Due to the high incidence of fraud in Australia, regulatory reports suggest strengthening the monitoring role of the board of directors (BOD). These reports recommend greater independence and no duality (chairperson of the BOD should not be the CEO) on the BOD. While there is no Australian evidence, research evidence in the U.S. supports these suggested reforms. It is not clear whether the research evidence observed in the U.S. will generalize to the Australian setting because of contextual differences. This study extends the U.S. findings to the Australian context and investigates the relationship between two attributes of the BOD, independence and duality, and fraud. In addition, I examine whether institutional ownership plays a role in the context of fraud. The more highly concentrated institutional ownership in Australia suggests the presence of some relationship. Using a matched sample of fraud and no‐fraud firms from 1988–2000, I find that as the percentage of independent directors and the percentage of independent institutional ownership increases, the likelihood of fraud decreases. As expected, the results show a positive relationship between duality and the likelihood of fraud. These results support the call for strengthening the composition and structure of the BOD in Australia.

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