AIG's shares were down 1% in afternoon trading to $34.61, however, this was on a day of otherwise strong results for the broad market and the financial sector. The broad indexes were all showing 2% gains, after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said that the ECB was ready to buy unlimited quantities of short-dated Spanish and Italian bonds in the secondary market if either Rome or Madrid requested a full International Monetary Fund-style reform program.

There was also good economic news at home, with ADP reporting that nonfarm private employers added 201,000 full-time employees during August, increasing from an upwardly revised 173,000 in July.

When considering AIG's motivations in announcing a smaller-than-expected sale of AIA shares and authorizing a disappointing share buyback, Nadel echoed Shanker's concerns about the Federal Reserve stepping in, saying "it seems plausible to us that regulators may have informed AIG that it shouldn't push its capital mgmt activities any higher."

Nadel added that if the AIA sale comes in at $2 billion and the AIG common share buyback at $5 billion, "our 2013/14E EPS could fall from current $3.65/$4.30 to about $3.32/$3.90, respectively, or a cut of about 9%."

AIG's shares trade for 10 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of $3.48 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

AIG Chart AIG data by YCharts

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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