WHY do we bother with disclaimers on investor disclosures and investor relations websites? No one reads them. Not even the companies that try to shelter themselves behind them.
Look at the disclaimer in the screenshot below. It’s from a consensus earnings estimates page on a Thomson Financial-hosted investor relations website. You’ve probably seen the same thing hundreds, if not thousands of times before.
Obviously, Washington Mutual doesn’t want you to think they agree with the consensus estimates. I think they make that pretty clear.
But here’s the thing. Those numbers above the disclaimer are not actually for Washington Mutual. You will find Washington Mutual’s consensus estimates here on its website, which is hosted by Thomson Financial.
If you go there, you’ll see that WaMu’s estimates are very different from the ones in the screenshot.
That’s because the disclaimer in the above screenshot is actually on another company’s Thomson-supported website. Someone copied the disclaimer from Washington Mutual but forgot to change the company name.
Below is a screenshot of the above disclaimer in context of the full page. As you can see, this disclaimer for Washington Mutual appears on Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s website. It has been that way for a little while.
I’ll say it again, no one reads disclaimers. Of course, it could just be that few people are reading such pages at all.
Update: While they don’t read disclaimers, someone tied to Anadarko reads our blog because a day after this appeared, the disclaimer was fixed.