Determinants of board composition in Australia and the impact of corporate governance regulation

Publisher:
British Accounting Association (BAA)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
BAA Annual Conference 2009 Website, 2009, pp. 1 - 36
Issue Date:
2009-01
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This study investigates the relation between firm characteristics and board composition in Australia for a sample of the same 432 listed firms in 2001 and 2007 and the impact of the Principles of Good Corporate Governance and Best Practice issued by the Australian Stock Exchange in 2003. Two feature of this regulation were (a) it recommended independent boards for all firms, without regard to firm characteristics (an approach commonly described as `one size fits all) and (b) it allowed non-compliance through `if not why not reporting. Using various designations of independence and firm size subsamples we find for `Top 100 firms in 2001 up to 49% (Adjusted R2 48.8) of variation in board independence may be explained by firm characteristics, but generally the explanatory power was much lower. Evidence is provided that although more firms had majority independent boards the relation between board composition and firm characteristics may have weakened over the period. This highlights a potential concern that the regulation has imposed unnecessary costs or inappropriate governance mechanisms on Australian firms.
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