The European Union is on a fast track to implement a new transparency obligation directive that would require the more than 600 U.S. securities firms trading on EU exchanges to adapt to new guidelines from the International Accounting Standards Board. IAS 39 is scheduled for implementation next year.

According to the Securities Industry Association (SIA), the directive would require non-EU issuers of securities listed on EU exchanges to produce financial statements and reports prepared under IAS - unless their own domestic law provides "equivalent" standards. It poses a problem not only for U.S.-based issuers but also for South American and Asian-Pacific players.

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