In this paper we use a sample of recognized Australian asset revaluations to examine whether there are differences in the reliability of asset revaluations made by boards of directors versus independent (external) appraisers.
As a first step, we examine the determinants of the choice between director-based revaluations and those undertaken by independent appraisers. We find that independent appraisers are more likely to be used for revaluations of land and buildings and directors are more likely for investments, plant and equipment, and intangibles. We interpret this as evidence of firms harnessing directors' knowledge of asset specificities.
We also find that firms with less-independent boards are more likely to use independent appraisers. We interpret this as evidence of substitutability between governance mechanisms.
As for differences in reliability, we find that independent appraisers’ revaluations of plant and equipment are more reliable than those by directors. However, we are unable to detect a difference for other classes of non-current assets. We define reliability in terms of ex post adjustments of recognized value increases. Reliability is determined by an examination of the extent to which upward revaluations are later reversed.