The Impact of Quasi-Regulatory Reforms on Boards and their Committees during the Period 2001-2007

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Accounting Review, 2011, 21 (4), pp. 352 - 364
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This study investigates the cumulative impact of quasi-regulatory and regulatory reforms, and political pressure on board composition and sub-committees of boards over the period 2001 to 2007. Based on a sample of 450 firms listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, we find that most firms complied with the Principles of Good Corporate Governance and Best Practice by 2007. In particular, 85% of firms had an independent board and there was a significant increase in majority independent committees (audit, remuneration and nomination). While there was an increase in majority board independence, the increase in the mean level of board independence to 71% was modest. The level of compliance was highest for large firms, but the impact was largest on small firms, which changed their board composition the most. The relation between firm characteristics and board composition declined between 2001 and 2007, and changes in board composition were not able to be explained by changes in firm characteristics. If it is assumed that firms on average select their board to reflect their economic needs, this suggests that the changes in board composition may have been costly for firms.
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