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AIG gets all aspirational on us…

As we were skimming AIG’s (AIG) whopping 600-page 10-Q that they filed late yesterday, something popped out at us: the company’s repeated use of the word aspirational. That’s the type of word that is more commonly found at retailers to describe consumer behavior, as opposed to hopes and dreams about earnings.

Indeed, just yesterday, Starbucks (SBUX) put out this release announcing new director Joshua Cooper Ramo. In the release, Ramo was quoted as saying that “Starbucks is an aspirational, exciting brand with unquestioned global relevance.” We’ve seen similar use of the word aspirational in releases by Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Ethan Allen (ETH).

But in yesterday’s filing, AIG elevated its hopes and dreams to a whole other level. For one, the word was used 19 times in the filing, which, needless to say, is a lot. Here’s a snip from the one and only risk factor in the Q:

AIG’s ability to achieve its long-term aspirational goals with respect to ROE and EPS and other long-term aspirational goals are based on significant assumptions, and AIG’s actual results may differ, possibly materially and adversely, from these goals. In setting its long-term aspirational goals for ROE and EPS, AIG has made significant assumptions…It is very likely that one or more of the assumptions will not be met or will deviate materially from what is assumed. Accordingly, AIG’s actual results are likely to differ from these aspirational goals and the difference may be material and adverse.

We read a lot of filings — especially at this time of year — and we honestly can’t recall another company using the word so liberally, especially when it comes to its financial projections. The WSJ also picked up on this and has some more details in this story, which reports that AIG executives are “about to embark on a two-week global road show for a large public stock offering that will mark the beginning of the insurer’s exit from majority U.S. ownership.” As the WSJ notes, the US Government owns just over 92% of AIG.

Image Source: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

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It’s the final days of 10-Q season and companies are busy burying investors in lots and lots of paper. As we noted above, AIG’s filing came in at over 600 pages yesterday. And Citigroup’s 10-Q yesterday was over 220 pages. Do you know what companies are burying in all that paper? FootnotedPro subscribers do. FootnotedPro: Interesting. Actionable. Profitable. To find out more, qualified institutional investors can please contact us.