The usefulness of annual reports of Islamic financial institutions in GCC countries to investors : the case of Kuwait
Over the last twenty years, there has been a rapid expansion of Islamic financial institutions that do not deal in interest-based transactions. The financial information of Islamic financial institutions issued in their annual reports is different in certain features from the annual reports offered by conventional financial institutions. This study attempts to investigate the usefulness of annual reports produced by these institutions to investors. In particular, the study is concerned with the perceptions of both institutional investors and customers in Kuwait about the annual reports of Islamic financial institutions. In addition, the study investigates the opinions of the preparers of annual reports of Islamic financial institutions in GCC countries regarding various aspects of the annual reports that could help investors make their investment decisions. To achieve the above objective, two types of questionnaires and interview were designed. The first type of questionnaire was carried out to solicit the investors' perceptions of annual reports, the importance they attached to them and the uses of these reports in their investment activities. The second type of questionnaire was specifically used to investigate the opinions of the preparers of annual reports regarding various aspects of annual reports that could help investors make their investment decisions. The interview method was mainly used to identify the customers' perceptions of Islamic financial institutions in Kuwait about the usefulness of these annual reports. The results of the questionnaire and the interviews indicated that the annual reports are considered by customers and investors to be the main source of information for investment decisions. The results also revealed that the timeliness and credibility of information were perceived by respondents as the most important qualitative characteristics that might affect the usefulness of information sources about the performance of Islamic financial institutions. Regarding the accounting regulation of financial information of Islamic financial institutions, the results indicated that there is a need for accounting information to be regulated in order to enhance the credibility of financial statements produced by these institutions and increase their comparability and transparency to the users.