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HMRC internal manual

Corporate Finance Manual

FRS 102: financial instruments: overview

For those applying FRS 102 an accounting policy choice is present:

  • Apply the recognition and measurement requirements of Section 11 and 12
  • Apply the recognition and measurement requirements of IAS 39
  • Apply the recognition and measurement provisions of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (together with IAS 39 as amended for IFRS 9).

Where this manual refers to FRS 102 it should be assumed that this relates to the application of the recognition and measurement requirements of Section 11 and Section 12 of FRS 102 unless otherwise stated.

Section 11 and Section 12 option

Sections 11 and 12 within FRS 102 provide specific guidance on accounting for financial instruments. Section 11 addresses ‘Basic’ financial instruments while Section 12 considers all ‘other’ financial instruments. While Sections 11 and 12 address accounting for financial instruments, there are certain exceptions to their scope including insurance contracts, investments in subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures and leases. Section 12 does however apply, for example, to all derivative financial instruments.

‘Basic’ financial instruments are those considered to have straightforward terms - examples provided in Section 11 include cash, trade debtors, trade creditors and simple bank loans with standard repayment conditions. Such instruments are typically recognised at transaction price and measured on an amortised cost basis. This is largely consistent with Old UK GAAP.

‘Other’ or ‘non-basic’ financial instruments refer to all other financial instruments. In contrast to basic financial instruments ‘other’ financial instruments are typically recognised and subsequently measured at fair value in profit or loss. In particular the following are examples of instruments which will now be held at fair value in accordance with Section 12 of FRS 102:

  • All derivatives (including interest rate swaps; a forward commitment to purchase a commodity that is capable of being cash-settled; options and forward contracts, etc.);
  • Loans that are not plain vanilla debt - where, for example, the amount repayable can vary or where non-standard interest rates are used; and
  • Investments in convertible debt where the return to the holder can vary with the price of the issuer’s equity shares rather than just with market interest rates.

The requirements of Section 12 of FRS 102 represent a significant change from Old UK GAAP (both where FRS 26 has and has not been adopted). It is likely that many more financial instruments will be required to be fair valued under FRS 102 than is currently the case under Old UK GAAP.