Corporate governance, accruals quality and stock returns: evidence from the UK

Sulaiman Mouselli (Lecturer based at the Faculty of Economics, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria)
Riad Abdulraouf (Lecturer based at the Faculty of Economics, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria)
Aziz Jaafar (based at Bangor Business School, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Publication date: 28 January 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the most significant governance provision in enhancing the financial information quality of UK listed firms. In addition, it investigates the influence of this governance provision in explaining stock returns of 20 UK industry portfolios.

Design/methodology/approach

To identify the main governance provision in enhancing the accruals quality, the paper runs regressions of accruals quality variable on the total governance variable, on the governance provisions individually, and on the governance provisions taken together with and without integrating control variables. Next, Asset Pricing tests are employed to examine the capacity of the audit provision, as proved the most influential governance provision on accruals quality, to explain stock returns. The quantitative approach used in the paper enables to investigate the relationship between corporate governance, accruals quality, and stock returns.

Findings

Results indicate that audit provision is the most important governance mechanism affecting accruals quality. In addition, this mechanism is comparable with the book-to-market factor in explaining the time-series variation in portfolios returns. Furthermore, the introduction of the Audit factor to Fama-French model reduces the significance of the size factor and the book-to-market factor in explaining stock returns. This suggests that size and the book-to-market factors contain information related to the audit provision.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the paper carry implications for investors as they do not need to equally weight all corporate governance provisions in their resource allocation decisions. The significant influence of audit provision on accruals quality needs to be taken into consideration when investment decisions are made. Audit factor is important in predicting future returns. It is also found to be as good as book-to-market factor in explaining portfolios returns. Also, the findings have many implications for regulatory bodies in their efforts to enhance financial information quality. Establishing roles for best governance in reducing information risk should focus, among other things, on the significant elements of corporate governance in improving accruals quality. The main limitation of the study is the restricted variation in the Audit governance factor which comes from the source of corporate governance data, i.e. CGQ. Firms in the sample do not exhibit diversified levels of Audit scores. Accordingly, when constructing audit risk factor it was found that firms could only be split into two portfolios according to their Audit scores instead of five.

Originality/value

This study identifies audit provision as the most significant governance mechanism in enhancing the financial information quality of UK listed firms. In addition, a factor representing audit provision is constructed to investigate the influence of this provision on stock returns. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that examines the capacity of the audit provision to explain stock returns in an asset pricing framework.

Keywords

Citation

Mouselli, S., Abdulraouf, R. and Jaafar, A. (2014), "Corporate governance, accruals quality and stock returns: evidence from the UK", Corporate Governance, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 32-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-12-2012-0093

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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