Measurement Model or Asset Type: Evidence from an Evaluation of the Relevance of Financial Assets

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Journal Article
Abacus, 2017, 53 (2), pp. 180 - 210
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© 2017 Accounting Foundation, The University of Sydney This study focuses on the operation of the Level 1, 2, and 3 measurement uncertainty hierarchy embedded in the SFAS 157 accounting for financial assets. Prior studies conclude the SFAS 157 fair value measurement model and prevailing financial market conditions are causal factors for the lower value relevance of the Level 3 financial assets. The contribution of our paper is to provide evidence on an additional, hitherto undocumented source of measurement uncertainty impacting the relevance of SFAS 157 financial assets to investors: the type of asset appearing in Level 3 financial assets as a result of asset securitizations and SFAS 140 securitization accounting. The paper also presents evidence that suggests the SFAS 166 amendments were unable to fully address informational transparency for financial assets arising from securitizations. The key contribution is evidentiary insights suggesting the prescribed measurement model has a relatively lower impact on measurement uncertainty and relevance of financial assets compared to the effects of the asset type.
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