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FEI positions: how are they developed?

One of FEI's primary missions is "to represent the views of members before regulatory and legislative bodies and the public." Fulfilling this mission often requires the development of a position statement on proposed accounting standards and other regulations or legislation. What is the due process that assures that FEI positions reasonably represent the views of its members? How are FEI positions developed?

The simple answer is that FEI positions are developed by or in close cooperation with members. And before any official FEI position is released, it must be formally approved by an authorized committee representing the membership of FEI.

For many years, FEI has operated with two levels of FEI positions. First, FEI's technical committees are authorized to prepare and distribute position statements on issues that clearly fall within their scope of responsibility, provided that the position is approved by two-thirds of the committee's members. When issued, those statements reflect the views of the committee that has the responsibility and the technical expertise for dealing with the subject at hand, and those statements are presented as official positions of that FEI committee.

If an issue extends beyond the scope of responsibility of a specific comittee, the committee closest to the issue, or an ad hoc committee with representatives from two or more concerned committees, will be charged with drafting a position statement for submission to FEI's Executive Committee. Upon approval by a majority of the Executive Committee, the statement may then be published as an official position of FEI. In both cases, the process is driven by members representing members.

FEI's position on the Financial Fraud Detection and Disclosure Act in 1991 and the Institute's long-time support of federal financial management reform are examples of official FEI positions that received the approval of FEI's Executive Committee.

FEI currently has nine technical committees, each of which focuses on a specific area of concentration of importance to FEI members. These committees are made up of volunteer members who represent the membership at large. Committee members track developments, analyze issues, and study regulatory and legislative proposals from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Congress, federal agencies, and other regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Technical committees normally form subcommittees to track the various issues they follow. As an example, FEI's Committee on Corporate Reporting presently has four standing and sixteen ad hoc and project subcommittees, all staffed by CCR members. During the first half of 1992, CCR, among other things, submitted its comments on three exposure drafts and a discussion memorandum to the FASB, on another three exposure drafts to the International Accounting Standards Committee, and to the AICPA Auditing Standards Board.

Similarly, FEI's Committee on Government Business (CGB) testified before the Cost Accounting Standards Board on the Board's role and mission; the Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA) urged the SEC to keep its investment advisor status for pension fund real estate advisors; and the Committee on Government Liaison (CGL) urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the Product Liability and the Access to Justice Acts. Look at any issue of FEI's Briefing and you will see that all of our technical committees are very active and involved.

This is one way in which FEI works to represent the interests of its members. Committee members contribute generously of their time and effort for the benefit of all members and we owe them a debt of appreciation. I would welcome your comments.

P. Norman Roy President Financial Executives Institute
COPYRIGHT 1992 Financial Executives International
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:From the President; Financial Executives Institute
Author:Roy, P. Norman
Publication:Financial Executive
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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