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Required CEO stock ownership: Consequences for risk-taking and compensation

Neil Brisley (), Jay Cai and Tu Nguyen

Journal of Corporate Finance, 2021, vol. 66, issue C

Abstract: In response to corporate governance concerns, SEC disclosure rules, and pressure from Institutional Shareholder Services, most large U.S. public firms have adopted executive stock ownership requirements (‘SORs’) in recent years. Compared to CEOs already in compliance, CEOs who have not yet fulfilled the requirement at adoption subsequently increase stockholdings, exposing themselves to more company-specific risk, potentially providing risk-reduction incentives and diminishing their subjective valuation of firm equity. We find that these CEOs on average subsequently reduce firm risk through diversifying M&A, less financial leverage, and smaller R&D investment. They experience a deterioration in firm performance and valuation, each associated with firms that do reduce risk, but receive significantly increased stock grants. Our evidence suggests that boards should exercise judgment when adopting this popular governance initiative.

Keywords: Stock ownership requirement; Managerial diversification; Risk-taking; Executive compensation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G11 G34 M12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2020.101850

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