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Compliance with pension‐related mandatory disclosures and debt financing

Khadija S. Almaghrabi, Kwaku Opong and Ioannis Tsalavoutas

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2021, vol. 48, issue 1-2, 148-184

Abstract: Using hand‐collected data on the level of pension‐related mandatory disclosures required by International Accounting Standard 19 Employee Benefits, we test whether compliance levels with these disclosures convey information that affects firms’ access to the public instead of the private debt market, as well as the cost of their new debt issues. We document a higher tendency to access the public debt market for firms with higher levels of pension‐related disclosure. Furthermore, we find that firms with higher levels of pension‐related disclosure enjoy a lower cost in terms of issuance of public debt, but not a lower cost for private debt issues. Thus, the benefits of disclosure in reducing information risk are only realisable when creditors rely heavily on financial statements in their decision making, due to the limited access to private information. Additional tests reveal that high compliance levels effectively mitigate the negative effect of pension deficits on the cost of public debt. These findings provide novel evidence in the extant literature on the role of mandatory (and, in particular, pension‐related) disclosures on firms’ debt financing. They also have important policy implications.

Date: 2021
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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