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Simon English: Analyst puts boot into under-ambitious Aviva

Outlook Last year I ran a marathon in two and a half hours. Not really. It would be more like two and a half days.

But if I had and then announced that my intention was to complete the next one in three hours, no one would think I was stretching myself. No one would say I deserved a special pat on the back. I would appear to lack drive.

That's roughly the charge against Aviva in a somewhat stinging note from UBS analyst James Pearce. Since it's a piece of analysts research there's all the usual dreary pointy-headed stuff to wade through first. There's a detailed look at the strategic agenda. He thinks the shares are a buy. Yeah, yeah.

The meaty bit is this: "The group's approach to target setting has become counter-productive, in our view," writes the number cruncher.

"After missing a series of over-ambitious targets, the group has now gone to the opposite extreme and is setting targets that are below last year's actual results."