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Related-Party Transactions


Related-Party Transactions refer to business deals or arrangements between two parties who have a pre-existing relationship, like a business and its partner, affiliate, or a member of executives. This can involve transactions such as sales, purchases, leasing etc. It’s essential for such transactions to be carried out at arm’s length and disclose properly for transparency and compliance.


The phonetics for “Related-Party Transactions” is:Reh-lay-ted Pahr-tee Tranz-ak-shuhns.

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Related-party transactions represent financial deals or arrangements between two parties that have a pre-existing relationship. This could include transactions between a parent company and its subsidiary, or a business and its executives or shareholders.</li> <li>While these transactions are legal and could even be beneficial for the business, they could also present potential conflict-of-interest issues. Since the parties involved may not be completely objective, these transactions may not always be carried out at arm’s length, potentially leading to unfair practices.</li> <li>Given the potential for misuse, related-party transactions are subject to specific disclosure requirements by accounting bodies and securities regulators. Companies are required to disclose these transactions in their financial statements to provide transparency to potential investors and other stakeholders about their financial practices and risk factors.</li></ol>


Related-Party Transactions are critical in the realm of business and finance because they can significantly influence a company’s financial health and transparency. These transactions involve a business arrangement or deal between two parties who share a pre-existing relationship, typically one of power or influence. The importance lies in the potential ethical implications and the risks related to conflict of interest, financial distortions, and fraud. Therefore, these transactions must be accurately reported and scrutinized in the company’s financial statements to ensure fairness and transparency. Ensuring proper disclosure helps to maintain investor confidence and allows for informed decision-making by stakeholders.


Related-party transactions are a necessary part of the business landscape, principally used to facilitate transactions between entities where there’s a pre-existing relationship, which can range from parent companies and their subsidiaries, to companies with common key management personnel, to substantial stockholders or immediate family members of principal stockholders. These transactions are commonly leveraged to achieve probable benefits like cost-savings or tax benefits. They can include things like a company buying goods from another company that its director owns, or a CEO renting property to his or her own company. By doing so, companies can negotiate better terms or rates than they would have received from unrelated third parties.However, as much as related-party transactions can be beneficial, they are often fraught with potential conflicts of interest and can create risks for both companies and their stakeholders. Due to its nature, there is an imminent risk of transactions not being conducted at arm’s length, thereby providing a mechanism for illicit activities such as transfer of profits, asset misappropriation and fraudulent financial reporting. Governments and regulatory bodies have established stringent rules and regulations to govern these transactions to prevent abuse, protect minor shareholders, and maintain confidence in the business community. Consequently, they usually require fair and full disclosure, ensuring that they are properly recorded, approved, and reported in financial statements to provide transparency and maintain market integrity.


1. Family Owned Businesses: This is a common example of a related-party transaction. A parent company might sell goods to a subsidiary company. For instance, a clothing brand’s manufacturing unit may sell its products to the retail branch of the same company. It’s crucial that these transactions are appropriately reported and price manipulation is avoided to protect shareholders and stakeholder interests.2. Intercompany Loans: Often companies within a corporate group lend to each other. This could be to manage cash flow, fund new ventures, or restructure existing operations. For instance, a multinational firm may provide intercompany loans to its foreign subsidiary to fund expansion activities. These are related-party transactions as it involves two entities within the same corporate group.3. Real Estate Transactions: A company may purchase property from its director or shareholder, or from another entity where one of their key management personnel holds a significant interest. For example, a CEO might own a piece of real estate that the company decides to purchase for a future office site. This is a related-party transaction, as the CEO is related to the company through his role.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Related-Party Transaction in finance?

A related-party transaction in finance refers to arrangements or deals involving two entities that have a pre-existing relationship—for example, a business transaction between a corporation and its board member or a family member of a key stakeholder.

Are Related-Party Transactions illegal?

While related-party transactions are not inherently illegal, they are subject to rigorous scrutiny due to the potential for conflict of interest or unfair practices. Existing laws mandate transparency and appropriate disclosures for such transactions to ensure fairness.

Why are Related-Party Transactions controversial?

These transactions can become controversial because they may not be conducted at arm’s length, meaning they could disproportionately benefit one party over the other. This can lead to potential misuse of company resources or even fraud.

How are Related-Party Transactions disclosed?

In most jurisdictions, companies are required to disclose their related-party transactions in their annual financial reports. The disclosure should include information about the nature of the relationship, details of the transactions, and what terms were agreed upon.

Who regulates the disclosure of Related-Party Transactions?

In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the disclosure of related-party transactions. Globally, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) provide guidelines on the disclosure of these transactions.

What happens if a company fails to properly disclose a related-party transaction?

If a company fails to disclose their related-party transactions properly, they could face penalties including fines, reputational damage, and in severe cases, criminal charges.

Are related-party transactions always unfair or unfavorable?

Not necessarily. While there’s potential for misuse, not all related-party transactions are unfair or unfavorable. Some can be beneficial for both parties involved, provided they are conducted ethically and transparently.

How can companies ensure the fairness of related-party transactions?

Companies can ensure fairness in these transactions by establishing strict policies for related-party transactions, comprehensive disclosure practices, and conducting regular audits. All transactions should be at arm’s length, meaning they occur based on fair market values, not favoritism.

Related Finance Terms

  • Conflict of Interest: A situation that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person because of the possibility of a clash between the person’s self-interest and professional or public interest.
  • Transaction Governance: Pertains to the policies, procedures, and processes guiding the execution and reporting of transactions within an organization, including related-party transactions.
  • Arms Length Principle: The condition or the fact that the parties of a business transaction are independent and on an equal footing, often used in related-party transactions to ensure fairness.
  • Financial Disclosure: The act of releasing all relevant information pertaining to a company’s business activities, financial position, and performance, which includes disclosing information of related-party transactions.
  • External Audit: An independent examination of a company’s financial statements and transactions including related-party transactions by an external (third-party) auditor.

Sources for More Information

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