Conditions leading up to and surrounding the global financial crisis prompted an increasing number of firms to create board-level risk oversight committees (RCs). The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (U.S. House of Representatives 2010) even legislates RCs for certain large banks. Distinct from audit committees, RCs present a unique setting to extend our understanding of the relation between emerging governance mechanisms and auditing. Using a sample of 3,980 U.S.-listed banks from 2003–2011, we find that on average, the presence of RCs is associated with higher audit fees. Our results are robust to multiple specifications, including self-selection and propensity score matched samples. For a reduced sample of 458 firms that employ an RC we also examine RC characteristics. We find RC independence and audit committee overlaps are associated with lower audit fees and RC size, relative to board size, is associated with higher audit fees. Supplemental analysis provides discussion of the potential audit environment implications of mandatory versus voluntary risk management controls.
Data Availability: The data used are publicly available from the sources cited in the text.