Initial and Subsequent Measurement of Financial Assets and Liabilities

14/09/2022 0 By indiafreenotes


A financial asset or financial liability is measured initially at fair value. Subsequent measurement depends on the category of financial instrument. Some categories are measured at amortised cost, and some at fair value. In limited circumstances other measurement bases apply, for example, certain financial guarantee contracts.

The following are measured at amortised cost:

  • Held to maturity investments—non-derivative financial assets that the entity has the positive intention and ability to hold to maturity;
  • loans and receivables—non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market; and
  • Financial liabilities that are not carried at fair value through profit or loss or otherwise required to be measured in accordance with another measurement basis.

The following are measured at fair value:

  • Financial assets and financial liabilities held for trading—this category includes derivatives not designated as hedging instruments and financial assets and financial liabilities that the entity has designated for measurement at fair value. All changes in fair value are reported in profit or loss.
  • Available for sale financial assets—all financial assets that do not fall within one of the other categories. These are measured at fair value. Unrealised changes in fair value are reported in other comprehensive income. Realised changes in fair value (from sale or impairment) are reported in profit or loss at the time of realisation.

Initial measurement

Initially, financial assets and liabilities should be measured at fair value (including transaction costs, for assets and liabilities not measured at fair value through profit or loss). [IAS 39.43]

Measurement subsequent to initial recognition

Subsequently, financial assets and liabilities (including derivatives) should be measured at fair value, with the following exceptions: [IAS 39.46-47]

  • Loans and receivables, held-to-maturity investments, and non-derivative financial liabilities should be measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method.
  • Investments in equity instruments with no reliable fair value measurement (and derivatives indexed to such equity instruments) should be measured at cost.
  • Financial assets and liabilities that are designated as a hedged item or hedging instrument are subject to measurement under the hedge accounting requirements of the IAS 39.
  • Financial liabilities that arise when a transfer of a financial asset does not qualify for derecognition, or that are accounted for using the continuing-involvement method, are subject to particular measurement requirements.

Fair value is the amount for which an asset could be exchanged, or a liability settled, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction. [IAS 39.9] IAS 39 provides a hierarchy to be used in determining the fair value for a financial instrument: [IAS 39 Appendix A, paragraphs AG69-82]

  • Quoted market prices in an active market are the best evidence of fair value and should be used, where they exist, to measure the financial instrument.
  • If a market for a financial instrument is not active, an entity establishes fair value by using a valuation technique that makes maximum use of market inputs and includes recent arm’s length market transactions, reference to the current fair value of another instrument that is substantially the same, discounted cash flow analysis, and option pricing models. An acceptable valuation technique incorporates all factors that market participants would consider in setting a price and is consistent with accepted economic methodologies for pricing financial instruments.
  • If there is no active market for an equity instrument and the range of reasonable fair values is significant and these estimates cannot be made reliably, then an entity must measure the equity instrument at cost less impairment.

Amortised cost is calculated using the effective interest method. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments or receipts through the expected life of the financial instrument to the net carrying amount of the financial asset or liability. Financial assets that are not carried at fair value though profit and loss is subject to an impairment test. If expected life cannot be determined reliably, then the contractual life is used.

IAS 39 fair value option

IAS 39 permits entities to designate, at the time of acquisition or issuance, any financial asset or financial liability to be measured at fair value, with value changes recognised in profit or loss. This option is available even if the financial asset or financial liability would ordinarily, by its nature, be measured at amortised cost but only if fair value can be reliably measured.

In June 2005 the IASB issued its amendment to IAS 39 to restrict the use of the option to designate any financial asset or any financial liability to be measured at fair value through profit and loss (the fair value option). The revisions limit the use of the option to those financial instruments that meet certain conditions: [IAS 39.9]

  • The fair value option designation eliminates or significantly reduces an accounting mismatch, or
  • A group of financial assets, financial liabilities or both is managed and its performance is evaluated on a fair value basis by entity’s management.

IAS 39 available for sale option for loans and receivables

IAS 39 permits entities to designate, at the time of acquisition, any loan or receivable as available for sale, in which case it is measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognised in equity.


A financial asset or group of assets is impaired, and impairment losses are recognised, only if there is objective evidence as a result of one or more events that occurred after the initial recognition of the asset. An entity is required to assess at each balance sheet date whether there is any objective evidence of impairment. If any such evidence exists, the entity is required to do a detailed impairment calculation to determine whether an impairment loss should be recognised. [IAS 39.58] The amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset’s carrying amount and the present value of estimated cash flows discounted at the financial asset’s original effective interest rate. [IAS 39.63]

Assets that are individually assessed and for which no impairment exists are grouped with financial assets with similar credit risk statistics and collectively assessed for impairment. [IAS 39.64]

If, in a subsequent period, the amount of the impairment loss relating to a financial asset carried at amortised cost or a debt instrument carried as available-for-sale decreases due to an event occurring after the impairment was originally recognised, the previously recognised impairment loss is reversed through profit or loss. Impairments relating to investments in available-for-sale equity instruments are not reversed through profit or loss. [IAS 39.65]