SYNOPSIS

Until recently, all Foreign Private Issuers (FPIs) listed on U.S. exchanges were required to reconcile their non-U.S. GAAP financial statements with U.S. GAAP in their annual Form 20-F filing. In November 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eliminated this requirement for FPIs reporting in IFRS. We use this rule change to provide evidence on whether the U.S. GAAP reconciliation affects investors' perception of the degree of comparability between FPIs and domestic U.S. firms reporting in U.S. GAAP. To do so, we test whether the SEC's rule change reduced information transfer from IFRS-reporting FPIs to comparable U.S. firms at the FPIs' earnings announcements. Consistent with the U.S. GAAP reconciliation increasing investors' perception of comparability between FPIs and U.S. firms, we find that information transfer from IFRS-reporting FPIs to comparable U.S. firms decreased significantly after the rule change, on average. We also find evidence consistent with a decrease in comparability for financial analysts forecasting earnings for comparable U.S. firms. In contrast, we find no evidence of a similar decrease in information transfer for FPIs not reporting in IFRS that are unaffected by the rule change.

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