Accounting for derivatives: an evaluation of reporting practice by UK banks

Margaret Woods, David E.W. Marginson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1998 the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) published FRS 13, ‘Derivatives and other Financial Instruments: Disclosures’. This laid down the requirements for disclosures of an entity’s policies, objectives and strategies in using financial instruments, their impact on its risk, performance and financial condition, and details of how risks are managed.
FRS 13 became effective in March 1999, and this paper uses the 1999 annual reports of UK banks to evaluate the usefulness of disclosures from a user’s perspective. Usefulness is measured in terms of the criteria of materiality, relevance, reliability, comparability and understandability as defined in the ASB’s Statement of Principles (ASB, 1999). Our findings suggest that the narrative disclosures are generic in nature, the numerical data incomplete and not always comparable, and that it is difficult for the user to combine both narrative and numerical information in order to assess the banks’ risk profile. Our overall conclusion is therefore that current UK financial reporting practices are of limited help to users wishing to assess the scale of an institution’s financial risk exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-390
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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