This paper analyzes the features of the boards of large listed European banks and their degree of “collective suitability” as formalized by the Capital Requirements Directives (CRD4) and evaluates whether closer proximity to the collective suitability regulatory paradigm affects banks’ performance, risk and risk-adjusted performance. We leverage Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs) to analyze board features and suitability (i.e. competence, diversity, independence and time commitment) jointly as a multifaceted, non-linear combination of all board variables, rather than evaluating the single variables individually as in the mainstream literature. Using a hand-collected dataset based on numerous features of boards of directors, we find that European banks’ boards can be classified in four different board archetypes characterized by different degrees of collective suitability. Our findings also suggest positive relationships between the degree of collective suitability and performance, risk-adjusted performance, and risk, confirming that the regulatory provisions on governance are going in the right direction, enhancing effective and prudent management.
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