An analysis of risk management disclosures: Australian evidence
Communication of risk management practices are a critical component of good corporate governance. Research to date has been of little benefit in informing regulators internationally. This paper seeks to contribute to the literature by investigating how listed Australian companies in a setting where disclosures are explicitly required by the ASX corporate governance framework, disclose risk management (RM) information in the corporate governance statements within annual reports.
To address our study’s research questions and related hypotheses, we examine the top 300 ASX-listed companies by market capitalisation at 30 June 2010. For these firms, we identify, code and categorise RM disclosures made in the annual reports according to the disclosure categories specified in Australian Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations (ASX CGPR). The derived data is then examined using a comprehensive approach comprising thematic content analysis and regression analysis.
The results indicate widespread divergence in disclosure practices and low conformance with the Principle 7 of the ASX CGPR. This result suggests that companies are not disclosing all ‘material business risks’ possibly due to ignorance at the board level, or due to the intentional withholding of sensitive information from financial statement users. The findings also show mixed results across the factors expected to influence disclosure behaviour. Notably, the presence of a risk committee (RC) (in particular, a standalone RC) and technology committee (TC) are found to be associated with improved levels of disclosure. we do not find evidence that company risk measures (as proxied by equity beta and the market-to-book ratio) are significantly associated with greater levels of RM disclosure. Also, contrary to common findings in the disclosure literature, factors such as board independence and expertise, audit committee independence, and the usage of a Big-4 auditor do not seem to impact the level of RM disclosure in the Australian context.
- Research limitation/implications
The study is limited by the sample and study period selection as the RM disclosures of only the largest (top 300) ASX firms are examined for the fiscal year 2010. Thus, the finding may not be generalisable to smaller firms, or earlier/later years. Also, the findings may have limited applicability in other jurisdictions with different regulatory environments.
- Practical implications
The study’s findings suggest that insufficient attention has been applied to RM disclosures by listed companies in Australia. These results suggest that the RM disclosures practices observed in the Australian setting may not be meeting the objectives of regulators and the needs of stakeholders.
Despite the importance of risk management communication, it is unclear whether disclosures in annual financial reports achieve this communication. The Australian setting provides an ideal environment to examine the nature and extent of risk management communication as the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has recommended risk management disclosures follow Principle 7 of its principle-based governance rules since 2007.
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|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||Corporate governance, Agency theory, Corporate governance disclosure, Risk management disclosure, Thematic content analysis|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)|
|Divisions:||Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2015 Emerald Group Publishing LImited|
|Deposited On:||11 Dec 2015 01:28|
|Last Modified:||14 Dec 2015 06:18|
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