Unintended consequences of changing accounting standards:the case of fair value accounting and mandatory dividends

Goncharov, Igor and van Triest, Sander (2014) Unintended consequences of changing accounting standards:the case of fair value accounting and mandatory dividends. Abacus, 50 (3). pp. 342-368. ISSN 0001-3072

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Abstract

A growing body of literature investigates the interaction of changes in accounting standards with institutions such as investor protection laws and corporate governance mechanisms. We examine the unintended consequences of fair value accounting in determining mandated preferred dividends. We study the case of Russian energy conglomerate UES, which had a good corporate governance track record and a consistent dividend history. Following its adoption of fair value accounting, UES reported the highest quarterly profit in world corporate history, but it subsequently omitted dividends for all its shareholders. The case analysis suggests that the transitory nature of fair value adjustments and the interaction with the investment policy were important considerations in justifying the dividend omission. The reduction in preferred dividends was not offset by any capital gains, and led to a wealth transfer from preferred to ordinary shareholders. Thus, requiring the use of fair value accounting when determining the dividend distribution base can lead to unintended consequences and increase agency costs for minority shareholders.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Abacus
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1402
Subjects:
ID Code:
70925
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
19 Sep 2014 10:06
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
07 Oct 2020 03:15