MAULED DATA AT BEAR STEARNS
BEAR STEARNS HAS HAD A pretty good investment record in recent years, but not as good as it wants us to believe. Its recently released proxy statement for the fiscal year ended June 30 gives a wrong figure for investment returns of other financial companies--showing Bear outpacing the Standard & Poor's Financial Miscellaneous Index by 12% over five years. Trouble is, the correct tally has this peers index doing slightly better than Bear.
Bear made the comparison because of a Securities & Exchange Commission rule mandating that all publicly traded companies match their performance over a five-year period with a peer group and a broad market index, such as the S&P 500. And returns must be calculated with dividends reinvested. Bear did that for its own return. But it didn't for the S&P peers index or for the S&P 500, which it actually beat by $78, not the $105 it first claimed.
The error was spotted by independent analyst Michael Flanagan. He found no similar problem with other Wall Street houses. A Bear spokeswoman calls the mistake a clerical error that has been corrected in an SEC filing.
EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.