Under the fair value standards, the fair value of a liability is based on the price to transfer the obligation to a market participant at the measurement date, assuming the liability will live on in its current form. Even though most liabilities restrict their transfer, fair value should not be adjusted for such restrictions to the liability. However, in the absence of an observable market for the transfer of a liability, the fair value standards require that preparers consider the value of the corresponding asset held by a market participant, if applicable, when measuring the liability’s fair value.
The Basis for Conclusions of ASU 2011-04
and IFRS 13 noted this concept.
Excerpt from Basis for Conclusions of ASU 2011-04, para BC33 and IFRS 13.BC 88
… in the boards’ view, the fair value of a liability equals the fair value of a properly-defined corresponding asset (that is, an asset whose features mirror those of the liability), assuming an exit from both positions in the same market.
The Boards believe that fair value from the viewpoint of investors and issuers should be the same in an efficient market, otherwise arbitrage would result. They considered whether these different viewpoints could result in different fair values because the asset is liquid but the liability is not. The asset holder could easily sell the asset to another party, whereas the liability will be more difficult to transfer to another party. The Boards decided that there was no conceptual reason why a different fair value should result, given that both parties are measuring the same instrument with identical contractual terms in the same market.
and IFRS 13.45 state that there should be no separate inputs or adjustments to existing inputs for restrictions on transfer of liabilities in the measurement of fair value. Paragraph BC37 of ASU 2011-04
and IFRS 13.BC100 indicate that the Boards had two reasons for this guidance. First, restrictions on the transfer of a liability relate to the performance of the obligation whereas restrictions on the transfer of an asset relate to its marketability. Second, nearly all liabilities include a restriction on transfer, whereas most assets do not. As a result, the effect of a restriction on transfer of a liability would theoretically be the same for all liabilities. This differs from the treatment of assets with restrictions. See FV 4.8
The fair value of the liability may not be the same as the fair value of the corresponding asset in certain circumstances, such as when the pricing includes a bid-ask spread. In such cases, the liability should be valued based on the price within the bid-ask spread that is most representative of fair value for the liability, which may not necessarily be the same as the price within the bid-ask spread that is most representative of fair value for the corresponding asset.
and IFRS 13.37 address the situation in which a quoted price for the transfer of an identical or similar liability or instrument classified in a reporting entity’s shareholder’s equity is not available and the identical item is not held by another party as an asset. In that case, the reporting entity should measure fair value using a valuation technique from the perspective of a market participant that owes the liability or has issued the claim on equity.