Political Connections and Earnings Quality: Evidence from India

Political Connections and Earnings Quality: Evidence from India

R. Narayanaswamy Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), Bangalore

November 25, 2013
IIM Bangalore Research Paper No. 433

This paper investigates the association between political connections and earnings quality in Indian companies. Recent corporate scandals (e.g., 2G mobile phone licences, coal block allocations, iron ore and granite mining licences) have underlined the political connectedness of Indian business entities. The increasing role of the private corporate sector in the economy in the wake of the economic liberalization has strengthened the traditional links between business organizations and the political system. The involvement of politicians in business and of business organizations in politics, the participation of senior civil servants in political and business-related activities and the dependence of political parties on donations from business organizations for funding elections have contributed to the importance of political connections in business. We find that connected firms have lower earnings quality than non-connected firms and are more likely to engage Big Four auditors.

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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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