10 Dec 2008  Working Papers

Market Reaction to the Adoption of IFRS in Europe

Executive Summary — How do investors in European firms react to a change in financial reporting? Prior to 2005, most European firms applied domestic accounting standards. The adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) would result in the application of a common set of financial reporting standards within Europe, and between Europe and the many other countries that require or permit application of IFRS. However, modification of IFRS by European regulators would result in European standards differing from those used in other countries, thereby eliminating some potential convergence benefits. This study investigates the equity market reaction to 16 events associated with the adoption of IFRS in Europe. Overall, the researchers' findings are consistent with investors expecting the benefits associated with IFRS adoption in Europe to exceed the expected costs. Key concepts include:

  • Overall, investors reacted positively to the increased likelihood of IFRS adoption.
  • Investors expected net benefits associated with increases in information quality, decreases in information asymmetry, more rigorous enforcement of the standards, and convergence.
  • The reaction for firms domiciled in code law countries is less positive, consistent with investors' concerns over enforcement of IFRS in those countries.

 

Author Abstract

This study examines the European stock market reaction to sixteen events associated with the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Europe. European IFRS adoption represented a major milestone towards financial reporting convergence yet spurred controversy reaching the highest levels of government. We find a more positive reaction for firms with lower quality pre-adoption information, which is more pronounced in banks, and with higher pre-adoption information asymmetry, consistent with investors expecting net information quality benefits from IFRS adoption. We also find that the reaction is less positive for firms domiciled in code law countries, consistent with investors' concerns over enforcement of IFRS in those countries. Finally, we find a positive reaction to IFRS adoption events for firms with high quality pre-adoption information, consistent with investors expecting net convergence benefits from IFRS adoption. Overall, the findings suggest that investors in European firms perceived net benefits associated with IFRS adoption.

Paper Information