Determinants of Audit Committee Meeting Frequency: Evidence from a Voluntary Governance System

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Because authoritative statements on corporate governance (e.g., the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) are silent about how frequently audit committees should meet, corporate audit committees have considerable discretion in scheduling meetings. Although prior research shows the frequency of audit committee meetings is an important indicator of the effectiveness of the audit committee, we know very little about the underlying determinants of meeting frequency. In this study, we examine the determinants of the frequency of audit committee meetings in a voluntary governance system, New Zealand. We find that multiple directorships, audit committee independence, and an independent chair of the audit committee are negatively associated with meeting frequency. Other variables negatively associated with meeting frequency include a Big 4 auditor, growth opportunities, and regulated industry. Audit committee meeting frequency is positively associated with the size of the audit committee and the level of institutional and managerial ownership. We also find that financial expertise and board independence are positively associated with meeting frequency when the risk of financial misreporting is higher.