HEY DUDE - WHERE'S MY AIG SHARES?
On the 29th June 2009, I held 1700 AIG shares. On June 30, 2009, a 1-for-20 reverse stock split on AIG common shares became effective, after which my remaining 85 shares in AIG were worth almost nothing.
The US Government had previously stepped in to bail out AIG, and avoid a catastrophic impact on global markets, sovereign interests, and an inestimable amount of inter-related financial arrangements, the abandonment of which would have brought chaos to the global economy.
AIG's interests were as extensive as they were complex and it's important to be aware of the intricate weave of insurance and related financial arrangements AIG had developed over the years.
- Most of the airlines on the planet had a lease deal for their aircraft with ILFC - an AIG subsidiary;
- in Australasia, a vast array of currency exchange transactions were handled by an AIG subsidiary;
- even the US President's inauguration ceremony was managed by an AIG subsidiary company.
To let AIG go under would have been a disaster of global proportions from which many entities - including some governments - might never have recovered.
As foreign as it may have been to the world's biggest capitalist nation, de facto nationalisation was the only course of action open to the US Government at the time. Anything else made no sense at all.
So like many other ex-'AIGers' and shareholders, I shrugged my shoulders and hoped that by some means or other AIG could find a way out of the predicament.
Without the strength, experience, and acumen of Hank Greenberg at the helm, it looked a long and troublesome way back for what had been a great company.
Changing the name to Chartis for the global Property & Casualty operations was a step away from the toxicity of the AIG brand, and the upheaval and chaos at all levels of the organisation during that period must have been tough to absorb as a manager or employee.
Before the fan was hit by flying matter, I had resigned from my post as Managing Director of the AIG Australian Life Insurance operation and returned home to New Zealand, with my prized AIG share certificates safely tucked away in a Self-Managed Superannuation Account, courtesy of the Australian legislation. After the reverse stock split, my Financial Planner urged me to be philosophical as there was nothing anyone could do.
In essence, AIG had gone to the edge of oblivion - the US Government provided the rescue funds - and took my shares in return. Given the potential for a global meltdown if AIG had been allowed to collapse, handing over shares in return for the bail-out seemed like a small price to pay.
BUT WAIT - here we are in October 2012, the company that was AIG, is Chartis, and is about to become AIG again, is prospering.!!
IT'S NOT ONLY PROSPERING - IT'S POSITIVELY BOOMING!!
The turnaround performance in 3 years has been outstanding;
- the US Government has been repaid,
- profits are up to pre-crisis levels (almost) and the smiles are slowly returning to the once-sad faces of AIG executives, management, and staff worldwide,
- the share price is at US$36 or thereabouts,
- the head honchos from New York and elsewhere in the Chartis/AIG empire are in New Zealand to announce a major sponsorship deal for the most successful sporting franchise around - the world-famous All Blacks rugby team,
- shareholders have seen a steady increase in the value of Chartis stock,
- management and staff have come through the tough times and will no doubt be appropriately rewarded,
- even the name AIG - once the target of abuse and derision has been rehabilitated, with a new vibrant logo about to be released, and a new era of prosperity dawns.
One question to the US President whomsoever he happens to be after the November election -
WHERE'S MY SHARES?
The gumment took my shares in exchange for a loan; the loan has been repaid, so can I have my 1615 shares back - please?
You got your money back, so I'd like my shares back.
The Laird of Albany