The financial firms that suffered the greatest stock-price declines during the economic crisis tended to be those with the highest proportion of independent directors, according to a new study.

The study, presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association, examined 296 major financial institutions around the world with assets exceeding $10 billion over the seven quarters from January 2007 through September 2008. The sample consisted of banks, brokerages, and insurance companies in 30 countries, including 125 in the U.S. and 131 in Europe.

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