DOES BANKING OVERSIGHT MAKE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS MORE RELIABLE? AN ANALYSIS THROUGH COUNTRIES WHICH ARE PART OF THE SINGLE SUPERVISORY MECHANISM (SSM)

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Giacomo Ceccobelli, Alessandro Giosi

DOI:10.22495/cocv16i3art4

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to investigate earnings management purposes in the banking industry via loan loss provisions using a sample of 156 banks from 19 European countries under the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) over the period 2006-2016. Using regression analysis, banks are tested for income smoothing, capital management, and signaling purposes.
This study contributes to the literature exploring the relationship between accounting quality and earnings management objectives by analyzing which one of the latter is the more important determinant. The hypotheses of income smoothing and signaling are strongly approved since loan loss provisions consist as a tool for smoothing the amount of net profit and to convey private information to the market; on the contrary, the capital management purpose is not supported. Additionally, the analysis finds that non-discretionary components of loan loss provisions (essentially non-performing loans) have played an important role, especially during the financial crisis.
Furthermore, the research is aimed at investigating the peculiar regulatory and supervisory environment in the banking industry on the basis of a set of indexes included in the “Bank Regulation and Supervision Survey”, carried out by the World Bank.
Unlike previous literature, this study takes into account the latest release of the survey, emphasizes the role of an on-site inspection as the main supervisory tool and extends the analysis of the interaction between bank regulation and supervision and earnings management. The results demonstrate that such controls can influence the behaviour of bank managers in terms of income smoothing and signaling practices. Therefore they can be considered as effective instruments for reducing banks’ management accounting discretion, making financial statements more reliable.

Keywords: Banks, Earnings Management, Loan Loss Provisions, Income Smoothing, Signaling, Bank Regulation And Supervision, On-Site Inspection

JEL Classification: G21, G28, M41, M48

Received: 04.02.2019

Accepted: 15.04.2019

Published online: 16.04.2019

How to cite this paper: Ceccobelli, G., & Giosi, A. (2019). Does banking oversight make financial statements more reliable? An analysis through countries which are part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). Corporate Ownership & Control, 16(3), 36-51. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv16i3art4