Sunday, April 23, 2006

Do managers who present misleading financial information lose their jobs?

I should hope so ! Here are a couple of interesting studies that find that managers do face consequences from improper or misleading reporting.

Desai, Hogan and Wilkins (The Reputational Penalty for Aggressive Accounting:. Earnings Restatements and Managing Turnover,2005) examine management turnover and the subsequent re-hiring of displaced managers at firms announcing earnings restatements during 1997 or 1998.

In a sample of 146 firms that announced restatements in 1997 and 1998, they find
that at least one senior manager (Chairman, CEO or President) loses his/her job within 24 months of the announcement of the restatement in 60% of the firms. The corresponding rate of turnover among firms of similar size, age and in the same industry is 35%. The significant difference in turnover persists even after controlling for other factors associated with management turnover, such as performance, bankruptcy, and governance characteristics. Moreover, only 17 out of 114 (15%)displaced managers of the sample firms secure a comparable position at another public firm, compared to 17 out of 63 (27%) displaced managers at the control firms.

Livingston(Management-Borne Costs of Fraudulent and Misleading Financial Reporting, 1996) finds that after controlling for firm performance and financial distress, top managers and financial officers are more likely to be dismissed in the years following misleading reporting than in other years. For top executives, an SEC enforcement action has also associated with a higher frequency of turnover.

And here's the best part.
Directors on the board of companies which are found to have committed fraud are penalized too. Fich and Shivdasani (2005) find that upon revelation of fraud, outside directors are less likely to retain their directorships of fraud and non-fraud firms.

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