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Governance and risk-taking in conventional and Islamic banks

Siew Peng Lee (Faculty of Accountancy and Management, University of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kajang, Malaysia)
Mansor Isa (Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Rubi Ahmad (Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha (International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 23 December 2020

Issue publication date: 22 April 2021




The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of the board and risk committee in respect of risk-taking in conventional and Islamic banks in Malaysia.


This study uses unbalanced panel data for 15 conventional and 14 Islamic banks over the period 2007–2016. The generalised least squares random effects technique is applied.


The evidence shows that independent directors and frequency of board meetings reduce risk-taking but that the number of directors with finance and banking experience and those with multiple directorships tend to increase risk-taking. The findings also indicate that the size of the risk committee, the number of directors on the risk committee and the appointment of a designated risk officer tends to reduce risk-taking in banks. By comparing conventional and Islamic banks, the findings show that Islamic banks have lower exposure to portfolio risk but higher insolvency risk.

Practical implications

The findings in this study suggest that the board and risk committee have an impact on bank risk-taking. The implications for management include having more independent directors, fewer directors with multiple board memberships and having an efficient risk committee in order to reduce risks. Regulators should look into the issue of multiple directorships as this is positively related to risk-taking. Islamic banks should expand their operations as our findings indicate that bigger banks are better able to manage risk.


This study covers bank governance and risk committee, which are crucial in influencing the risk-taking behaviour of conventional and Islamic banks.



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from Malaysia's Ministry of Higher Education UM-INCEIF grant for Islamic finance and banking research.


Lee, S.P., Isa, M., Ahmad, R. and Bacha, O.I. (2021), "Governance and risk-taking in conventional and Islamic banks", Managerial Finance, Vol. 47 No. 5, pp. 703-722.



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