Earnings Management in the UK: The Impact of Managerial Share Ownership and Minority Shareholder Protection on Discretionary Accruals
33 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2011 Last revised: 2 Nov 2017
Date Written: January 14, 2013
The paper examines the relationship between share ownership by boards of British stock exchange listed companies and accrual based earnings management. It provides the first empirical evidence that the relationship is impacted by UK Company Law and the institutional governance framework.
We specifically model nonlinear relationships between the equity stakes owned by executive directors and discretionary accruals to account for managerial alignment-incentive and entrenchment at different levels of share ownership. To explain the nonlinear relationship, we discuss the UK institutional governance framework and highlight key regulatory thresholds. Piecewise linear regressions test the impact of these key regulatory thresholds on the earnings management-ownership relationship.
We find that share ownership by executive directors has a significant impact on the level of discretionary accruals. The relationship is negative when the equity stakes of executive directors are below the 5% threshold of the ABI dilution limit and sections 376-378 of Companies Act 1985. Earnings management increases above 5% and below 10% of share ownership by executives. Once the 10% equity threshold of section 209 of Companies Act 1948 is reached, executive share ownership effectively mitigates accrual based earnings management. We find no evidence that equity ownership by non-executive directors mitigates earnings management practice of British companies.
Keywords: earnings management, managerial share ownership, discretionary accruals, UK company law, minority shareholder protection
JEL Classification: M41, M43, G32, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation