Financial Disclosure Levels and Foreign Stock Exchange Listing Decisions
Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1992
44 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2010 Last revised: 4 Nov 2010
Date Written: August 6, 1992
Firms are increasingly listing their shares on foreign stock exchanges. However, not all exchanges have had equal appeal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when firms are making foreign listing decisions, they are influenced by financial disclosure requirements. As a result, regulatory authorities around the globe are weighing increasing demands for foreign capital and investment opportunities against the desire to protect domestic investors from possibly misleading foreign financial disclosures. The competitiveness of domestic stock exchanges often hangs in the balance.
This study examines a key question in this debate: whether firms' choices regarding alternative foreign stock exchange listings are influenced by financial disclosure levels. Examined are the listings of 302 internationally traded firms with at least one foreign listing, on one of nine major exchanges, as of year-end 1987. Also examined are changes in listings between 1981 and 1987, an important design feature since these changes are more likely to have been influenced by differences across countries in financial disclosure levels during this period. Financial disclosure levels are obtained from a survey of 142 experts actively involved in the foreign listing process.
Test results based on the cross-section of listings at year-end 1987 are consistent with the hypothesis that exchange choices are influenced by financial disclosure levels. However, they do not lend support to a second hypothesis suggesting that this effect should operate only for firms whose domestic disclosure levels are lower than those of a given foreign exchange. Tests based on changes in listings between 1981 and 1987 support both hypotheses. Overall, the results lend credence to concerns expressed by regulatory authorities and exchange officials that stringent disclosure levels could reduce access to foreign capital and foreign investment opportunities.
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