Does the New European Banking Regulation discourage Earnings Management?

  •  Giuseppe Martino    
  •  Grazia Dicuonzo    
  •  Graziana Galeone    
  •  Vittorio Dell'Atti    


In the recent past, the financial crisis has shown important lacks in the EU regulation relating to the banking sector, making the introduction of a unified regulatory framework necessary. Since June 2009 the European Council has recommended a “Single Rulebook”, that is a unique and harmonizing discipline applicable to all financial institutions in the Single Market, become effective on January 2014. This prudential discipline requires much more minimum capital, liquidity and information transparency and it defines format and minimum standards of contents.

The aim of this research is to investigate the relation between the new mandatory disclosure and earnings management policies in banking sector realized through Loan Loss Provisions (LLP), the component of income statement mainly subject to manipulations, especially in form of earnings smoothing. Because the new integrated regulatory framework requires a more transparent disclosure, we expected that accruals manipulation (basically LLP) could be discouraged. The empirical analysis is based on a sample of 116 listed European banks over the period prior (2011-2012-2013) and after (2014-2015-2016) the effective date of the Single Rulebook. The evidence confirm our hypothesis suggesting that this banking reform discourages earnings manipulation and improves earnings quality, making financial reporting more useful for investors. The results are important to the regulatory institutions (such as European Union and European Central Bank) supporting more stringent discipline introduced by Basel III.

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