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Bank mergers, equity risk incentives, and CEO stock options

Melissa A. Williams (University of Houston‐Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA)
Timothy B. Michael (University of Houston‐Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA)
Ramesh P. Rao (William S. Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the risk‐incentive effect of CEO stock options in the banking industry.

Design/methodology/approach

For a sample of industrial mergers, Williams and Rao find that the risk‐incentive effect of CEO stock options is associated with higher post‐merger risk. This result indicates that stock options may be effective in mitigating the agency problem of Jensen and Meckling wherein managers take too little risk on behalf of shareholders. The authors extend the method of Williams and Rao to the banking industry. In particular, they are interested in determining whether the same relationship holds for these highly regulated and leveraged firms.

Findings

Using a sample of 131 bank mergers that took place between 1993 and 2002, the authors determine that the risk‐incentive effect of CEO stock options is positively related to the post‐merger level of equity risk. The results of this study also show that the interaction of size and the risk‐incentive effect is negatively related to volatility following the merger, which agrees with the original study.

Originality/value

This paper extends the literature by examining an industry that is largely ignored because of its highly regulated nature.

Keywords

Citation

Williams, M.A., Michael, T.B. and Rao, R.P. (2008), "Bank mergers, equity risk incentives, and CEO stock options", Managerial Finance, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 316-327. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074350810866199

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited