If there is one change that the Securities and Exchange Commission is spot on about, it's these conference calls. They should be open to everybody. We have to level the playing field on these calls immediately.
A simple solution is to open them up on a listen-only mode. I think it is understandable that not everyone be allowed to ask questions. Calls would be interminable, otherwise.
Nor do I think the questions should be done by lottery. The analysts and large holders tend to ask the most insightful questions. Let them do the questioning. These are not press conferences; they are Q-and-As by people trying to model earnings.
But everyone should be able to access the information at the same time.
Similarly, every analyst meeting can be on the Web. I don't see why they aren't. This, too, would level the playing field.
The only question mark here is the broker-sponsored meeting. How do you allow everyone into a
tech conference when it is meant for clients? The answer here -- and I know this would lead to a big change -- is that these meetings should not be able to go over anything that would be considered new and different involving EARNINGS. That no new guidance can be given about new numbers.
Both the open conference call and the Web-cast meetings are two changes that would be welcome by all of the new traders who seek to do it themselves. These are vital decisionmaking sessions. They should be opened to all, large and small. They should be opened today.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at