• Advertising, earnings prediction and market value: An analysis of persistent UK advertisers

      Shah, S.Z.A.; Akbar, Saeed; Ahmad, S.; Stark, A.W. (Wiley, 2021-04)
      This paper examines whether major media advertising expenditures help in predicting future earnings. We consider the role of media advertising in firms’ marketing efforts and posit that persistent advertisers are more likely to benefit from advertising activities in creating long‐lived intangible assets. Employing a sample of persistent UK advertisers over the period 1997–2013, we find that advertising expenditures are significantly positively associated with firms’ future earnings and market value. We also report size and sector‐based differences in the association between advertising and firms’ future earnings. Our additional analysis provides support for the arguments that despite the recent rise in digital advertising budgets, traditional advertising media are still effective in positively influencing firms’ performance. Overall, the results of this study are consistent with the view that advertising expenditures produce intangible assets, at least for firms in certain sectors. These findings have implications for marketers in providing evidence of the value generated by firms’ advertising budgets, for investors in validating the relevance of advertising information in influencing future earnings, and for accounting regulators in relation to the provision of useful insights for any future deliberations on financial reporting policies for advertising expenditures.
    • Board structure and corporate risk taking in the UK financial sector

      Akbar, Saeed; Kharabsheh, B.; Poletti-Hughes, Jannine; Shah, S.Z.A. (2017)
      This paper examines the relationship between board structure and corporate risk taking in the UK financial sector. We show how the board size, board independence and combining the role of CEO and chairperson in boards may affect corporate risk taking in financial firms. Our sample is based on a panel dataset of all publicly listed firms in the UK financial sector, which includes banks, insurance, real estate and financial services companies over a ten year period (2003-2012). After controlling for the effects of endogeneity through the application of the dynamic panel generalized method of moments estimator, the findings of this study suggest that the presence of non-executive directors and powerful CEOs in corporate boards reduces corporate risk taking practices in financial firms. The negative relationship can be explained within the agency theory context, where managers are regarded as more risk averse because of the reputational and employment risk. An increased power concentration is therefore expected to enhance the risk aversion behaviour of directors. The findings however, do not show any significant effect of board size on corporate risk taking in financial firms. As this study covers recommendations of the UK Corporate Governance Code on the role of corporate boards in managing firms’ risk, the empirical evidence could be useful for corporate governance regulation and policy making.
    • Compliance or non‐compliance during financial crisis: Does it matter?

      Ahmad, S.; Akbar, Saeed; Kodwani, D.; Halari, A.; Shah, Syed Z. (2021)
      This paper investigates whether shareholder value is affected by non-compliance with the prescriptions of a principle-based ‘comply or explain’ sys-tem of corporate governance in the context of the global financial crisis of2007–2009. Using System Generalized Method of Moments estimates to controlfor different types of endogeneity, the main findings of this paper suggest thatnon-compliance with the UK Corporate Governance Code adversely affectsshareholder value. Furthermore, ex-post estimates reveal that compliance withcertain corporate governance mechanisms is more beneficial than others. Withregard to this, compliance with provisions related to board independence ismore important than complying with performance-related pay requirements ofthe code. These findings have implications for policy makers and financialinstitutions regarding the usefulness of compliance with a prescribed code ofcorporate governance, specifically during periods of financial distress.
    • Effectiveness of performance appraisal: An integrated framework

      Iqbal, M.Z.; Akbar, Saeed; Budhwar, P. (2015-10)
      Based on a robust analysis of the existing literature on performance appraisal (PA), this paper makes a case for an integrated framework of effectiveness of performance appraisal (EPA). To achieve this, it draws on the expanded view of measurement criteria of EPA, i.e. purposefulness, fairness and accuracy, and identifies their relationships with ratee reactions. The analysis reveals that the expanded view of purposefulness includes more theoretical anchors for the purposes of PA and relates to various aspects of human resource functions, e.g. feedback and goal orientation. The expansion in the PA fairness criterion suggests certain newly established nomological networks, which were ignored in the past, e.g. the relationship between distributive fairness and organization‐referenced outcomes. Further, refinements in PA accuracy reveal a more comprehensive categorization of rating biases. Coherence among measurement criteria has resulted in a ratee reactions‐based integrated framework, which should be useful for both researchers and practitioners.
    • Effectiveness of Performance Appraisal: Evidence on the Utilization Criteria

      Iqbal, M.Z.; Akbar, Saeed; Budhwar, P.; Shah, S.Z.A. (2019-08)
      This study examines the relationships between performance appraisal (PA) purposes and immediate and ultimate outcomes. Drawing upon expectancy theory and Greenberg's taxonomy, we explore the roles of multiple mediators as sets of person- and organization-referenced ratee reactions and reveal the multiple why-related aspects of the relationships between PA purposes and PA effectiveness. Our research is based on a questionnaire survey of 563 employees from the telecommunications sector of Pakistan. The results of structural equation modeling analysis suggest that individual-focused PA better serves the employee perspective, whereas position- and organization-focused PA better serves the organizational perspective. These findings indicate that inclusion of role definition and strategic purposes in the PA system is likely to render PA more effective and practical. The findings also corroborate that ratee reactions mediate the relationship between PA purposes and PA effectiveness, albeit to varying degrees. Our findings have theoretical and practical implications.
    • Firm performance, corporate governance and executive compensation in Pakistan

      Sheikh, M.F.; Shah, S.Z.A.; Akbar, Saeed (2018)
      This study examines the effects of firm performance and corporate governance on chief executive officer (CEO) compensation in an emerging market, Pakistan. Using a more robust Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimation approach for a sample of non-financial firms listed at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) over the period 2005 to 2012, we find that both current and previous year accounting performance has positive influence on CEO compensation. However, stock market performance does not appear to have a positive impact on executive compensation. We further find that ownership concentration is positively related with CEO compensation, indicating some kind of collusion between management and largest shareholder to get personal benefits. Inconsistent with agency theory, CEO duality appears to have a negative influence, while board size and board independence have no convincing relationship with CEO compensation, indicating board ineffectiveness in reducing CEO entrenchment. The results of dynamic GMM model suggest that CEO pay is highly persistent and takes time to adjust to long-run equilibrium.
    • Governance disclosure quality and market valuation of firms in UK and Germany

      Ullah, S.; Ahmad, S.; Akbar, Saeed; Kodwani, D.; Frecknall-Hughes, J. (Wiley, 2021-10)
      This study develops a 'comply or explain' index which captures compliance and quality of explanations given for non-compliance with the corporate governance codes in UK and Germany. In particular, we explain, how compliance and quality of explanations provided in non-compliance disclosures, and various other internal corporate governance mechanisms, affect the market valuation of firms in the two countries. A dynamic generalised method of moments (GMM) estimator is employed as the research technique for our analysis, which enabled us to control for the potential effects of endogeneity in our models. The findings of our content analysis suggest that firms exhibit significant differences in compliance, board independence and ownership structure in both countries. The 'comply or explain' index is positively associated with the market valuation of UK firms suggesting that compliance and quality governance disclosure is value relevant in the UK. Institutional blockholders' ownership is however, negatively associated with the market value of firms, which raises questions about the monitoring role of institutional shareholders in both countries. We argue that both compliance and explanations given for non-compliance are equally important, as long as valid reasons and justifications for non-compliance are provided by the reporting companies. These findings thus imply that the 'comply or explain' principle is working well and that UK and German companies could benefit from the flexibility offered by this principle. With respect to the role of board size, board independence, ownership structure, and institutional ownership of firms, this study offers policy implications.
    • Impact of international financial reporting standards on the profit and equity of AIM listed companies in the UK

      Ali, A.; Akbar, Saeed; Ormrod, P. (2016-03)
      This study examines the extent to which the change from UK GAAP to IFRS has affected companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the UK. The results suggest that, on average, profit reported under IFRS is higher than that reported under UK GAAP; however, the difference is much smaller for AIM listed companies as compared to what existing literature suggests for firms listed on main stock markets. The Gray's partial analysis results indicate that despite the extensive programmes for improving convergence over time there is still a considerable discrepancy between IFRS and UK GAAP.
    • International Evidence on the Determinants of Organizational Ethical Vulnerability

      Ullah, S.; Ahmad, S.; Akbar, Saeed; Kodwani, D. (2018)
      This paper proposes a model to explain what makes organisations ethically vulnerable. Drawing upon legitimacy, institutional, agency and individual moral reasoning theories we consider three sets of explanatory factors and examine their association with organisational ethical vulnerability. The three sets comprise external institutional context, internal corporate governance mechanisms and organisational ethical infrastructure. We combine these three sets of factors and develop an analytical framework for classifying ethical issues and propose a new model of organisational ethical vulnerability. We test our model on a sample of 253 firms that were involved in ethical misconduct and compare them with a matched sample of the same number of firms from 28 different countries. The results suggest that weak regulatory environment and internal corporate governance combined with profitability warnings or losses in the preceding year increase organisational ethical vulnerability. We find counterintuitive evidence suggesting that firms’ involvement in bribery and corruption prevention training programmes is positively associated with the likelihood of ethical vulnerability. By synthesising insights about individual and corporate behaviour from multiple theories, this study extends existing analytical literature on business ethics. Our findings have implications for firms’ external regulatory settings, corporate governance mechanisms and organisational ethical infrastructure.
    • Market reaction to seasoned offerings in China

      Liu, J.; Akbar, Saeed; Shah, S.Z.A.; Zhang, D.; Pang, D. (2016-06)
      This study examines stock market reaction to the announcement of various forms of seasoned issues in China. Our empirical evidence demonstrates that market reactions differ in ways that suggest a difference between management's internal assessment and the market's assessment of the stock price. The market responds unfavourably to the announcement, notably in the case of rights issues and also with regard to open offers. Private placements experience an unfavourable pre‐announcement reaction, which contrasts with the favourable reaction after the event. Convertible bond issues generate positive excess returns consistent with the market's confidence that they can help to align management and shareholders’ interests. Further investigation shows that market reaction is related to factors specific to the issuer and issue by reference to the period immediately surrounding the issue. Specifically, ownership concentration, agency matters connected with equity offerings, investor protection connected with fund allocation and security pricing, and the influence of powerful moneyed interests together provide an instructive insight into market reaction. Institutional inefficiency pertaining to underwriting, auditing, analysts’ forecasts and credit ratings are found to have a weak association with market price, consistent with due public scepticism concerning management and their gatekeepers.
    • More on the relationship between corporate governance and firm performance in the UK: Evidence from the application of generalized method of moments estimation

      Akbar, Saeed; Poletti-Hughes, J.; El-Faitouri, R.; Shah, S.Z.A. (2016-09)
      This study examines the relationship between corporate governance compliance and firm performance in the UK. We develop a Governance Index and investigate its impact on corporate performance after controlling for potential endogeneity through the use of a more robust methodology, Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) Estimation. Our evidence is based on a sample of 435 non-financial publicly listed firms over the period 1999–2009. In contrast to earlier findings in the UK literature, our results suggest that compliance with corporate governance regulations is not a determinant of corporate performance in the UK. We argue that results from prior studies showing a positive impact of corporate governance on firms’ performance may be biased as they fail to control for potential endogeneity. There may be a possibility of reverse causality in the results of prior studies due to which changes in the internal characteristics of firms may be responsible for the corporate governance compliance and performance relationship. Our findings are based on GMM, which controls for the effects of unobservable heterogeneity, simultaneity and dynamic endogeneity and thus present more robust conclusions as compared to the findings of previously published studies in this area.
    • The role of peer effects in corporate employee welfare policies

      Rind, A.A.; Akbar, Saeed; Boubaker, S.; Lajili-Jarjir, S.; Mollah, S. (Wiley, 2021)
      This paper investigates the role of peer effects in the employee welfare policies of organizations. Using US panel data for a sample of 11,451 firm-year observations from 1996 to 2017, we find that firms’ employee welfare decisions are driven by their peers and show that peer firms play a significant role in defining corporate employee welfare policies. Our findings are robust to various sensitivity checks, including alternative definitions of employee welfare, alternative peer proxies, and several identification strategies. Our additional analysis shows that herding behavior is prevalent in followers, who mimic leaders' behavior, but we do not find any such relationship for industry leaders. Further, we show the evidence suggesting that mimetic and normative isomorphic pressures are driving the peer effects. Finally, we document the economic consequence of peer mimicking in employee welfare policies. Our findings on firms’ peer effects and herding behavior have policy implications.
    • A Study on trust restoration efforts in the UK retail banking industry

      Ahmed, S.; Bangassa, K.; Akbar, Saeed (Elsevier, 2020-01)
      This paper aims to capture the perception of banking services providers on how to restore their customers’ trust in the UK banking industry. Twenty frontline employees (FLEs) who have customer-facing responsibilities are interviewed and a thematic analysis of the interview transcripts is undertaken. Through the emergence of three different major themes and a number of sub-themes, we have presented our findings in the form of a trust restoration model. Interviewees have reported three major themes as an action framework to restore their customers’ trust. Firstly, banks are implementing enhanced transparency in their operations, by appropriately disclosing the key features of their lending and other banking activities. Secondly, they are implementing policies and procedures that can help strengthen their relationship banking, such as improving employee and customer engagement activities for supporting small businesses and the community. Thirdly, they are promoting operational efficiency by adequately investing in information technology infrastructure. However, some financial service practices identified by the interviewees, for example, the deliberate sale of financial products that are unsuitable for their customers or too complex to understand, still continues. Ultimately, this ‘sale before service’ tactic is incompatible with the industry claims of compliance with the new financial regulations.