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Voluntary disclosure of real options: When and how it can be done

Research in Finance

ISBN: 978-1-84855-446-7, eISBN: 978-1-84855-447-4

ISSN: 0196-3821

Publication date: 27 February 2009


It is fundamental to good governance that corporate decision makers be well informed, have the knowledge-base necessary to use the information effectively, and share the same motivations as the owners. Further, managers must provide owners with accurate, timely, and complete disclosure of the company's positions. Regarding the first part of the problem, value-based incentive systems have been under development in order to aid in resolving conflicts of interest between owners who lack the specific information (or the background knowledge to utilize it) and the managers who act as their agents. Such systems often focus exclusively upon cash flows relative to resource investment; yet, share values are often substantially greater than the amount that could be explained by expected cash flows from existing operations. Indeed, in some firms the majority of share value may derive from growth opportunities or other real options that add flexibility or reduce risk. So, value-based incentive systems could be improved by explicitly rewarding actions that create or enhance the firm's real options. Further, satisfactory disclosure requires that accounting reports include adequate information about the firm's real options, with market-based mechanisms for defining the necessary information and calling it into the appropriate arena.


Chen, A.H., Conover, J.A. and Kensinger, J.W. (2009), "Voluntary disclosure of real options: When and how it can be done", Chen, A.H. (Ed.) Research in Finance (Research in Finance, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 127-157.



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