Why the Going-Concern Anomaly: Gambling in the Market?

Why the Going-Concern Anomaly: Gambling in the Market?

Asad Kausar Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Alok Kumar University of Miami – School of Business Administration

Richard Taffler University of Warwick – Finance Group

April 11, 2013

This paper investigates why the market fails to incorporate the adverse information conveyed by the going-concern (GC) opinion in a timely manner. Our main conjecture is that the lottery-like features of GC stocks attract a predominantly retail clientele who use those stocks to gamble in the market. Such trading behavior leads to the underreaction to the GC event and significant downward drift in prices over the following year. Using a sample of first time GC firms from 1993 to 2007 we show that GC stocks have extreme lottery-type characteristics. We further demonstrate that retail investors have a proclivity to be net-buyers of these stocks around the GC event, and such contrarian behavior is directly related to the lottery-like nature of GC firms. Using individual investor-level trading, socioeconomic, and demographic data we confirm that retail investors who are known to have a greater propensity to gamble are more likely to trade GC stocks. We rule out several alternative explanations for our findings, and conclude that gambling-motivated trading behavior of retail investors is the most likely driver of the anomalous short-term market reaction and the associated longer-term market response following the release of going-concern audit opinion.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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