Inner reserves, which allow banks to report a higher or lower earnings at managerial discretion, bring into focus the ability of the market to make an informed judgment of banks' performance. This study examines the market response to the disclosure and elimination of inner reserves by Hong Kong banks resulting from a change in the regulatory reporting system. Test results show that despite a significant increase in the variability of bank earnings in the post-compared to the pre-disclosure period, there is no evidence of a significant increase in banks' systematic risk in the post-disclosure period. Earnings-returns association is significantly stronger in the post- than in the pre-disclosure period, indicating an improvement in the value relevance of reported earnings. Disclosure of inner reserve transfer is found to provide incremental information over reported earnings over a short disclosure window. These results suggest that the increased value relevance of earnings outweighs the costs of inner reserve cancellation, thus supporting greater reporting transparency for Hong Kong banks.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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