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Keywords:

  • auditor quality;
  • signalling;
  • initial public offerings;
  • valuation

The initial public offering (IPO) market represents a classic example of information asymmetries where the incumbent owners have good information about the value of the business but potential investors have little data to guide them on the attractiveness of the new issue. In order to mitigate these information asymmetry problems, the sponsors of the IPO will try to enhance the credibility of the share offer through various signalling mechanisms. Of interest to this study is the role that auditing firms play in adding credibility to the new issue. In particular we test some recent theoretical models of auditor choice by examining the initial public offering market in Singapore. Our empirical results show that high risk IPOs are associated with high quality auditors. Further, high quality auditors are associated with higher IPO market valuations and they allow entrepreneurs to retain lower ownership stakes in the IPO while maintaining market valuation.