Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis

34 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2009  

Rüdiger Fahlenbrach

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

René M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Date Written: August 2009

Abstract

We investigate whether bank performance during the credit crisis of 2008 is related to CEO incentives and share ownership before the crisis and whether CEOs reduced their equity stakes in their banks in anticipation of the crisis. There is no evidence that banks with CEOs whose incentives were better aligned with the interests of their shareholders performed better during the crisis and some evidence that these banks actually performed worse both in terms of stock returns and in terms of accounting return on equity. Further, option compensation did not have an adverse impact on bank performance during the crisis. Bank CEOs did not reduce their holdings of shares in anticipation of the crisis or during the crisis; further, there is no evidence that they hedged their equity exposure. Consequently, they suffered extremely large wealth losses as a result of the crisis.

Suggested Citation

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger and Stulz, René M., Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis (August 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15212. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1444714

Rüdiger Fahlenbrach

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

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Rene M. Stulz (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/faculty/stulz

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Belgium

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