The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), along with UAE Banks Federation (UBF) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) hosted a special briefing earlier today where a distinguished panel explored the impact of COVID-19 on reporting and auditing for Expected Credit Losses (ECL) under IFRS-9. The special briefing included an exclusive interview with His Excellency Riyad Al-Mubarak, Honorary President, UAE Accountants & Auditors Association (AAA), in which His Excellency shared his experience and highlighted a financial reporting guide issued by the AAA.
Mr Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, welcomed the participants to this special briefing and explained the purpose of the session. “It is very difficult to predict when this COVID-19 induced economic crisis will end. However, providing clarity in the midst of uncertainty is not only necessary but also valued. Moreover, changes in economic conditions should be reflected in the macroeconomic scenarios that are applied by entities and in their weightings. UBF is always keen to be part of similar webinars, which we hope will provide practical solutions for our member banks and finance companies in managing the impact of current economic uncertainty, due to COVID-19 pandemic, on the calculation of ECL, while always remaining compliant with IFRS-9 and promoting consistency in the overall approach,” Mr Saleh said.
In his opening address, Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, highlighted the financial reporting challenges arising due to COVID-19 pandemic. “IFRS-9 has been put to the test during this pandemic as a replacement of its predecessor IAS-39. The COVID-19 crisis and related economic uncertainty present unique and ongoing challenges for auditors. Making fair and timely assessments in today’s unusual and fast-changing environment has become extremely challenging. Auditors will need to obtain evidence of a different nature or form than previously obtained, which may affect how and on what basis they consider the relevance and reliability of that evidence. In light of the economic impacts of COVID-19, new risks may emerge. Professional scepticism has never been more important and will play a key role when it comes to these challenging areas,” Mr Stirewalt said.
Distinguished panellists covered financial reporting, auditing and regulatory perspectives. Panellists included Alexis D'Almedia from Central Bank of the UAE, Asim Rasheed from EmiratesNBD, and Alexis Agathocleous from Deloitte Middle East. The panel discussion was moderated by Philippa Kelly, ICAEW Director, who is based in the UK.
More than 400 professionals including audit partners of DFSA Registered Auditors, ICAEW members, and members of UBF, attended the event. Considering the safety and wellbeing of all participants, this event was hosted virtually.
Michael Armstrong FCA, ICAEW Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, while closing the event said: “We were proud to co-host this briefing with the DFSA and UAE Banks Federation to help bring much needed guidance on the complex judgements necessary to apply IFRS 9 in the current circumstances. Quantifying ECL and credit risk in accordance with IFRS 9 is extremely challenging for financial institutions in the best of times, and has been made all the more complex by the coronavirus-related economic crisis.
“The implications for financial statements not only include the measurement of assets and liabilities but also disclosure. As new information emerges constantly, the cut-off for inclusion of information in a reporting cycle becomes increasingly challenging. Chartered accountants have a major role to play – not just in helping steer businesses through these times but sharing our expertise with governments.”
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