Wachtell Lipton, the powerhouse Wall Street law firm, on Tuesday expressed its support for ditching quarterly corporate financial reports.
In a note to clients, partner Martin Lipton wrote, “We may still achieve a capitalism in which long-term, responsible investors champion boards and management teams that resist pressures to maximize short-term stock prices at the expense of sustainable long-term investment and wealth creation.”
The firm was inspired by work this summer by Legal & General Investment Management, a European business organization with at least $1.1 trillion in property under management.
According to Wachtell Lipton, Legal & General, which did not return a request for remarks, communicated with the boards of directors of the leading 350 corporations on the London Stock Exchange expressing support for a move away from quarterly earnings reports.
According to the firm, Legal & General said “Providing the market with quarterly updates adds little value for companies operating in long-term business cycles.”
“U.S. companies do not, as of yet, have the option of discontinuing quarterly reporting,” Wachtell Lipton noted, though they do have the liberty to avoid quarterly earnings guidance.
Many organizations have opted to turn their back on such intermittent forecasts.
Legal & General’s move comes after similar calls from financial consultants and managers, including the famous Blackrock Inc. and McKinsey & Co., to stop the “scourge” of short term thinking on Wall Street and in Washington.
Speaking on the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm said in writing, “(SEC) should keep these observations in mind in pursuing disclosure reform initiatives and otherwise acting to promote, rather than undermine, the ability of companies to pursue long-term strategies.”
Whether or not U.S corporations should ditch quarterly earnings reports remains a matter of discussion, with such notable media as The Wall Street Journal seeking the opinions of the public.