Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The scandal of American pension fund accounting

"IBM (NYSE: IBM) just raised its return expectations for its pension fund to 10%. [Editor's note: Companies can make adjustments to the assumptions that make up the value of their pension funds, which can affect reported earnings.] Most companies are at 9%. We think 6% is more realistic. They may believe it -- they're honest people -- but subconsciously they believe it because they WANT to believe it. It makes earnings good so they can promote the stock.” by Charlie Munger (May 8, 2001)

"The reason accountants don't say anything is best summed up by the saying, 'Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.' I think you're getting very foolish numbers in American accounting. I don't think it's willful dishonesty, but it might as well be." by Charlie Munger (May 8, 2001)

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