Transparency and financial reporting in mid-twentieth century British banking
Until 1970, British banks were firm believers in the merits of ‘non-disclosure’, which obscured their ‘true’ profits and capital through profits smoothing and the use of hidden reserves. Many other companies adopted the same view for as long as legislation permitted, but there were special reasons why non-disclosure endured for longer in banking. This paper examines the persistence and demise of non-disclosure in banking, placing it in the context of the wider development of financial reporting in Britain, and highlights similarities and differences in financial reporting between banks and other types of company.
Post-print draft dated 30 November 2007. Final version published by Elsevier; available online at http://www.journals.elsevier.com/
Volume 33, Issue 1, March 2009, Pages 38–53