LOS ANGELES — The 25 largest pension funds held in aggregate about 3.16% of the stock of the 10 companies ranking worst in accounting and corporate governance issues, according to rankings by Audit Integrity LLC as of March 31.
Of the companies ranked best in accounting and corporate governance reporting and disclosure, the 25 funds held 3.18% in aggregate.
El Paso Corp. ranked worst, according to the Audit Integrity study. It was followed, in ascending order, by Merck & Co. Inc., AES Corp., Biogen Idec Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., International Game Technology, Dow Chemical Co., UST Inc., Bank of New York Co. Inc. and Cinergy Corp.
Old Republic International Corp. ranked best. It was followed by, in descending order, Southern Co., FPL Group, American International Group Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., FirstEnergy Corp., KeyCorp, Valero Energy Corp., Magna International Inc. and Torchmark Corp.
The 25 pension funds held an aggregate 3.5% in both El Paso and Old Republic.
The standings of the best/worst companies reflect Audit Integrity's accounting and governance ranking, its summary of a company's accounting and corporate governance behavior. Audit Integrity, based in Los Angeles, ranks companies as conservative, average, aggressive or very aggressive, the latter the riskiest in terms of the metrics for investors. The bottom 10 companies ranked very aggressive, while the top 10 ranked conservative.