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Disclaimer language in US banks’ audit committee reports: determinants and consequences

Christine Naaman, Karen Naaman, Najib Sahyoun
Published: 17 December 2021
 by  Emerald

Abstract: Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the determinants and consequences of using disclaimer language in the banks’ audit committee (AC) reports. This study aims to analyze the factors tempting AC members of banks to disclose disclaimer language in the AC reports and the effect of such language on the cost of equity. Design/methodology/approach: The data cover the period from 2006 to 2015 and considers the top US bank holding companies. Voluntary disclosure in the AC report is manually coded by using a scoring grid. Multivariate regression analysis is mainly used in the study. Findings: The findings suggest that the ACs are using the disclaimer language to protect themselves when disclosing a high level of voluntary information that describes their oversight activities or to reduce their liability exposure due to lower financial reporting quality. The findings also reveal that investors are requiring a higher return on their investments whenever ACs use disclaimer language in their reports. Originality/value: The AC report provides useful information to shareholders who evaluate the AC’s performance and accordingly vote for or against AC members on annual basis. The paper sheds lights on the motives and consequences of disclaimer language in the ACs report. Thus, the study benefits shareholders by providing empirical evidence in regard to the usage of disclaimer language. Also, the findings benefit industry, corporate governance organizations, standard setters and regulators that analyze AC disclosures and issue recommendations or new standards for improving those disclosures.
Keywords: Disclaimer language / Audit committee report / US banks / Voluntary disclosures / Earnings management / Cost of equity

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