Financial visibility and the decision to go private
A large fraction of the companies that went private between 1990 and 2007 were fairly young public firms, often with the same management team making the crucial restructuring decisions both at the time of the initial public offering (IPO) and the buyout. Why did these public firms decide to revert to private ownership? To answer this question, we investigate the determinants of the decision to go private over a firm's entire public life cycle. Our evidence reveals that firms with declining growth in analyst coverage, falling institutional ownership, and low stock turnover were more likely to ...
Market declines: Is banning short selling the solution?
In response to the sharp decline in prices of financial stocks in the fall of 2008, regulators in a number of countries banned short selling of particular stocks and industries. Evidence suggests that these bans did little to stop the slide in stock prices, but significantly increased costs of liquidity. In August 2011, the U.S. market experienced a large decline when Standard and Poor?s announced a downgrade of U.S. debt. Our cross-sectional tests suggest that the decline in stock prices was not significantly driven or amplified by short selling. Short selling does not appear to be the root ...
Community lending and commercial bank mergers
The effect of employee stock options on bank investment choice, borrowing, and capital
In this paper, we test the hypothesis that granting employee stock options motivates CEOs of banking firms to undertake riskier projects. We also investigate whether granting employee stock options reduces the bank's incentive to borrow while inducing a buildup of regulatory capital. Using a sample of 549 bank-years for publicly traded banks from 1992 to 2002, we find some evidence that the bank's equity volatility (total as well as residual) and asset volatility increase as CEO stock option holdings increase. In addition, it appears that granting employee stock options motivates banks to ...
Deferred cash compensation: enhancing stability in the financial services industry
Employees in financial firms are compensated for creating value for the firm, but firms themselves also serve a public interest. This tension can lead to issues that could impose a significant risk to the firm and the public. The authors describe three channels through which deferred cash compensation can mitigate such risk: by promoting a conservative approach to risk, by inducing internal monitoring, and by creating a liquidity buffer. Ultimately, the net contribution of deferred cash pay to financial stability is the sum of the effects of the three channels. The authors argue that a ...
What can we learn from privately held firms about executive compensation?
We study the Green and Lin (2003) model of financial intermediation with two new features: traders may face a cost of contacting the intermediary, and consumption needs may be correlated across traders. We show that each feature is capable of generating an equilibrium in which some (but not all) traders ?run? on the intermediary by withdrawing their funds at the first opportunity regardless of their true consumption needs. Our results also provide some insight into elements of the economic environment that are necessary for a run equilibrium to exist in general models of financial ...
Caught between Scylla and Charybdis? Regulating bank leverage when there is rent seeking and risk shifting
Banks face two moral hazard problems: asset substitution by shareholders (e.g., making risky, negative net present value loans) and managerial rent seeking (e.g., investing in inefficient ?pet? projects or simply being lazy and uninnovative). The privately-optimal level of bank leverage is neither too low nor too high: It balances effi ciently the market discipline imposed by owners of risky debt on managerial rent-seeking against the asset-substitution induced at high levels of leverage. However, when correlated bank failures can impose significant social costs, regulators may bail out bank ...
The role of financial reporting and transparency in corporate governance
The authors review recent literature on the role of corporate financial reporting and transparency in reducing governance-related agency conflicts between managers, directors, shareholders, and other stakeholders?most notably financial regulators?and suggest some avenues for future research. Key themes include the endogenous nature of governance mechanisms with respect to information asymmetry between contracting parties, the heterogeneous nature of the informational demands of contracting parties, and the corresponding heterogeneity of the associated governance mechanisms. The authors also ...
The effect of employee stock options on the evolution of compensation in the 1990s
Between 1995 and 1998, actual growth in compensation per hour (CPH) accelerated from approximately 2 percent to 5 percent. Yet as the labor market continued to tighten in 1999, CPH growth unexpectedly slowed. This article explores whether this aggregate "wage puzzle" can be explained by changes in the pay structure?specifically, by the increased use of employee stock options in the 1990s. The CPH measure captures these options on their exercise date, rather than on the date they are granted. By recalculating compensation per hour to reflect the options' value on the grant date, the ...
Cash holdings and bank compensation
The experience of the 2007-09 financial crisis has prompted much consideration of the link between the structure of compensation in financial firms and excessive risk taking by their employees. A key concern has been that compensation design rewards managers for pursuing risky strategies but fails to exact penalties for decision making that leads to bank failures, financial system disruption, government bailouts, and taxpayer losses. As a way to better align management's interests with those of other stakeholders such as creditors and taxpayers, the authors propose a cash holding requirement ...