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Report: Asbestos Litigation Disaster for Investors Could Be Repeated With Nanotechnology Unless SEC and FASB Close Eight Major Loopholes Now Preventing Honest Disclosures
Date:6/16/2009

ose to investors whether the nanotubes they are producing are in this potentially harmful form, and if so, any studies that might help quantify the potential liability exposures.

EIGHT DISCLOSURE LOOPHOLES THE SEC/FASB SHOULD CLOSE

The IEHN study identifies eight loopholes in the current system of securities and accounting regulation that currently prevent honest accounting for a firm's potential liabilities and provides practical solutions:

  1. SHORTSIGHTEDNESS. Taking the short view and thereby effectively avoiding disclosure or estimation of potential longer term liabilities.
  2. CONCEALED SCIENCE. Concealing emerging science that forewarns of potential liabilities in the future.
  3. THE KNOWN MINIMUM. Disclosing only the "known minimum" of potential liabilities, even though a more realistic assessment might be so much larger that it would indicate the potential for a total wipe out of shareholder value.
  4. PRIVILEGING SECRECY. "Privileging" concealment, by using attorney-client privileges as a shield against generating a public estimate of liability for investors.
  5. INCONSISTENT ESTIMATES. Providing inconsistent liability estimates to insurers and investors, with larger estimates of liabilities typically provided to insurers than to investors.
  6. HIDDEN ASSUMPTIONS. Using hidden assumptions to minimize estimates of liability.
  7. MISSING BENCHMARKS. Refusing to benchmark liabilities against other companies whose published litigation results may demonstrate realistic estimates of liability.
  8. RISK-FREE PROXIES. Refusing to allow shareholders to place on the annual proxy ballot questions requesting disclosure of specific risks of concern to investors.

As the IEHN report notes: "Together, the eight lo
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SOURCE Investor Environmental Health Network, Falls Church, VA
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