Exploratory evidence on the nature, extent and determinants of disclosures in Libyan Banks' Annual Reports

Musa M Krebat, Bruce Burton, Louise Crawford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose - The paper investigates disclosure practices in the annual reports of Libyan banks in the run-up to the opening of the nation’s first stock exchange. Banks dominate this embryonic market but very little research has examined the extent (or determinants) of transparency achieved by these firms, an issue argued by Stiglitz and others to be crucial in the post-crisis era. Currently, no detailed evidence of disclosure practices prior to the launch of the exchange exists, making an accurate assessment of the market’s impact in this area impossible; the present study therefore contributes in this regard as well.

    Design/methodology/approach - The study employs two main methods: (i) a disclosure index-based analysis of mandatory and overall disclosure levels; and (ii) panel regression analysis of the determinants of the overall disclosure levels.

    Findings - The results suggest that while many items are disclosed on a regular basis, on average barely more than half of all possible items appear in the annual reports. As regards compliance with mandatory requirements, the figures are higher but, worryingly, begin to fall as the launch of the market neared. The results of panel-data analysis suggest that the overall extent of disclosure is non-random, instead reflecting the profits achieved by the banks concerned.

    Originality/value - This paper is the first detailed analysis of disclosure practices in Libyan banks and the results suggest that market authorities should seek improvement in the figures, in particular the reversal of a downward trend in compliance with mandatory requirements. The paper reports a link between profit level and disclosure propensity; this evidence might be of use to regulators charged with increasing disclosure levels in the future. More generally, the results provide a comparative basis on which to assess, once the current political difficulties have ended, the effect of the market’s launch on disclosure practices in Libya.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Accounting in Emerging Economies
    Volume3
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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