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Archive for January 6th, 2009

When I See It

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The aggregate plan activity, including net expense of $18 million in 2007, $34 million in 2006, and $237 million in 2005, and related disclosures are not material to us as of December 31, 2007 and we have not provided the disclosures generally required by SFAS No. 158.

10-k annual financial statement for fiscal year ending 12/31/2007
for Sprint Nextel Corporation

That, for pension funds that with an aggregate near $1.4 billion would easily rank Sprint Nextel within the top 25 S&P 500 companies ranked by pension size. Suggesting that if all companies with smaller pension plans could get away with the same shrug at GAAP, we’d see basic detail on pension plans for fewer than two dozen of the largest companies who are “required” to provide public disclosures (i.e., excluding such giants as Chrysler, who can get away with running off with taxpayer money without even disclosing who is on the corporate board).

A dodge useful to remember when speculating how much (or how little) transparency the new FASB rules on pension asset allocation disclosure standards might actually introduce. Nice bit of aurelian dreaming, but even the rare company or two that takes it to the limit isn’t going to be any better understood than under existing standards. What next, FASB?–Shouldn’t pension plans be required to disclose how much of their assets they’ve invested in Ponzi schemes? Like, when one of the top three credit rating agencies can repeatedly blunder atrociously its analysis of presently disclosed pension data without anybody caring, can we really expect GAAP’s new twists to better inform the public? Pass the salt, please.

When I see it (which won’t be for more than another year, at the earliest), I’ll know what not to believe.

As usual, this is just my own personal opinion, not an official position, I’ll get over it, yadda yadda yadda.

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Written by macheide

6 January 2009 at 3:53 pm

Posted in άctuary