The need to improve financial instrument risk disclosures became apparent during the 2007–09 financial crisis. CFA Institute undertook a study for the quality of financial instrument risk disclosures across financial and non-financial institutions.
The CFA Institute study (1) evaluates the findings of various pieces of literature and their conclusions regarding the usefulness of risk disclosures; (2) obtains, through user surveys and interviews, feedback on the importance of, satisfaction with, and application and usefulness of current financial risk disclosures; and (3) reviews risk disclosures in annual reports of financial and non-financial institutions and constructs a disclosure quality index (DQI) to place in context the user feedback obtained. The study triangulates these sources of information in order to analyse and convey user perspectives on IFRS 7 disclosures. As discussed in Section 3, the study’s findings show that risk disclosures are both widely used and regarded as important by users. However, users have a low level of satisfaction with such disclosures owing to the following general shortcomings:
- Risk disclosures are difficult to understand because of their incomplete nature and often-fragmentary presentation. Identifying key information in risk disclosures can sometimes be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
- Qualitative disclosures are uninformative and are often not aligned with quantitative disclosures.
- Users have low confidence in the reliability of quantitative disclosures.
- Disclosures have low consistency and comparability.
- Top-down, integrated messaging on overall risk management is missing.