Three Empirical Essays on Bank Accounting

  • Chu Yeong Lim

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis presents new empirical evidence on three important aspects of financial reporting by banks. The thesis consists of an introductory chapter that explains how the three issues are related to each other, three empirical chapters and a final summary chapter. The first empirical chapter studies the effects of accounting conservatism on the pricing of syndicated bank loans. I provide evidence that banks more timely in loss recognition charge higher spreads for the same loan provision. I go on to consider what happens to this relationship during the financial crisis. During the crisis, banks more timely in loss recognition increase their spreads to a lesser extent than banks less timely in loss recognition. The policy implication is that banks more timely in loss recognition exhibit more prudent and less pro-cyclical debt pricing behaviour. The second empirical chapter examines the relationship between the value relevance of fair value gains and losses and bank risk in an international bank sample. One possibility is that, as risk increases, the scope for subjectivity in fair value estimates increases thereby potentially rendering the numbers less useful. However another possibility is that the relevance of faithfully reported fair value gains and losses increases as risk increases. The study provides evidence that the value relevance of fair value gains and losses is positively associated with bank risk prior to the crisis. During the crisis there is also evidence of a similar positive relationship, but it is not possible to draw firm conclusions for reasons discussed in the chapter. My research also shows that the fair value gains and losses of banks that elect to use the fair value option for assets that could have been accounted for using amortized costs are more value relevant and persistent. This study provides information to policy makers on the situations when fair values are most useful to investors. The third empirical chapter examines if the market rationally prices the loan loss provisions, and the reported fair value gains and losses of US banks. The chapter models the discretionary components of loan loss provisions and fair value gains and losses, and tests if the discretionary components are priced differently from their non-discretionary counterparts. The results provide little evidence that the market misprices operating cash flows, non-discretionary loan loss provisions, or fair value gains and losses (discretionary or otherwise). However there is evidence of significant mispricing of discretionary loan loss provisions. The lack of evidence on the mispricing of fair value gains and losses is consistent with the finding on the value relevance of fair value gains and losses in the second empirical chapter.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMartin Walker (Supervisor) & Asad Kausar (Supervisor)


  • Loan loss provisions
  • Fair value accounting

Cite this