Bloomberg reports that the company reported in an SEC filing this week that it received the request last month about the discount rate and discount rate method used to determine the performance of its pensions. The company said the agency asked for the information “as part of its investigation of accounting issues involving such benefits at GM.”
The SEC made similar requests to General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. last year (See More Disclosures on Pension Accounting Probe List ). At the time the agency said it requested the information from the automakers as well as Delphi Corp., Navistar International Corp., Boeing Co. and Northwest Airlines Corp. due to their size and not because of any wrongdoing (See Report: Pension Accounting Targets Chosen for Size ).
The SEC is studying whether companies inflate profit or minimize earnings swings by using unreasonable assumptions to value pension assets and liabilities, said Bloomberg. US accounting rules let a company assume a positive annual return on pension fund assets such as stocks even if the assets lost value that year.