The poetry of financial disclaimers

There’s a certain art and poetry to everyday life if you know where to look for it. One of the big differences, I believe, between happy people and sad people is that the happy among us are able to find joy and beauty in a bad situation. I often cite the great poet Raymond Stevens on this subject and his claim that “everything is beautiful in its own way/Like a starry summer night or a snow-covered winter’s day”.

 

In my real-life job working for a financial services company, I get to read a lot of writing that was never intended as anything more than stiff, informative prose: cash flow statements, auditors’ reports, etc. Occasionally, the author’s rhetoric will soar to unintended heights (perhaps while looking for a way to explain huge executive compensation packages, for example) but it’s usually pretty pedestrian stuff. Unless you can look at it a little differently.

 

The language that follows is a boilerplate disclaimer that appears in almost every financial document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. With a little imagination, an italic font, and the right line breaks, however, it’s a work of art:

 

These statements are intended to enjoy

The protection of the safe harbor

For forward-looking statements provided

By the Securities Exchange Act.

These statements can be identified

By the use of the word or phrase

“well positioned,”

“expect,”

“expects”

or “would have”

in the statements

 

These forward-looking statements

Are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors,

Domestically and internationally,

Including general economic conditions,

The cost of goods,

Competitive pressures,

Geopolitical events and conditions,

Levels of unemployment,

Levels of consumer disposable income,

Changes in laws and regulations,

Consumer credit availability,

Inflation, consumer spending patterns and debt levels,

Currency exchange fluctuations, trade restrictions,

Changes in tariff and freight rates,

Changes in the costs of gasoline, diesel fuel, other energy,

Transportation, utilities, labor and health care,

Accident costs, casualty and other insurance costs,

Interest rate fluctuations, financial and capital market conditions,

Developments in litigation to which the company is a party,

Weather conditions,

Damage to the company’s facilities from natural disasters,

Regulatory matters and other risks

 

The company discusses certain of these factors more fully

In its additional filings with the SEC,

Including its last annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC,

And this release should be read

In conjunction with that annual report on Form 10-K,

Together with all of the company’s other filings,

Including current reports on Form 8-K,

Made with the SEC through the date of this release

 

The company urges you to consider

All of these risks, uncertainties and other factors

Carefully

In evaluating the forward-looking statements

Contained in this release

 

The forward-looking statements

Made in this release

Are made only as of the date of this release,

And the company undertakes no obligation

To update them to reflect

Subsequent events

Or circumstances

 

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One Response to “The poetry of financial disclaimers”

  1. Lasitha Silva Says:

    You have added homor to business..creative stuff..!!

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