A second big bank has adopted market-value accounting for most of its investment portfolio.
Bankers Trust New York Corp. revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has adopted the more conservatives valuation method. J. P. Morgan & Co. last week said it was taking the same route, which has been encouraged by the SEC.
Banks, which traditionally have accounted for most investment securities at amortized cost, argue that market-value accounting could cause earnings to fluctuate wildly from quarter to quarter, confusing investors.
But the Financial Accounting Standards Board is widely expected to adop a market-value accounting rule for ivestments that banks do not expect to hold to maturity.
Bankers Trust, the nation's seventh-largest bank company, categories $5.6 billion of its $6.3 billion investment portfolio as "assets held for sale." FASB is expected to require banks to value such assets at the lower of their historical cost or their current market value.
Banks that adopt the more rigorous method before it is required are showing signs of strength, analysts said.
"The pressure is building, and obviously your two 'investment banks' are leaping out it front." said Arthur Soter, an analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co. " What Morgan and Bankers are trying to do is take leadership."