Professor Stephen Penman, Columbia Business School
Value stocks earn higher returns than growth stocks on average, but it is well documented that those returns come with risk. This paper supplies an understanding of that risk in terms of fundamentals. The fundamental analysis informs that, in buying value stocks, the investor may be trapped into buying firms where prospective earnings growth is quite risky. However, the trap can be avoided by recognising how earnings and book value are accounted for in financial statements. Specifically, the application of conservative accounting informs the investor ex ante of the risk involved. A striking finding emerges from the accounting analysis: high B/P (“value”) is associated with higher expected earnings growth, but growth that is risky. This contrasts with the standard labeling that nominates low B/P as “growth” with lower risk. “Value” actually buys risky growth.
Stephen H. Penman is the George O. May Professor in the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at Columbia in 1999 he was the L.H. Penney Professor in the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. From 1990-95 he served as Chairman of the Professional Accounting Program and Chairman of the Accounting Faculty at Berkeley where he initiated and chaired the Haas School’s Annual Conference on Financial Reporting. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and the London Business School, and as the Jan Wallander Visiting Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics.
Professor Penman received a first-class honours degree in Commerce from the University of Queensland, Australia, and MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. His research is concerned with the valuation of equity and the role of accounting information in security analysis. He has published widely in finance and accounting journals and has conducted seminars on fundamental analysis and equity evaluation for academic and professional audiences. In 1991, he was awarded the notable Contribution to Accounting Literature Award by the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and in 2002 was awarded the American Accounting Association and Deloitte & Touche Wildman Medal for his book, Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation, published by McGraw-Hill/Irwin. His latest book, Accounting for Value, was published in 2011. He is managing editor of the Review of Accounting Studies and is on the editorial board of the Schmalenbach Business Review. In 2009, Professor Penman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Stockholm School of Economics at the School centenary celebration ceremony, which took place in Stockholm Cathedral in the presence of the King and Queen of Sweden.