We examine whether bank auditor effort, proxied by audit fees, is related to asset securitization risks (ASR) and whether the incremental auditor effort attributed to ASR is related to audit quality. Our sample period encompasses the global financial crisis (GFC) and the introduction of FAS No. 166 and FAS No. 167, which were intended to constrain accounting for asset securitizations as sales. Using U.S. bank holding company (BHC) data from 2003 to 2013, we find significantly positive associations between ASR and audit fees for Big N auditors but not for non-Big N auditors. Pre-GFC audit fees have a positive association with ASR, and are more significant for BHCs reporting a loss. After the implementation of FAS Nos. 166 and 167, this positive association persists, mainly driven by BHCs reporting a loss. With respect to the incremental auditor effort attributed to ASR, we find that, prior to the GFC, the incremental audit effort by Big N auditors, but not by non-Big N auditors, reduced the likelihood of subsequent restatements and constrained reported gains on securitizations.
JEL Classifications: G14; G21; M42.