Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between agency factors and the debt level of Ghanaian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – Generalized least squares model is used to estimate the regression equation. Findings – The results indicate that managerial ownership is negatively related to debt level. This suggests that SMEs with insider shareholders may prefer lower leverage to reduce the risk of insolvency. The results also show that SMEs with many shareholders are less likely to employ debt finance. Firms with many shareholders are not likely to entertain the fear of loss of control since the firm is seen as group‐owned. Originality/value – The findings of this study generally suggest that managerial ownership is important in explaining the capital structure of Ghanaian SMEs. This study extends our understanding of the agency theory and the capital structure of SMEs from the Ghanaian context.
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