Where I would like to agree on more open disclosure (I am generally all for this kind of thing ), I must disagree on opening-up the call. Qrtly calls are valuable because companies can be comfortable discussing the companies performance in a unrehersed format, without serious threat of lawsuit. When I read the boards, it sounds like lawsuits are what most fools are interested in anyway. Also, the reason the SEC does not come down one way or the other on the conference call issue is because it's not a simple issue. Analysts are expected to publish. The hope is that by participating in call, the analysts will get their information more effeciently and therefore be able to distribute their insight in a more timely fashion. With the advent of Internet, this distribution process is that much more organized. Because individuals don't publish, anytime I spend asking the IR dept. questions, post release, is certainly as or more selective than what the analysts are doing on the call. Besides, no new or "material" information is released during calls. The idea that we am missing-out on the real story is paranoid hype.If companies are forced to open their calls, they will effectively drive their buy and sellside analysts right back to one on one conversations post release. If open calls become widespread, they'll likely begin to resemble what goes on at annual shareholder meetings and other token "open" shareholder events. How many of you actually go to annual shareholder meetings anyway? Personally, although I like to do most of my own analysis, I also like having quality research as a back-up. One hour call, every quarter, where I can't participate, really doesn't tick me off too much (or effect my trading decisions). Individual investors beating their chest in the name of shareholder rights, without understanding the facts, and just because it feels good to crab, is counter-productive. In my opinion, this kind of blind hostility will only make matters worse.
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