Since the financial crisis of 2008, legislation and rules affecting the financial market in Iceland have been strengthened considerably. Tougher capital requirements…
Since the financial crisis of 2008, legislation and rules affecting the financial market in Iceland have been strengthened considerably. Tougher capital requirements, detailed and frequent reporting, more thorough fit-and-proper tests, barriers to connected lending and strict limits on bonus payments are but a few examples. Similarly, the supervision of banks has been upgraded markedly. It is now much more intrusive and forward-looking than before, that is, it is more focused on governance and the business model. Many of these reforms are based on international initiatives, such as the Basel III standard, while others are particular to Iceland. The main objective of these reforms is to strengthen the resilience of the banking sector and limit the negative effects on consumers of harmful enterprise incentives. Trust in the financial system collapsed as a consequence of the crisis but is recovering only slowly. This apparent lack of confidence is reflected only to a limited extent in firms’ and households’ willingness to seek banking services. This raises the questions of how to appropriately measure trust, and what factors influence it. Iceland may turn out to be an interesting natural experiment in this respect. It has a unique record of prosecuting and sentencing bankers for offences that are hardly worthy of administrative fines in some other countries – but whether strict accountability is the recipe for rebuilding trust remains to be seen.
The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical insight into the impact of a financial crisis on capital structure of private firms. Specifically, the authors use the…
The purpose of this paper is to provide empirical insight into the impact of a financial crisis on capital structure of private firms. Specifically, the authors use the example of the systemic Icelandic financial crisis from 2008 to 2010 and analyze the influence of internally generated funds on leverage during the financial crisis compared to the non-crisis period.
The authors use a fixed-effects dynamic model to examine the impact of internally generated funds – measured as cash flow – with a data set that includes non-listed Icelandic firms. In addition, generalized method of moments is used to address potential endogeneity issues.
The authors find that internally generated funds have a different effect on capital structure during the financial crisis compared to the non-crisis period. While cash flow has an overall negative association with leverage, a positive relationship appears to exist during the crisis. However, when analyzing changes in cash flow from one year to the other, the sample firms appear to rely more on internally generated funds to adjust leverage during the financial crisis than in the non-crisis period.
Analyzing the extreme case of the Icelandic financial crisis allows us to shed light on capital structure effects in situations when both debt financing and internal financing opportunities are heavily curtailed.