Available for sale

Available for sale (AFS) is an accounting term used to classify financial assets.

AFS is one of the three general classifications, along with held for trading and held to maturity, under United States of America (U.S.) generally accepted accounting principles (US GAAP), specifically, the FAS 133. The IFRS also includes a fourth classification: loans and receivables.

US GAAP Treatment

Under US GAAP AFS assets represent securities and other financial investments held for strategic or tactical business reasons (as opposed to speculative reasons). As such, it is accorded special accounting treatment, under which the gains and losses resulting from marking AFS investments to market (revaluing them to market price / fair value each period) are not included in net income (unlike the gains and losses associated with “trading” investments) but in comprehensive income.

IFRS Treatment

Under IFRS AFS assets are defined as being all financial assets that do not fall into one of the other categories. As such, the treatment closely follows that of US GAAP. Gains or losses from revaluation of the asset are put through a reserve in Shareholders' equity, except to the extent that any losses are assessed as being permanent, and the asset is therefore impaired, under , paragraph 58 or if the asset is sold or otherwise disposed of. If the asset is impaired, sold or otherwise disposed of the revaluation gain or loss implicit in the transaction is recognised as a revenue or expense.

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