The main objective of this chapter is to evaluate whether social auditing is applicable to Maltese co-operatives and, if so, to lay out the possible characteristics of…
The main objective of this chapter is to evaluate whether social auditing is applicable to Maltese co-operatives and, if so, to lay out the possible characteristics of such an exercise. The chapter adopts a mixed research methodology with semi-structured interviews being conducted with 14 local experts, and a questionnaire being addressed to 11 Maltese co-operative managers. The findings indicate that the Maltese co-operative identity is as yet emergent and that, consequently, if a social audit is introduced now, controversies would easily arise on the audit’s frequency, publication, scope and composition of the audit team. Nonetheless, a social audit may ultimately be modelled on the Beechwood process and on the reporting indicators of the Euro Co-op Social Reporting Working Party. It would involve the examination of both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of a co-operative, concluding with recommendations for improvement. Furthermore, the exercise would need to be monitored by the Maltese regulator, the Co-operatives Board, and best be conducted regularly, say, every 3 years, by an inter-disciplinary audit team. Therefore, the chapter concludes that the introduction of such a regulatory exercise as part of the Maltese co-operative framework would ultimately be beneficial, ameliorating the co-operative movement. Yet, it is strongly recommended that, prior to its introduction, Maltese co-operatives work further on developing their fundamentals.
This study delves into the determinants and praxis of derivative hedging instruments (DHIs) usage of Malta, a small island state. Empirical evidence is also provided in…
This study delves into the determinants and praxis of derivative hedging instruments (DHIs) usage of Malta, a small island state. Empirical evidence is also provided in relation to the impact of DHI usage and the adoption of a hedge accounting (HA) model in entities’ financial statements. A mixed methodology design is deployed involving: (1) a series of statistical models and tests and (2) seven semi-structured interviews with senior professionals.
The data collected comprise proxy variable values collected from the financial statements of 568 firm-years from 107 Maltese entities between the years 2009 and 2014. Greater likelihood of financial distress, decreasing investment efficiency and increased levels of gearing, are identified as being significant determinants for the use of DHIs. Although DHI usage is low in comparison to larger states, it has been increasing over the period under study.
HA is evidenced to be less popular in Malta, but the study evidences correlation between certain DHIs and HA usage. The quantitative statistical model results in evidence with no significant earnings volatility (EV) or cash flow volatility (CFV) reduction effects through the application of HA. Albeit, the study finds a significant CFV reduction effect emanating from DHI usage, but no corresponding EV reduction effect.
Better education and dissemination of the HA treatment by auditors and regulatory bodies could help propagate the HA treatment, potentially enhancing the EV reduction effectiveness of DHI use. This research provides empirical evidence to substantiate the rationale behind utilising DHIs in smaller island states, especially when coupled with a sound risk management culture.
This study challenges the conventional theoretical approach of the ‘Three Lines of Defence’ Model adopted by most of the Maltese credit institutions. The authors propose a…
This study challenges the conventional theoretical approach of the ‘Three Lines of Defence’ Model adopted by most of the Maltese credit institutions. The authors propose a paradigm shifting conceptualised framework that would alter the corporate governance structures of banks. The objective is to test the feasibility and willingness of credit institutions to adopt such an approach.
This study challenges the current practices of the internal auditing profession and organisations and invites them to evaluate their structures whilst recognising the benefits of adopting a combined assurance function.
In order to test this hypothesis, the authors sought out semi-structured interviews with controllers (Internal Auditors, Risk Managers and Compliance Officers) within Maltese Credit Institutions, varying in size from significant, medium-sized and small institutions; personal from the Malta Financial Services Authority – The regulator, the Big four audit firms and members of the Malta Forum of Internal Auditors, and practitioners working both within and outside the financial industry.
There were two contrasting opinions regarding the suggested proposition. On the one hand, those operating within the credit institutions, as well as the regulator and the external auditors, do not believe that the proposition of integrating risk, compliance and internal audit functions (IAF) in one team would be possible; the reason being that independence, which is the cornerstone of every IAF, would be severely impacted. On the other hand, there were those practitioners working outside the banking industry but with sufficient experience and knowledge in the field, who challenged the traditional concept of independence. They argue that the functions should not be separate from each other because they have much in common.
Four themes emerged from the study: (1) challenges as a concept, (2) benefits, (3) risks and (4) condition for successful implementation. All interviewees, from risk departments, boards, external auditors and regulators agree that a strong, knowledgeable and independent IAF is fundamental to every organisation but more so within the financial industry. Nevertheless, this study revealed two schools of thought that emerged from the findings in relation to the IAF and its regulation, and specifically, when the authors presented the proposition of an integrated function.
In this chapter the authors identified and discussed the most significant barriers faced by cooperative movements in Malta, providing recommendations for potential…
In this chapter the authors identified and discussed the most significant barriers faced by cooperative movements in Malta, providing recommendations for potential solutions. Primary data for this research were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews with a selection of 18 representatives of the small current Maltese cooperative movement, most of whom are active either in individual cooperatives (16) and/or in the cooperative institutions (five).
Findings indicated that the most significant problems are the lack of education and awareness regarding the cooperative movement. These are closely followed by the divide within the movement itself, which is also hindering further development of Maltese cooperatives. Therefore, for the movement to grow and develop, one must first tackle the lack of education and awareness of this business model. Furthermore, in order for the movement to reach its full potential there must be cooperation amongst cooperatives, leading to the appropriate environment for growth.
Through the identification of these significant barriers, targeted action may be recommended and taken so as to reduce, if not eliminate, these barriers and thereby help the Maltese cooperative movement flourish.
This chapter is based on the Annual Report on Public Accounts prepared by the Maltese National Audit Office (NAO), Malta’s Supreme Audit Institution. Its objectives are to…
This chapter is based on the Annual Report on Public Accounts prepared by the Maltese National Audit Office (NAO), Malta’s Supreme Audit Institution. Its objectives are to analyse and classify the reported issues, evaluate their significance and how the findings are reflected in the Public Sector, and assess the adequacy of the communication of these findings through the Annual Report. The research consisted of a qualitative analysis of the Annual Reports for the three years 2007, 2009 and 2011. This analysis was supplemented by unstructured interviews conducted with both NAO and Government officials. Findings report a significant number of issues emerging from different factors. The highest incidence of weaknesses was related to record-keeping and compliance with policies and procedures. Moreover, the interviews with NAO officials showed that the departments were not always taking on board the recommendations made through the Annual Reports, thus indicating a passive attitude towards the reported findings. The results also show that while the Government has its own structures of checks-and-balances to prevent and detect errors, and no internal control system is completely effective, there is still much room for improvement within the Public Sector to ensure that public funds are appropriately utilised. The detection of various issues by the NAO is therefore inevitable, particularly given the complexity and size of the Public Sector. In conclusion, the NAO findings should be more thoroughly examined to reduce the incidence of issues. Furthermore, the way forward should be directed at enhancing the current systems and promoting a more positive relationship between the NAO and auditees.
Although most of the traditional economic theories used to explain investor behaviour assume full investor rationality, experience proves otherwise. In this study, we…
Although most of the traditional economic theories used to explain investor behaviour assume full investor rationality, experience proves otherwise. In this study, we examine a number of important determinants of risk appetite and tolerance, including gender, education and knowledge of financial services and loss aversion. We do this by designing a questionnaire to measure the level of risk appetite and tolerance, together with various demographic characteristics and loss aversion. The survey is administered among a random sample of 1,648 respondents from Turkey. We find that on average men exhibit a higher level of risk appetite and tolerance than women, thus suggesting a clear gender divide in terms of investment behaviour. Furthermore, knowledge of financial services is associated with higher levels of both risk appetite and tolerance, with younger respondents also exhibiting similar patterns of behaviour. By contrast, loss-averse respondents are less open and tolerant of risk, which indicates that behavioural biases such as loss aversion can have a meaningful impact on investment decisions, at odds with traditional models based on rational choice theory. The findings have a number of important implications for investment behaviour and education, including the importance of gender balance within investment committees in order to ensure a more even distribution of risk behaviour, as well as the need to incorporate considerations related to loss aversion in all aspects of policymaking and regulation.
Auditor changes are not alarmingly high in Malta but have been rising of late and the driving forces in this regard could be particular to a small‐island state. This paper…
Auditor changes are not alarmingly high in Malta but have been rising of late and the driving forces in this regard could be particular to a small‐island state. This paper seeks to elicit the perceptions of behavioural, economic or other factors that influence auditor‐client realignments in Malta. It does this mostly by a mail questionnaire responded to by 97 Maltese companies. Such findings were complemented by 15 interviews with companies that actually changed their auditor. The study concludes primarily that behavioural forces provide the principal motivators of auditor changes in Malta. Deterioration in the working relationship with the auditor and lack of accessibility feature as foremost concerns. Economic forces, albeit being important triggers of auditor changes, come only secondary in importance. Underlying this, there is evidence of differences in the attitudes of clients and non‐clients of Big 4 audit firms as well as between small and large companies.
This paper has the objective of identifying the different types of qualifications in auditor's reports of companies in Malta, the extent of multiple and repeated qualifications in such reports and any significant relationships between such main types of qualifications and firm‐specific variables.
The study in this small Mediterranean island is designed to investigate the auditor's reports of 419 companies in the period 1997/2000. This is also complemented by an analysis of 12 interviews held with audit partners in different practices.
Results show that 19.9 per cent of sampled companies had a qualified auditor's report. The most common type of qualification was that of limitation‐on‐scope found in small companies and issued by non‐Big Four audit firms. Small companies were also prone to going concern qualifications in view of their more common net liability situations. Disagreement‐with‐management qualifications were found to be more likely in larger companies and to be mostly issued by Big Four audit firms.
The methodology adopted by the study may also be used in similar future studies in other small states and further research could possibly be undertaken on the motivation behind the issuance of such qualifications.
The study concludes that Maltese companies, which are as yet all required to be audited irrespective of size, have an apparently high rate of audit qualifications and also that the auditor's reports of non‐Big Four audit firms are often deficient or even incompatible with the wording of the International Standards on Auditing.