GE's assets in these entities included .01 billion of receivables such as credit-card loans and equipment leases, which are packaged into diversified, asset-backed securities that are sold to investors.
Additionally, GE holds .4 billion of such assets in entities that offer investment contracts with municipalities.
It isn't as thick as the New York City phone book, but General Electric Co.'s 93-page 2001 annual report contained more details than in previous years -- and it may set a standard for other firms being pressured to expand their financial disclosure.
At a time when investors crave corporate nitty-gritty, hoping it will protect them from Enron-like surprises, GE said its report had 30% more financial information than the year before.
"Compared to the uncoordinated, costly, and often counter-productive manner in which financial failures are currently investigated, an NTSB-like organization would represent a real step toward rebuilding the confidence in our capital markets."Copeland concluded, "While all of us carefully consider each other's well-intended recommendations to reform our capital market system in general and my own profession in particular, we should remember one simple fact: When all of the systems and controls and regulations and laws have been put in place, success or failure will boil down to one thing-personal integrity-or the lack of it. Copeland embraced the creation of a new regulatory body, dominated by individuals from outside the profession, to oversee the profession, perform quality reviews of the practices of public company auditors, and discipline those auditors and their firms when appropriate.
The quality reviews would replace the current "peer review" process.
From its analysis, the NTSB recommends changes in policies and procedures to help prevent another disaster from happening for the same reasons.