Auditor Ratification: Can't Get No (Dis)Satisfaction

Posted: 15 Mar 2014 Last revised: 3 Aug 2017

See all articles by Lauren M. Cunningham

Lauren M. Cunningham

University of Tennessee - Haslam College of Business

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

The auditor ratification vote provides shareholders with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the company’s choice of auditor, but historically, less than two percent of shareholders express dissent in their vote. Motivated by regulatory attention on the importance of shareholder involvement and the institutional power of proxy advisors on voting outcomes, I examine the proxy advisor’s role in the auditor ratification vote. I find that proxy advisors have a statistically significant influence over shareholder voting outcomes when they recommend against auditor ratification, but the Against recommendation is rare, and the qualitative significance is less clear. Proxy advisor Against recommendations are based on concerns about auditor independence and poor audit quality, but there appears to be variation in the extent to which proxy advisors issue Against recommendations for each of these criteria. I discuss the implications of the findings, which should be of interest to regulators, investors, public companies, and audit firms.

Keywords: auditor ratification; corporate governance; proxy advisor; proxy disclosure; shareholder voting

JEL Classification: G38, M41

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Lauren M., Auditor Ratification: Can't Get No (Dis)Satisfaction (December 1, 2016). Accounting Horizons, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2408573 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2408573

Lauren M. Cunningham (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee - Haslam College of Business ( email )

Accounting and Information Management
603 Stokely Management Center
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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