The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires foreign firms wishing to list their securities on the U.S. exchanges to convert their financial statements to U.S.-based generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in a reconciliation filing known as Form 20-F. This paper extends prior research analyzing the importance of the SEC requirement by examining the value relevance to U.S. capital markets of Form 20-F reconciliation information under two additional hypotheses related to: i) investors' anticipation of the reconciliation, and ii) investors' perception of foreign countries' enforcement and reliability in applying local accounting rules. We argue that the information content of the Form 20-F reconciliation data is preempted (at least partially) on the date of foreign earnings announcements because of investor anticipation of these reconciliations. Therefore, only significant unanticipated reconciliations exhibit value relevance on the date of filing. In addition, investor perception of the reliability of the reconciliations and the degree of confidence in foreign authorities enforcing local GAAP also affect the value relevance of the reconciliation data. We hypothesize that reconciliations made by firms from countries with mature and developed capital markets should be more value relevant to U.S. investors. Our results show that both unexpected foreign earnings and anticipated reconciliations to U.S. GAAP are significantly associated with unexpected market returns during the week of earnings announcements. The region of the foreign country is also significantly associated with market returns. However, unexpected reconciliations are not significantly associated with unexpected market returns during the week of Form 20-F filing.
El-Gazzar, Samir M.; Finn, Philip M.; and Jacob, Rudy A., "Market Revaluations of Foreign Listings’ Reconciliations to U.S. Financial Reporting GAAP" (2001). Faculty Working Papers. Paper 45.