Readability of Operational Risk Disclosures of Banks

Open access

Abstract

Operational risk has been acknowledged as a major source of material failures in financial firms. Despite the increased concern of financial institutions and their stakeholders on this topic, the literature that deals specifically with the operational risk disclosure in the banking system is scarce. The present research investigates the readability in transparency reports of Romanian banks, and focuses in particular on the operational risk disclosures. The sample consists of 13 commercial banks operating in Romania in 2017. A concise transparency report is characterized by clarity in the expression of concepts, usage of as few words as possible, limited use of technical terms and avoidance of highly generic disclosures. Drawing upon prior research, we expect that banks with lower levels of performance are foggier (i.e. less concise) in order to improve the image resulting from their transparency reports. Additionally, it is expected that the longer an entity has been established, the higher the quality of disclosures, thus the transparency reports of older banks are more concise compared to the recently established banks. Moreover, we posit that larger banks are more likely to provide more readable reports. The research is part of the larger debate related to disclosure and its various impacts on both the recipient and the giver of information. The main contribution is the innovative approach consisting in the textual analysis of transparency risk reports. To the best of our knowledge, we are not aware of any study that examined conciseness in the setting of operational risk disclosure by banks.

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