Beyond Economics: The U.S. Recognition of International Financial Reporting Standards as an International Subdelegation of the SEC’s Rulemaking Authority
A final rule promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2008 allowing foreign private securities issuers to prepare SEC-required financial disclosures under international financial reporting standards (IFRS) as promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is a highly significant event for U.S. and global capital markets. However, surprisingly few questions have been asked regarding the SEC’s legal authority to take such an unprecedented step.
This Note assesses the recent SEC action with regard to IASB from two perspectives—traditional administrative law, with particular emphasis on delegations by government entities to private parties, and international law, with particular emphasis on the ability of a national government to delegate some portion of its sovereignty to international bodies. This Note concludes that the SEC does not currently possess the authority necessary to recognize IASB as an official accounting standard-setter, and that Congress must take the lead on any proposed agency action which would function as an international delegation of authority.