• 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.
    • Directors’ share dealings and corporate insolvencies: evidence from the UK

      Ozkan, Aydin; Poletti-Hughes, Jannine; Trzeciakiewicz, Agnieszka
      This paper investigates the relation between insider trading and the likelihood of insolvency with a specific focus on the directors’ sale and purchase transactions preceding insolvency.We use a unique data set on directors’ dealings in 474 non-financial UK firms, of which 117 filed for insolvency, over the period 2000–2010.We show that the directors of insolvent firms increase their purchase transactions significantly as the insolvency approaches. The results also reveal a significant relation between three different measures of insider trading activity and the likelihood of insolvency, which is observed to be positive only during the last six-month trading period. The relation is negative for the earlier trading periods. While the earlier purchase transactions appear to be motivated by superior information held by insiders, the purchase trades closer to the insolvency date are possibly initiated by directors’ motives to influence the market’s perception of the firm in an attempt to avert or delay insolvency.
    • Ultimate Controllers, Ownership and the Probability of Insolvency in Financially Distressed Firms

      Poletti-Hughes, Jannine; Ozkan, Aydin (2014)
      This paper investigates the impact of corporate ownership and control on the outcome of financial distress. It is argued that the likelihood of financial distress resulting in insolvency depends on whether firms have controllers, the type of controllers and their cash flow ownership. Using a sample of 484 UK firms, 81 of which filed for insolvency, we show that financially distressed firms with controllers are more likely to be insolvent than widely held firms, where the probability of insolvency is greater when controllers are family or financial institutions. However, the probability of insolvency reduces significantly as the controllers’ cash flow ownership increases beyond 10%