Bankers' Compensation and Fair Value Accounting

Posted: 1 Sep 2011  

Gilad Livne

University of Exeter Business School

Alistair Milne

Loughborough University - School of Business and Economics

Garen Markarian

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Date Written: September 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the role of certain fair value accounting (FVA) outcomes in compensation of US bank CEOs. The use of FVA in compensation invites an agency cost - the clawback problem - if cash compensation is based on unrealized profits that may reverse in the future. At the same time FVA may be a good measure of current managerial effort and so be cash compensated. We find evidence consistent with a positive link between CEO cash bonus and fair value (FV) valuation of trading assets, managed for short-term profit, as well as (amongst banks with limited trading exposure) a positive link between CEO pay and FV valuations of available for sale (AFS) assets. We find no evidence that trading income is incrementally compensation relevant, indicating that compensation committees avoided the clawback problem for unrealized trading gains. The paper also provides evidence on the link between FVA outcomes and equity-based pay.

Keywords: Clawback problem, Fair value accounting, Cash bonus, Compensation, Banking crisis

JEL Classification: M41, M43, G20, J33

Suggested Citation

Livne, Gilad and Milne, Alistair and Markarian, Garen, Bankers' Compensation and Fair Value Accounting (September 1, 2011). Journal of Corporate Finance, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 1096-1115. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1920796

Gilad Livne

University of Exeter Business School ( email )

Streatham Court
Rennes Drive
Exeter, EX4 4JH
United Kingdom
+44(0)1392 724436 (Phone)

Alistair K. L. Milne

Loughborough University - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Epinal Way
Loughborough
Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
United Kingdom

Garen Markarian (Contact Author)

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

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