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Voluntary adoption of AAOIFI disclosure standards for takaful operators: the role of governance

Fahru Azwa Mohd Zain (Department of Accounting, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin – Kampus Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia)
Wan Amalina Wan Abdullah (Department of Accounting, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin – Kampus Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia)
Majella Percy (Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research

ISSN: 1759-0817

Article publication date: 19 June 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021

881

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to determine the role governance plays in the voluntary adoption of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) Disclosure Standards by Islamic insurance (takaful) operators in the Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a sample of 44 takaful operators in the SEA and the GCC regions. While corporate governance (CG) strength is measured by the use of the frequently examined variables of the board of directors and audit committee, Shari’ah governance strength is measured by the characteristics of the Shari’ah Supervisory Board (SSB). Content analysis is used to extract disclosure items from the 2014 annual reports. Agency theory, stakeholder theory and political economy theory are argued to support the hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that CG strength has a positive and significant effect on the voluntary adoption of AAOIFI Disclosure Standards by takaful operators, indicating that CG plays an important role in the disclosure of information in the annual reports of takaful operators. However, the results show a lack of association between SSB strength and voluntary adoption of AAOIFI Disclosure Standards. Our results suggest that the SSBs may not be as involved as the other CG mechanisms (such as a board of directors and audit committees) in reviewing financial reports. On another note, the level of the political right and civil liberties has a negative and significant effect on the voluntary adoption of AAOIFI Disclosure Standards, providing an indication that stakeholders in a community with greater freedom tend to be more active in pressuring takaful operators to provide more information to justify their existence in the community. Similar to SSB strength, the legal system is also found to have no significant association with the voluntary adoption of the AAOIFI disclosure standards.

Practical implications

This study provides stakeholders with a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the governance role in increasing the transparency of takaful operators by examining the governance factors using a self-constructed disclosure index.

Originality/value

Our study is among the first to provide an in-depth analysis of voluntary adoption of AAOIFI Disclosure Standards for takaful operators in these two regions; therefore, this study has implications for regulators and standard setters. The findings of this study are expected to provide information to regulators and standard setters on the role of governance in improving the transparency of takaful operators.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia for funding this research project through the Research Acculturation Grant Scheme (RAGS) RAGS/1/2014/SS05/UNISZA//1 and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin for the administrative support.

Citation

Mohd Zain, F.A., Wan Abdullah, W.A. and Percy, M. (2021), "Voluntary adoption of AAOIFI disclosure standards for takaful operators: the role of governance", Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 593-622. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIABR-08-2018-0119

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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