Information Risk and Fair Values: An Examination of Equity Betas
Edward J. Riedl
Boston University - School of Management
Harvard University - Harvard Business School
January 11, 2011
Journal of Accounting Research, Forthcoming
Using a sample of U.S. financial institutions, we exploit recent mandatory disclosures of financial instruments designated as fair value level 1, 2, and 3 to test whether greater information risk in financial instrument fair values leads to higher cost of capital. We derive an empirical model allowing asset-specific estimates of implied betas, and find evidence that firms with greater exposure to level 3 financial assets exhibit higher betas relative to those designated as level 1 or level 2. We further find that this difference in implied betas across fair value designations is more pronounced for firms with ex ante lower quality information environments: firms with lower analyst following, lower market capitalization, higher analyst forecast errors, or higher analyst forecast dispersion. Overall, the results are consistent with a higher cost of capital for more opaque financial assets, but also suggest that differences in firm’s information environments can mitigate information risk across the fair value designations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: banks, risk, fair value, financial instruments, SFAS 157
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G21, M41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 28, 2009 ; Last revised: January 18, 2011
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