LONDON (HedgeWorld)–New accounting standards apply with the new year for 7,000 companies listed on Europe’s stock markets, and one authority predicted that the new standards would significantly increase volatility on those markets.
Jeannot Blanchet, a managing director of Morgan Stanley and co-head of their European Global Valuation and Accounting Team, said that many stock analysts are missing the significance of these standards.
“They think that it’s ‘just accounting’ so it doesn’t affect the fundamentals,” he said. But they are wrong, in the opinion of his team. “We think in some cases there will be increased volatility because there will be confusion” among companies that aren’t prepared for the changes, as well as among investors.
The new rules, known as the International Financial Reporting Standards, are the brainchildren of the International Accounting Standards Board (see ). They concern the consolidation of businesses, accounting for convertible debt and the marking to market of employee stock options. Mr. Blanchet thinks the options valuation issue is especially important.
The IFRS doesn’t mandate a particular method of valuation, “some companies will use Black-Scholes, and some will use a binomial model.” The effect, though, of the rules as a whole will be “to force some companies to disclose more of what is going on,” and this may create opportunities for short sellers.
Mr. Blanchet said that he believes transparency is a wise policy and that, in time, Europe’s financial scene will benefit. But “in time” means after a choppy period of between three and five years. “If you’re focusing on hedge funds, that is an eternity.”