Fair Value Accounting: Information or Confusion for Financial Markets?
43 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2011 Last revised: 7 Jul 2015
Date Written: August 7, 2011
The recent financial crisis has led to a critical evaluation of the role that fair value accounting may have played in undermining the stability of the financial system. Reacting to the pressures of banking regulators and governments, standard-setters have brought forward additional guidance on the application of fair value accounting. This paper examines if and how fair value reporting by U.S. commercial banks during the 1996-2009 period influences the quality of information used by financial analysts. Our results show that, overall, the greater the extent of a bank’s assets and liabilities reported at fair value, the more dispersed are analysts’ earnings forecasts. Moreover, as the proportion of assets measured at fair value increases, properties of analysts’ forecasts become less desirable, showing a decrease in the precision of public or private information. The informational properties of fair value disclosure decrease as we move from level 2 to mark-to-model data (level 3). Nevertheless, additional analyses suggest that the disclosure of levels has been beneficial to investors as it enhanced private information precision resulting in more accurate and less dispersed analysts’ forecasts. Finally, the disclosure about the valuation of assets that are measured at fair value on a non-recurring basis reduces accuracy and public information precision while enhancing dispersion.
Keywords: Fair value accounting, governance, risk management, earnings forecasts analysts, valuation of assets disclosure
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