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Accounting standards and information: inferences from cross-listed financial firms

  • John Ammer
  • Nathanael Clinton
  • Gregory P. Nini
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    Publicly traded financial firms within the European Union will be required to adhere to International Accounting Standards (IAS) in their financial reporting beginning in 2005, which can entail a higher degree of financial disclosure than was previously mandated under national accounting standards. A number of European financial firms had previously subjected themselves to additional disclosure by listing their stock on U.S. exchanges, which obligates them to reconcile their financial accounts to U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Among national accounting systems, U.S. GAAP is considered to be both among the strictest and the most similar to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). To test whether U.S. GAAP reconciliation effectively enhances disclosure, we examine several measures of transparency for the cross-listed firms, relative both to pre-listing measures and to a control sample of firms that have not cross-listed. Our measures include bid-ask spreads, earnings forecast errors, analyst coverage, dispersion in earnings expectations, and disagreement between Moody’s and S&P’s bond ratings. We find evidence that cross-listing increases transparency in at least some cases. Our cross-sectional results also distinguish a handful of European financial firms that had already adopted IFRS before the European Commission announced that IAS would be required in the near future, with results similar to those of the cross-listed firms. Accordingly, to the extent that commitment to increased transparency has been a motivation for cross-listing, the adoption of IAS in Europe may reduce the incentives for European firms to cross-list in the United States.

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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2005/843/default.htm
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2005/843/ifdp843.pdf
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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 843.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:843
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    1. Doidge, Craig & Karolyi, G. Andrew & Stulz, Rene M., 2004. "Why are foreign firms listed in the U.S. worth more?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 205-238, February.
    2. Christian Leuz, 2003. "IAS Versus U.S. GAAP: Information Asymmetry-Based Evidence from Germany's New Market," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 445-472, 06.
    3. Flannery, Mark J. & Kwan, Simon H. & Nimalendran, M., 2004. "Market evidence on the opaqueness of banking firms' assets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 419-460, March.
    4. Lawrence R. Glosten & Paul R. Milgrom, 1983. "Bid, Ask and Transaction Prices in a Specialist Market with Heterogeneously Informed Traders," Discussion Papers 570, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    5. Harris, Mary S. & Muller III, Karl A., 1999. "The market valuation of IAS versus US-GAAP accounting measures using Form 20-F reconciliations1," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-3), pages 285-312, January.
    6. Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1315-35, November.
    7. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
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