Bankers said the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision this week to relax fair-value accounting rules is a good start, but some said it does not provide enough clarity on how to value distressed securities with no functioning market.

On Tuesday, the regulator issued what it described as a "clarification" of fair-value accounting rules, a move designed to create flexibility for financial companies looking to write down the value of securities in times, such as these, when there is no viable market for those assets. The alteration lets companies use internal models rather than a mandatory mark to market if a fire sale occurs.

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