Identified asset – 2 Complete with comprehensive examples

Identified asset

a term from IFRS 16 Leases. Let’s see what it is all about….

A lease is a contract, or part of a contract, that conveys the right to use an asset (the underlying asset) for a period of time in exchange for consideration.

The key factors to consider when applying the lease definition are as follows.

Identified asset

1. Specified asset

An asset can be either explicitly specified in a contract (e.g. by a serial number or a specified floor of a building) or implicitly specified at the time it is made available for use by the customer. (IFRS 16.B13, IFRS 16.BC111)

Food for thought – What does ‘implicitly specified’ mean?

An asset is implicitly specified if the facts and circumstances indicate that the supplier can fulfil its obligations only by using a specific asset. This may be the case if the supplier has only one asset that can fulfil the contract. For example, a power plant may be an implicitly specified asset in a power purchase contract if the customer’s facility is in a remote location with no access to the grid, such that the supplier cannot buy the required energy in the market or generate it from an alternative power plant.

In other cases, an asset may be implicitly specified if the supplier owns a number of assets with the required functionality, but only one of those assets can realistically be supplied to the customer within the contracted time-frame – i.e. the supplier does not have a substantive right to substitute an alternative asset to fulfil the contract – see 3.3. For example, a supplier may own a fleet of vessels but only one vessel that is in the required geographic area and not already being used by other customers.

1.1 Capacity portions

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IFRS 10 Special control approach

IFRS 10 Special control approach

– determines which entities are consolidated in a parent’s financial statements and therefore affects a group’s reported results, cash flows and financial position – and the activities that are ‘on’ and ‘off’ the group’s balance sheet. Under IFRS, this control assessment is accounted for in accordance with IFRS 10 ‘Consolidated financial statements’.

Some of the challenges of applying the IFRS 10 Special control approach include:

  • identifying the investee’s returns, which in turn involves identifying its assets and liabilities. This may appear straightforward but complications arise when the legal ownership of assets diverges from the accounting depiction (for example, in financial asset transfers that ‘fail’ de-recognition, and in finance leases). In general, the assessment of the investee’s assets and returns should be consistent with the accounting depiction in accordance with IFRS
  • it may not always be clear whether contracts and other arrangements between an investor and an investee
    • create rights or exposure to a variable return from the investee’s performance for the investor; or
    • transfer risk or variability from the investor to the investee IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the relevant activities of an SPE may not be obvious, especially when its activities have been narrowly specified in its purpose and design IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the rights to direct those activities might also be difficult to identify, because for example, they arise only in particular circumstances or from contracts that are outside the legal boundary of the SPE (but closely related to its activities).

IFRS 10 Special control approach sets out requirements for how to apply the control principle in less straight forward circumstances, which are detailed below:  IFRS 10 Special control approach

  • when voting rights or similar rights give an investor power, including situations where the investor holds less than a majority of voting rights and in circumstances involving potential voting rights
  • when an investee is designed so that voting rights are not the dominant factor in deciding who controls the investee, such as when any voting rights relate to administrative tasks only and the relevant activities are directed by means of contractual arrangements IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • involving agency relationships IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • when the investor has control only over specified assets of an investee
  • franchises. IFRS 10 Special control approach

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Control of an investee

Control of an investee exists when an investor controls an investee as it's exposed, or has rights, to variable returns from its involvement with the investee

Protective rights

Protective rights relate to fundamental changes to the activities of an investee or apply in exceptional circumstances. However, not all rights that apply in exceptional circumstances or are contingent on events are protective. Because protective rights are designed to protect the interests of their holder without giving that party power over the investee to which those rights relate, an investor that holds only protective rights cannot have power or prevent another party from having power over an investee.

De facto agent

A party is a de facto agent when the investor has, or those that direct the activities have, the ability to direct that party to act on the investor’s behalf.

Control over structured entities

Control over structured entitiesControl over structured entities – Although IFRS 10 has no separate guidance on Special Purpose Entities (SPEs), it does have guidance on assessing control over entities for which voting rights do not have a significant effect on returns.

Despite the lack of a definition, entities typically considered to be SPEs in practice normally have some of the characteristics noted in the following table:

Control over structured entities Control over structured entities Control over structured entities

Control over structured entities

Typical features of SPEs

The most widespread use of SPEs is in the financial services industry, in connection with securitisation and other asset-backed financing arrangements. Other common uses include:

  • financial engineering and tax optimisation schemes
  • ring-fencing or sharing the risk of
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Right to control the use of the identified asset in IFRS 16 – Best read

Right to control the use of the identified asset – A contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time if, throughout the period of use, the customer has the right to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from the use of the identified asset and the right to direct the use of the identified asset.

Right to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from use of the identified asset

A customer can obtain economic benefits either directly or indirectly (e.g., using, holding or subleasing the asset). Economic benefits include the asset’s primary outputs (i.e., goods or services) and any by-products (e.g., renewable energy credits that are generated through use … Read more

IFRS 16 Right to direct the use of the identified asset

IFRS 16 Right to direct the use of the identified asset

Requiring a customer to have the right to direct the use of an identified asset is a change from IFRIC 4. A contract may have met IFRIC 4’s control criterion if, for example, the customer obtained substantially all of the output of an underlying asset and met certain price-per-unit-of-output criteria even though the customer did not have the right to direct the use of the identified asset as contemplated by IFRS 16. Under IFRS 16, such arrangements would no longer be considered leases [IFRS 16 B24]

A customer has the right to direct the use of an identified asset throughout the period of use when either: IFRS Read more