Brexit disclosure – companies’ honest or bogus perceptions of risk?

Camelia Vasilescu, Kenneth Hugh Weir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Motivated by the recent FRC Brexit-risk reporting guidance, we investigate empirically how internationally diversified companies and those operating in industries with high/low exposure voluntarily responded to this. The paper also examines the pessimistic tone of risk disclosure in annual reports by employing Loughran and McDonald (2011)’s business dictionary capable of gauging various attributes of uncertainty. We find that while almost all FTSE 100 companies discuss this topic in their 2016 to 2019 annual reports, more international involvement results in a greater amount of information and fewer Brexit risk factors. This suggests that while internationally diversified companies respond to more pressure from regulatory requirements, they have already taken internal measures to minimize their exposure to Brexit and therefore, have downgraded their assessment of Brexit risks and uncertainties, and report it to investors accordingly. The results hold true regardless of the location of risk disclosures in the Strategic report and Financial Statements and notes. We also reveal evidence that there are some differential effects among industries depending on the exposure to the Brexit shock. Finally, our results show that internationalisation and industry exposure explain some variation in the negative tone of Brexit discussions. The increased risk reporting and negative tone may be driven by either an intentional bias or justifiably, by a lack of managerial information endowment (Dobler, 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Article number107034
JournalJournal of Accounting and Public Policy
Early online date15 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2022

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