Browsing by Author "Francis, Bill"

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  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Li, Lingxiang (2014)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 19/2014
    Published in Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Volume 46, Issue 2, February 2016: 217–260
    We study the impact of firms' abnormal business operations on their future crash risk in stock prices. Computed based on real earnings management (REM) models, firms' deviation in real operations from industry norms (DRO) is shown to be positively associated with their future crash risk. This association is incremental to that between discretionary accruals (DA) and crash risk found by prior studies. Moreover, after Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, DRO's predictive power for crash risk strengthens substantially, while DA's predictive power essentially dissipates. These results are consistent with the prior finding that managers shift from accrual earnings management (AEM) to REM after SOX. We further develop a suspect-firm approach to capture firms' use of DRO for REM purposes. This analysis shows that REM-firms experience a significant increase in crash risk in the following year. These findings suggest that the impact of DRO on crash risk is at least partially through REM.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang; Yan, Meng (2014)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 16/2014
    Published in Journal of American Taxation Association Volume 36, Issue 2 2014: 171-202
    This paper investigates the effect of CFO gender on corporate tax aggressiveness. Focusing on firms that experience a male-to-female CFO transition, the paper compares those firms' degree of tax aggressiveness during the pre- and post-transition periods. Using the probability of tax sheltering, the predicted unrecognized tax benefits, and the discretionary permanent book-tax differences to measure tax aggressiveness, we find that female CFOs are associated with less tax aggressiveness as compared to their male counterparts. The main findings are supported by additional tests based on propensity score matching, difference-in-difference tests, and tests with a female-to-male CFO transition sample. Overall, our study establishes CFO gender as an important determinant of tax aggressiveness.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Song, Liang (2012)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 12/2012
    Published in Journal of Financial Research, Volume 35, Issue 3, October 2012: 343-374
    We investigate how borrowers corporate governance influences bank loan contracting terms in emerging markets and how this relation varies across countries with different country-level governance. We find that borrowers with stronger corporate governance obtain favorable contracting terms with respect to loan amount, maturity, collateral requirements, and spread. Firm-level and country-level corporate governance are substitutes in writing and enforcing financial contracts. We also find that the distinctiveness of borrowers characteristics affect the relation between firm-level corporate governance and loan contracting terms. Our findings are robust, irrespective of types of regression methods and specifications. JEL Classification: G20, G30, G31, G34, G38.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Sun, Xian; Waisman, Maya (2014)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 17/2014
    Published in Journal of Corporate Finance, Volume 25, April 2014, Pages 202–215
    In the presence of high uncertainty and limited experience, can observing the actions of other acquiring predecessors help firms make better acquisition decisions? Using a sample of cross-border M&As conducted by US acquirers in developing countries, we document a positive and significant relationship between an acquirer's performance and its predecessors' acquisition activity. This relationship is especially pronounced in the prevalence of news events about the outcome of predecessors' acquisitions, when predecessors consist of US peers from the same industry and/or when targets are based in culturally distant countries. Our findings shed light on one channel through which information spillovers across industries and acquiring firms could be a key driver of value creation in developing market cross-border M&As.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang; Koetter, Michael (2012)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 14/2012
    Published in Journal of Financial Research, Volume 35, Issue 4, December 2012: 521-552
    We investigate the role of corporate boards in bank loan contracting. We find that when corporate boards are more independent, both price and nonprice loan terms (e.g., interest rates, collateral, covenants, and performance-pricing provisions) are more favorable, and syndicated loans comprise more lenders. In addition, board size, audit committee structure, and other board characteristics influence bank loan prices. However, they do not consistently affect all nonprice loan terms except for audit committee independence. Our study provides strong evidence that banks tend to recognize the benefits of board monitoring in mitigating information risk ex ante and controlling agency risk ex post, and they reward higher quality boards with more favorable loan contract terms. JEL Classification: G21, G34
  • Fang, Yiwei; Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar (2018)
    Journal of Corporate Finance February ; 2018
    Prior research has demonstrated that CEOs learn privileged information from their social connections. Going beyond the importance of the number of social ties in a CEO's social network, this paper studies the value generated from a diverse social environment. We construct an index of social-network heterogeneity (SNH) that captures the extent to which CEOs are connected to people of different demographic attributes and skill sets. We find that higher CEO SNH leads to greater firm value through the channels of better corporate innovation and diversified M&As. Overall, the evidence suggests that CEOs' exposure to human diversity enhances social learning and creates greater growth opportunities for firms.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang (2012)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 11/2012
    Published in Review of Financial Economics, Volume 21, Issue 2, April 2012: 39-52
    This study uses the current financial crisis as a quasi-experiment to examine whether and to what extent corporate boards affect the performance of firms. Using cumulative stock returns over the crisis to measure of firm performance, we find that board independence, as traditionally defined, does not significantly affect firm performance. However, when we re-define independent directors as outside directors who are less connected with current CEOs, a measure we call true independence, there is a positive and significant relationship between this measure and firm performance. Second, outside financial experts are important for firm performance. Third, board meeting frequencies, director attendance behaviors, and director age also affect firm performance during the crisis. Overall, our results suggest that firm performance during a crisis is a function of firm-level differences in corporate boards. JEL Classification: G01; G30; G34 Keywords: Financial crisis; Boards of directors; Firm performance; True independence
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Liu, Liuling; Wang, Haizhi (2019)
    Journal of Business Ethics 4
    First Online: 27 October 2017
    Adopting an instrumental approach for stakeholder management, we focus on two primary stakeholder groups (employees and creditors) to investigate the relationship between employee treatment and loan contracts with banks. We find strong evidence that fair employee treatment reduces loan price and limits the use of financial covenants. In addition, we document that relationship bank lenders price both the levels and changes in the quality of employee treatment, whereas first-time bank lenders only care about the levels of fair employee treatment. Taking a contingency perspective, we find that industry competition and firm asset intangibility moderate the relationship between good human resource management and bank loan costs. The cost reduction effect of fair employee treatment is stronger for firms operating in a more competitive industry and having higher levels of intangible assets.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Li, Lingxiang (2015)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 13/2015
    Published in Journal of Auditing, Accounting and Finance, Vol 31, Issue 2, 2016
    ​Prior studies of real-activity earnings management (REM) focus on earnings-inflating abnormal activities. We seek to establish the existence of downward REM by investigating several corporate events in which managers have incentives to temporarily deflate market valuations. Specifically, we focus on, and find downward REM before, share repurchases, management buyouts (MBOs), and CEO option awards. Large-sample evidence of downward REM is also found in our general analysis of earnings smoothing. Downward REM becomes much smaller or nonexistent when there is a lack of managerial incentives in those events, such as non-carry-through repurchases, incomplete MBOs, and unexpected option awards. Following the research design of Zang (2012), we find that various REM and AEM cost factors consistently influence the magnitude of downward REM and AEM around the three corporate events.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang; Park, Jong Chool (2014)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 1/2014
    Published in Contemporary Accounting Research, Volume 32, Issue 3, September 2015: 1285–1318
    This paper investigates the effect of CFO gender on corporate financial reporting decision-making. Focusing on firms that experience changes of CFO from male to female, the paper compares the firms' degree of accounting conservatism between pre- and post-transition periods. We find that female CFOs are more conservative in their financial reporting. In addition, we find that the relation between CFO gender and conservatism varies with the levels of various firm risks such as litigation risk, default risk, systematic risk, and CFO specific risk such as job security risk. We further find that risk-aversion of female CFOs is associated with less equity-based compensation, lower firm risk, higher tangibility level, and lower dividend payout level. Overall, the study provides strong support for the notion that female CFOs are more risk averse than male CFOs, which leads female CFOs to adopt more conservative financial reporting policies. Keywords: Accounting Conservatism; Gender; CFO; Risk-Aversion. JEL Classification: M41; J16
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Sharma, Zenu (2011)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 17/2011
    We investigate the relationship between chief executive officer (CEO) compensation and innovation. In an empirical examination of compensation contracts of S&P 400, 500, and 600 firms we find that long-term incentives in the form of options are positively related to patents and citations to patents. In addition, convexity of options has a positive effect on innovation. We also find no relationship between pay for performance sensitivity (PPS) with patents and citations to patents while we did discover a positive relationship between these and golden parachutes. Finally, we show that subsequent to project failure managers compensation contracts are reset favourably. We provide support for the theory that compensation contracts that offer long-term commitment and protection from failure are more suitable for innovation
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Sharma, Zenu (2011)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 19/2011
    Published in Journal of Economics and Business, 63, 6, November-December 2011: 558-581
    This paper investigates the potential effects of stock options on managers investment decisions and therefore on a firm s growth or, alternatively, on its leverage-growth relationship. To structure the analysis addressing this issue, the paper utilizes a framework establishing a negative relationship between leverage and the firm s growth. However, in contrast to some of the existing results, the empirical analysis of manufacturing firms in this paper shows that the negative relationship between leverage and growth has changed significantly. Primarily this paper documents that, as options based compensation in manager s portfolio increases, the negative effect of leverage on growth disappears. The paper argues that this is an important finding, because it implies that when managers are compensated with options debt ceases to pre-commit managers. On addressing the potential endogeneity problem between leverage, growth and compensation the paper finds that option delta instead of book leverage negatively affects growth, and that book leverage and option delta are inversely related. Finally, the paper also examines the effect of corporate governance on the relationship between leverage, incentives and the firm s growth and finds that leverage is negatively related to growth only in poorly governed firms.
  • Fang, Yiwei; Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar (2012)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 26/2012
    This paper examines through various channels the effects of CEO social network heterogeneity on firm value. We construct four measures of heterogeneity based on demographic attributes, intellectual backgrounds, professional experience, and geographical exposures of individuals in the CEO social network. We find that CEO social network heterogeneity leads to higher Tobin's Q of firms. Greater CEO social network heterogeneity also leads to: (i) more innovation, (ii) more foreign sales growth, (iii) higher investment sensitivity to Tobin's Q, and (iv) better M&A performance. Overall, our results indicate that CEO social network heterogeneity is an aspect of CEO social capital and soft skills that deserves the attention of shareholders. Keywords: CEO, social networks, corporate finance policy decisions, firm value JEL classification: G32, G30, D71, Z10
  • Fang, Yiwei; Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wang, Haizhi (2011)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 4/2011
    Published in Journal of Empirical Finance, Volume 19, Issue 5, December 2012: 653-674
    This paper examines the effects of strategic alliances on non-financial firms bank loan financing. We construct several measures to capture firms alliance activities using the frequency of alliance activities, the prominence of the alliance partner and the relative networking position in the overall alliance network. We find that firms with active alliance involvement experience a lower cost of debt from banks. We also document that allying with a prestigious partner (ie S&P 500 firms) can provide an endorsement effect and benefit the borrowers by reducing the price of bank loans. Moreover, a borrowing firm positioned at the centre of an alliance network enjoys a lower cost of bank loans. Finally, we find that borrowing firms with alliance experience are less likely to use collateral and covenants in their loan contracts.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang (2014)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 15/2014
    Published in Financial Management, Volume 44, Issue 3, 1 September 2015, Pages 547-581
    Directors from academia served on the boards of around 40% of S&P 1,500 firms over the 1998-2011 period. This paper investigates the effects of academic directors on corporate governance and firm performance. We find that companies with directors from academia are associated with higher performance and this relation is driven by professors without administrative jobs. We also find that academic directors play an important governance role through their advising and monitoring functions. Specifically, our results show that the presence of academic directors is associated with higher acquisition performance, higher number of patents and citations, higher stock price informativeness, lower discretionary accruals, lower CEO compensation, and higher CEO forced turnover-performance sensitivity. Overall, our results provide supportive evidence that academic directors are valuable advisors and effective monitors and that, in general, firms benefit from having academic directors.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Mani, Sureshbabu; Ye, Pengfei (2016)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 6/2016
    Published in Journal of Financial Economics 2016 ; 122 ; 1 ;
    ​This study examines the performance impact of the relative quality of a CEO’s compensation peers (peers selected to determine a CEO’s overall compensation) and bonus peers (peers selected to determine a CEO’s relative-performance-based bonus). We use the fraction of peers with greater managerial ability scores (Demerjian, Lev, and McVay, 2012) than the reporting firm to measure this CEO’s relative peer quality (RPQ). We find that firms with higher RPQ tend to earn superior risk-adjusted stock returns and experience higher profitability growth compared with firms that have lower RPQ. These results cannot be fully explained by a CEO’s power, compensation level, intrinsic talent, nor by the board’s possible motivation to use peers to signal a firm’s prospect. Learning among peers and the increased incentive to work harder induced by the peer-based tournament, however, might contribute to RPQ’s positive performance effect. Preliminary evidence also shows that high RPQ is not associated with increased earnings management or increased risk-taking behaviors.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Liu, LiuLing; Wang, Haizhi (Elsevier, 2019)
    Journal of Banking and Finance January ; 2019
    We empirically investigate whether taking senior bank loans would enhance market discipline and control risk-taking among borrowing banks. Controlling for endogeneity concern arising from borrowing bank self-select into taking senior bank debt, we document that both the spreads and covenants in loan contracts are sensitive to bank risk variables. Our analysis also reveals that borrowing banks reduce their risk exposure after their first issuance of senior bank debt. We also find that lending banks significantly increase their collaboration with borrowing banks and increase their presence in the home markets of borrowing banks.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang (2013)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 8/2013
    Using the recent financial crisis as a natural quasi-experiment, we test whether and to what extent conservative accounting affects shareholder value. We find that there is significantly positive and economically meaningful relation between conservatism and firm stock performance during the current crisis. The result holds for alternative measures of conservatism and is validated in a series of robustness checks. We further find that the relation between conservatism and firm value is more pronounced for firms with weaker corporate governance or higher information asymmetry. Overall, our paper complements LaFond and Watts (2008) by providing empirical evidence to their argument that conservatism is an efficient governance mechanism to mitigate information risk and control for agency problems, and that shareholders benefit from it. JEL Classification: M41; M48; G01 Keywords: Accounting conservatism, Shareholder value, Financial crisis
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; Wu, Qiang (2011)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 18/2011
    Motivated by recent studies that show female CFOs are more risk averse than male CFOs when making various corporate decisions, we examine whether banks take into consideration the gender of CFOs when pricing bank loans. We find that in our sample, firms under the control of female CFOs on average enjoy about 11% lower bank loan price than firms under the control of male CFOs. In addition, loans given to female CFO-led companies have longer maturities and are less likely to be required to provide collateral than loans given to male CFO led companies. Our results are robust to a series of robustness tests, such as a firm and year-fixed effect regression, a Heckman two-stage self selection model, a propensity score match method and a differences-in-differences approach. Overall, our results suggest that banks tend to recognize the role of female CFOs in providing more reliable accounting information ex ante and reducing default risk ex post, and grant firms with female CFOs lower loan price and more favourable contract terms.
  • Francis, Bill; Hasan, Iftekhar; John, Kose; Waisman, Maya (2012)
    Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 17/2012
    Published in Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Volume 51, Issue 6 December 2016: 1925-1953
    An underlying assumption in the executive compensation literature is that there is a national labor market for CEOs. The urban economics literature, however, documents higher ability among workers in large metropolitans, which results in a real and stable urban wage premium. In this paper, we investigate the link between the spatial clustering of firms in big, central cities (i.e., urban agglomeration) and the level and structure of CEO compensation. Using CEO compensation data for the period 1992-2004, we document a positive relation between the size and centrality of the city in which the firm is headquartered and the total, as well as the equity based portion of CEO pay. Our results are robust to a host of control variables, sensitivity and endogeneity tests, indicating that urban agglomeration may reflect positive externalities, such as knowledge spillovers, business connections and improved access to private information that have a positive effect on CEO pay and incentive driven compensation for good performance. We document gradual human capital gains acquired from big city work experience that are transferable to the rural area, and rewarded for, once the CEO relocates into a smaller, less central community. Our tests provide novel evidence of information spillovers and networking opportunities in big cities that can directly affect how CEOs are compensated. Such sources of information and influence represent something for which firms are willing to pay higher and more incentive driven pay, evidence in favor of a market-based explanation for CEO compensation. Key words: Agglomeration, CEO, Compensation, Incentive, Geography. JEL Code: D8, G3, J3, R1