since the mid-1970's, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the accounting standard setter that derives its informal authority from the Securities an Exchange Commission (SEC), has gradually been moving the nation from an accounting system based entirely on historic cost-based measurements of assets and liabilities to one based in part on fair value. Its basic reasoning is that fair value accounting provides market-based information that is more meaningful to investors. In 2006, FASB released Financial Accounting Standards No. 157, which refined previous fair value directives to further define the concept and clarified how to value instruments. FAS 157 went into effect in late 2007, a period that coincided with the growing severity of the current sub-prime-based financial turmoil. The worsening crisis helped fuel opposition to FAS 157.
Opponents, including insurance firms and banks, argued that FAS 157 and fair value accounting protocol exacerbated the effects of the financial crisis by forcing holders to severely write down distressed or illiquid assets, which were often mortgage-backed securities, to levels far below their "true economic values". This book consists of public domain documents which have been located, gathered, combined, reformatted, and enhanced with a subject index, selectively edited and bound to provide easy access.