Examining corporate governance disclosures of listed companies in Fiji

Finau, Glen, Samuwai, Jale, Prasad, Acklesh, & Hasan, Ezaaz (2014) Examining corporate governance disclosures of listed companies in Fiji. Journal of Pacific Studies, 34, pp. 23-46.

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In 2009, the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA) - Fiji’s capital market regulator - introduced the Code of Corporate Governance (the Code). The Code is ‘principle-based’ and requires companies listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) and the financial intermediaries to disclose their compliance with the Code’s principles. While compliance with the Code is mandatory, the nature and extent of disclosure is at the discretion of the complying entities. Agency theory and signalling theory suggest that firms with higher expected levels of agency costs will provide greater levels of voluntary disclosures as signals of strong corporate governance. Thus, the study seeks to test these theories by examining the heterogeneity of corporate governance disclosures by firms listed on SPSE, and determining the characteristics of firms that provide similar levels of disclosures. We conducted a content analysis of corporate governance disclosures on the annual reports of firms from 2008-2012. The study finds that large, non-family owned firms with high levels of shareholder dispersion provide greater quantity and higher quality corporate governance disclosures. For firms that are relatively smaller, family owned and have low levels of shareholder dispersion, the quantity and quality of corporate governance disclosures are much lower. Some of these firms provide boilerplate disclosures with minimal changes in the following years. These findings support the propositions of agency and signalling theory, which suggest that firms with higher separation between agents and principals will provide more voluntary disclosures to reduce expected agency costs transfers. Semi-structured interviews conducted with key stakeholders further reinforce the findings. The interviews also reveal that complying entities positively perceive the introduction of the Code. Furthermore, while compliance with Code brought about additional costs, they believed that most of these costs were minimal and one-off, and the benefits of greater corporate disclosure to improve user decision making outweighed the costs. The study contributes to the literature as it provides insight into the experience of a small capital market with introducing a ‘principle-based’ Code that attempts to encourage corporate governance practices through enhanced disclosure. The study also assists policy makers better understand complying entities’ motivations for compliance and the extent of compliance.

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ID Code: 73616
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Voluntary Disclosures, Publicly Listed Entities, Fiji, Signalling Theory
ISSN: 1011-3029
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Accounting Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified (150199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2014 00:53
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2014 08:04

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