I usually turn to CEO letters to shareholders to show that the those letters sometimes reflect the corporation's financial data through a slightly warped mirror.
But today I'll quote from Donald A. Guloien, President and Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of Manulife in the company's 2011 annual report. Here we see a Canadian's view of the difference in govermental monetary policies between the U.S. and Canada:
"Yet my optimism is tempered by some of the challenges posed by regulatory uncertainty in our industry. I am proud to be the CEO of a leading Canadian company, and I know ﬁrst-hand that respect for the prudence and stability of the Canadian government and the Canadian ﬁnancial services industry has made us attractive to many knowledgeable people around the world. But I fear that overly conservative Canadian accounting and capital standards are further tilting an uneven playing ﬁeld, depicting Canadian insurers as weaker than we really are and lessening our ability to compete in some areas. The impact of this goes beyond the technical and esoteric. When Manulife’s ﬁnancial performance is viewed through the lens of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, our company earned $3.8 billion in 2011, a stark contrast to the $129 million reported under Canadian rules. If the intent of highly conservative mark-to-market accounting principles used in Canada is to ensure companies are transparent about the value of their assets and obligations, policymakers cannot be insensitive to the resulting volatility."
It's refreshing to see a CEO delivering something besides a sterile and self-congratulatory header to an annual report, even if it does come across as a bit of sour grapes.