There are more than seven words you shouldn’t say in financial filings — stuff like “we promise”, “we’re sure”, etc. — but the newly retooled SEC Edgar full-text search got me adolescently curious about a subset of words. Okay, profanities, if you really must know. Could I find Anglo-Saxon epithets in financial filings?
The answer, interestingly enough, is Yes. I’ll leave others to their explorations, but the most bizarre find I made was for the word [ed., Apologies to those 18 and under, and to others with tender sensibilities] “fuck”. Its single appearance is in a filing last year amending City National Bancshares’ certificate of incorporation. The filing contains an unusual insertion — highlighted in blue below — in an early paragraph of legalese:
“you fucking new when i asked you liar”? Now, who wrote that ungrammatical (new/knew) phrase? Almost certainly not Edward R. Wright, the company CFO who is signatory to the filing. So, was it his secretary? A member of the company’s legal team passed pissed off notes to another lawyer? A wrong-footed instant message to a former lover? The possibilities are many, but it’s certainly one of the more bizarre things I have ever seen in a financial filing.