United States

Reporting fiduciary activities

FINANCIAL REPORTING INSIGHTS  | 

Governments currently are required to report fiduciary activities in fiduciary fund financial statements. However, because existing standards are not explicit about what constitutes a fiduciary activity for accounting and financial reporting purposes, there is variation in practice with respect to identifying and reporting fiduciary activities. To improve guidance regarding the identification of fiduciary activities for accounting and financial reporting purposes and how those activities should be reported, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board recently issued Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities.

Statement No. 84 establishes criteria for identifying fiduciary activities of all state and local governments. The focus of the criteria generally is on (a) whether a government is controlling the assets of the fiduciary activity and (b) the beneficiaries with whom a fiduciary relationship exists. Separate criteria are included to identify fiduciary component units and postemployment benefit arrangements that are fiduciary activities.

An activity meeting the criteria should be reported in a fiduciary fund in the basic financial statements. Governments with activities meeting the criteria should present a statement of fiduciary net position and a statement of changes in fiduciary net position. The Statement describes four fiduciary funds that should be reported, if applicable:

  • Pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds
  • Investment trust funds
  • Private-purpose trust funds
  • Custodial funds, which generally should report fiduciary activities that are not held in a trust or equivalent arrangement that meets specific criteria

Statement No. 84 is effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018.