You wanted more transparency? Lehman will transparent you till you drop

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I’m sitting here listening to Lehman Brothers executives explain how they lost $2.8 billion in the last quarter, and pledge not to do it again. CEO Dick Fuld started off the conference call a half-apologetic, half-gung-ho little speech, which I found entirely comprehensible. But then Fuld mentioned that he’d heard investors and analysts ask for more transparency in Lehman’s financial reporting, then handed off to the new CFO, Ian Lowitt. That was 40 minutes ago, and Lowitt is still going. He’s explaining the details of individual real estate transactions, he’s explaining how exactly Lehman goes about pricing hard-to-value securities, he’s making me utterly lose the thread. I’m not an expert on investment bank conference calls, but I have listened to a few before, and I’ve never heard anything remotely like this. It’s so much danged transparency that I can’t imagine anybody being able to see through it.

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