Are Earnings Forecasts Informed by Proxy Statement Compensation Disclosures?

Stephannie A. Larocque*, Melissa A. Martin, Beverly R. Walther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which market participants use compensation payouts released in the DEF 14A proxy statement (DEF14A) to assess future firm performance by examining sell-side analysts' earnings forecasts. Consistent with prior work, we confirm that CEO compensation unexplained by current observable economic factors is positively associated with future firm performance. We find that both the likelihood that analysts revise their forecasts following release of the DEF14A and the magnitude and direction of analysts' forecast revisions are positively associated with unexplained CEO compensation. These associations are stronger after the SEC required additional compensation-related disclosures in late 2006 but lower if the firm has weak corporate governance or more precise other information. Analysts' reactions are not complete, however. Analysts' forecast errors measured months after the DEF14A release are associated with past unexplained compensation, especially in the pre-2006 period and for analysts who do not revise at the DEF14A release. Taken together, our results suggest that compensation payouts released in the DEF14A contain useful forward-looking information that is recognized by at least some sophisticated market participants and that the increased disclosure regulations assisted market participants in incorporating this information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-772
Number of pages32
JournalContemporary Accounting Research
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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