Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maybe Dickens Should Have Put a Disclaimer on "Great Expectations"

I have some investments sitting at Morgan Stanley. Well, presently they are not sitting, they are doing jumping jacks, but that’s not my point. Today I received a press release from them (from Morgan Stanley, not from my stocks), announcing that Mitsubishi-UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) had “closed on a $9 billion dollar equity investment in Morgan Stanley (MS)”. Is “$9 billion dollar equity investment” a euphemism for “bailout”?
The press release summarizes the major elements of the deal and goes on to say how great it will be working together (a) to keep the doors open and (2) “to enhance their global footprints”. Personally, I’m tired of hearing about carbon footprints and global footprints and would much rather think about the actual footprints I will make in the sand when I go on the vacation that I now can’t afford because the world’s financial giants have crushed my savings with the prints of their calloused and smelly feet beset by toe jam. But I digress.
At the end of the press release there is a disclaimer:
“Cautionary Statements Concerning Forward-Looking Information
This press release contains forward-looking statements such as ‘expects,’ ‘looking forward’ and other similar words regarding the current expectations of MUFG. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those described in such forward looking statements as a result of various factors. MUFG does not undertake any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained herein, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.”
Those weasely MU FGers sure don’t want you to develop any actual expectations from what they “expect”. I read back through the release and the only words of that nature I could find were these: MUFG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are now looking forward to working with Morgan Stanley.” However, we actually might not be; who can say? Their disclaimer was longer than their promise.
The head of Morgan Stanley made far more definite statements, such as: “Today’s investment…will help us realize opportunities created by the continuing dislocation in the financial markets.” We will crush the weak and sick financial institutions. Since he didn’t say they “expect” to or “look forward” to, I assume they will actually do that.
Related blogs:
The "blog" of “unnecessary” quotation marks
Bill Brohaugh’s comments on euphemisms
PurpAnd’s various comments on investments (three separate entries – read them all). PurpAnd’s author is the husband of a friend of my sister’s daughter, so I think we are related. I “expect” to and “look forward” to meeting him someday.


Jenny said...

:) I can't wait to see them crush the weak and sick financial institutions! That will make for some good TV! Thanks for letting me in on the ground floor for my own investments.

Bill Brohaugh said...

Ground floor? No no no, but it rhymes. Trap door.