The financial world uses a number of words and phrases not in everyday usage. Aberdeen has compiled a comprehensive list to clarify these terms and assist your decision making.
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Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and its subsidiary companies.
- Active Investment Management
A style of investment management that relies on research, forecasts and experience to make decisions about which securities to hold in a portfolio. Actively-managed funds generally aim to outperform their benchmark. (See also passive management.)
Performance of a fund in excess of that which would be expected. The expected return is equal to the market return multiplied by the fund’s beta. A high alpha value implies that the stock has performed better than would have been expected given its beta (volatility). (See also beta.)
- Alternative Investment Market (AIM)
The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is the London Stock Exchange's market for small, young and growing companies. It gives investors the opportunity to invest and trade in the shares of these companies on a market regulated by the London Stock Exchange.
- Annual General Meeting (AGM)
This is the annual shareholder meeting. All companies, except the very smallest, are required by law to hold such a meeting once a year. During the meeting shareholders are allowed to ask questions of the board. Additionally, the board of directors will explain the background to the company's trading record for that year.
- Annual Management Fee
A charge made every year for running your fund. It is usually a percentage of your investment.
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) aims to estimate the real cost of borrowing so that you can compare different products on the market.
Act of simultaneously buying and selling securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.
- Asset allocation
The distribution of assets across a variety of geographic regions, asset classes or sectors.
- Asset cover
Cover on a zero dividend preference share measures how well the price which has to be paid to the shareholders on redemption is covered by the current gross assets less the known costs and prior to charges. It is calculated by dividing current gross assets, less prior charges, wind-up costs and interest charges and management fees attributable to capital by the total zero charge.
- Association of Investment Companies (AIC)
The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) is the trade body for investment trust companies. The AIC provides a considerable amount of background reading and explanatory material on investment trusts including a series of free factsheets. http://www.theaic.co.uk
- Authorised unit trust
A UK-based unit trust that is permitted to be marketed to all types of customers. The Financial Conduct Authority regulates the assets in which such trusts are permitted to invest. (See also unit trust.)
UK employers now have to automatically enrol their staff into a workplace pension if they meet certain criteria. The Pensions Regulator offers detailed information on this and how it may impact you.
Brazil, Russia, India and China. Many believe China is likely to become the world’s leading supplier of manufactured goods, India the leading supplier of services, and Brazil and Russia dominant as raw materials suppliers.
- Bank of England
The United Kingdom's Central Bank. Since being granted independence in 1997, the Bank of England has been tasked with the operational responsibilities of maintaining price stability by keeping inflation at the Government’s target rate.
- Bare Trust
Parents or anyone else for that matter can set up a trust for a child known as a 'Bare Trust'. The aim is to transfer an asset to the child in a way that ensures the offspring actually gets the benefit and in a tax efficient way. With a 'Bare Trust', the asset is automatically transferred to the child when he/she reaches the age of 18.
- Base Rate (or Interest Rate)
The minimum rate at which banks are prepared to lend money. It acts as the benchmark for other interest rates, including mortgages and loans. Altering the base rate is a key component of monetary policy. In the UK, the Bank of England announces every first Thursday of the month the base rate set by its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
- Basic Rate of Tax
The tax system in the United Kingdom allows you to earn some money without incurring any tax liability. You then earn some money that is taxed at the lower rate, then earn some money which is taxed at the basic rate, finally some money which is taxed at the higher rate. The rates normally change annually and so you should refer to your local tax office for the current rates. Web site: www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk
- Bear market
A market in which prices fall over an extended period. Some regard a true bear market as one in which prices fall by at least 20% from a recent peak.
A target against which investment performance is measured. A benchmark is usually an index or the average performance of other similar funds. (See also median; quartile ranking.)
The extent to which a fund outperforms a rising market and underperforms a falling market. A fund with a beta above 1 is historically more volatile than the overall market; a fund with a beta below 1 is historically less volatile. (See also alpha.)
'Bid' - in the context of a takeover bid means making an offer for the shares of another company. 'Bid' - can simply mean offering to buy shares. It may also mean the highest price that you are prepared to pay for a given security at a particular time.
- Bid Price
This is the price at which a market-maker in the stockmarket is prepared to buy shares from existing holders. This term is also used to refer to the price at which a fund management company will sell units in a unit trust or similar pooled investment. Typically quoted along with a second price, known as the 'Offer price', which is the price at which a fund management company will buy units in a unit trust or similar pooled investment.
- Bid-Offer Spread (Securities)
The difference between the price at which units can be bought and sold. These quotes, 'Bid' and ´Offer', are two-way prices, the lower of which is known as The bid price (the price at which the holder can sell shares) is typically lower than the offer price (the price at which the holder can buy shares). The Bid/Offer will be determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the underlying price of the equity, the sector it is in, the liquidity or the volatility.
- Blue Chip
A term adopted to refer to the largest shares in a stockmarket. Those companies that are typically the largest and more prestigious. Companies such as British Telecom, British Petroleum and Vodafone are such companies.
A form of loan paying a generally agreed rate of interest over a fixed term, with the principal paid at maturity. Bonds may be issued by governments or companies. Bonds can generally be traded on the stock market and therefore may trade above or below their issue price. (See also corporate bond; gilts; government bond.)
- Bonus Issue
A bonus issue is when a company gives, free of charge, a number of new shares to each share existing shareholders in proportion to the number of shares they already hold. After the issue, a company's share price is likely to fall, reflecting the greater supply of shares following the new issue.
An investment approach that favours the analysis of individual companies as opposed to sectors and economics. (See also top-down.)
- Bull Market
A market in which prices rise over an extended period. Some regard a true bull market as one in which prices rise by at least 20% from a recent low.
- C shares
An Investment Trust being a corporate legal entity, may issue C shares (or ‘conversion’ shares) which are a method of raising new funds without penalising existing shareholders. The new money raised is maintained as a discrete pool which is kept separate from the existing fund for a specified period and all the costs of investment are borne by those subscribing for the new shares. The holders of the 'C' shares are then offered new ordinary shares at the combined net asset value of the enlarged Trust.
- CAT standards
CAT stands for low Charges, easy Access and fair Terms and relates to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). CAT standards are the minimum voluntary benchmark by which the Government hopes to encourage many new investors to save more. In common with many investment companies, Aberdeen has chosen not to offer a CAT standard ISA.
Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation. An index of the cost of all goods and services to a typical consumer.
CREST is the real-time settlement system for UK and Irish shares and other corporate securities. It enables participants to hold securities in uncertificated form and transfer them electronically with effective delivery versus payment.
Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (Financial Sector Supervisory Authority) is the Luxembourg’s financial industry regulator.
- Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
A tax on gains made when you sell assets - things like shares, a holiday home or an expensive painting. If you buy an asset or investment and then later dispose of it for more than you paid for it, you are said to have made a capital gain. Make enough gains in one particular tax year and you will be liable for capital gains tax. Everyone is allowed to make a certain level of gains each year before capital gains tax is charged. In reality very few people exceed their annual capital gains tax allowance. Putting your investments in an ISA is a way of protecting them from Capital Gains Tax.
- Capital Growth
A rise in the value of an investment.
- Capital Shares
Some Investment Trusts issue more than one type of share. They are called Split Capital Investment Trusts. The simplest "Split" is divided between capital and income shares. The capital shares receive no dividends over the life of the trust, while the income shares receive all the income generated by the whole fund.
- Capital gearing
When an Investment Trust borrows money to increase its exposure to a particular market - usually equity markets.
- Capital structure
The different amounts and types of stocks and shares (e.g. ordinary shares, preference shares, debentures, etc. which are in issue) which go to make up an Investment Trust's capital.
- Capital value
In real estate investing, the value of a freehold or leasehold asset – as distinct from its rental (periodic) value.
The value of an asset assessed in relation to its expected future stream of income.
- Cash investments
Relatively safe, liquid assets that can be readily converted into cash under most conditions with minimal effect on principal and/or interest. Cash investments include Treasury bills, money-market funds, and short-term certificates of deposits.
- Certificate of deposit (CD)
Certificate issued by a bank to an investor depositing money for a determined length of time (typically short term) at a specified rate of interest
- City ("The City")
London's financial district is often referred to as "the City". It is in fact the square mile (more or less) of the old City of London. The City includes such institutions as the London Stock Market, the London International Financial Futures Exchange LIFFE) and Lloyd's of London.
- Closed-end fund
An investment vehicle, such as an Investment Trust, with a fixed capital structure. Variations in demand for the shares of the fund are reflected in movements in their share price and not by an expansion or contraction in their supply. Shares may trade at a discount or premium to underlying net asset value.
- Closed-ended investment company
A collective investment scheme, such as an investment trust, with a fixed number of shares. Closed-ended investment companies are traded on the stock exchange. (See also open-ended investment company.)
- Collective Investment Scheme
A collective investment scheme is a way of pooling your money with other investors to participate in a wider range of investment opportunities. Examples include OEICs, Unit Trusts and Investment Trust schemes.
- Commercial paper
Unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued by a company, typically for the financing of accounts receivable, inventories and meeting short-term liabilities.
When you purchase a particular investment, some companies pay a commission to the adviser or salesman who recommended the product to you.
- Concentrated portfolio
A portfolio that holds fewer companies than similar funds within its sector.
- Consumer discretionaries
Industries associated with goods and services that rely upon consumers and are sensitive to changes in the economy. Examples include retailers and media companies. (See also cyclical stocks.)
- Consumer staples
Industries associated with goods and services that consumers tend to buy in any economic climate and thus are less sensitive to changes in the economy. Examples include food and drugs. (See also defensive stocks.)
- Contract Note
Your contract note is evidence that you have bought or sold shares or units.
- Convertible loan stocks
Fixed interest loans that may be converted into ordinary shares at a future date. The terms of conversion are fixed at the date of the issue of the loan.
- Convertible securities
Fixed-interest securities that may be converted into equities at some future date.
- Cooling-off period
With some investments and under certain circumstances, you can cancel the agreement shortly after signing. If you have this right, it will to be shown on the agreement itself.
- Corporate Bond
Companies issue bonds to raise money and pay interest on the bonds. Usually bonds expire on a fixed date, when the company repays you. You can buy and sell bonds easily (like shares). Bond prices are heavily influenced by interest rate changes and bonds such as UK government bonds or gilts are not as risky as shares. Company or 'Corporate Bond' prices are also influenced by the prospects for the company issuing them and can sometimes be very risky, particularly if the issuing company becomes less likely to be able to pay off its debts. See Credit Rating for a full explanation regarding the bond classification: investment grade and non-investment grade.
- Corporate Governance
Corporate governance refers to the regulations and guidelines put in place to ensure the proper management of a company's affairs by its board of directors and management. Corporate Governance teams in companies such as Aberdeen monitor corporate management to make certain that they are operating their business in accordance with those regulations and guidelines and will engage with them and exercise proxy votes in support of this objective.
- Corporation tax
The tax chargeable on the profits of a UK company.
A correction is a term to describe a downward movement in share prices - in other words, a mini-crash. Analysts may refer to there being a ´10% correction' to the stockmarket which means that the value of the stockmarket fell by 10% overall.
The interest rate stated on a bond when it’s issued. Typically coupons are paid semi-annually.
- Credit Default Swap (CDS)
Financial agreement whereby a buyer of corporate or sovereign debt in the form of bonds attempts to eliminate possible loss arising from default by the issuer of the bonds. This is achieved by the issuer of the bonds covering the buyer’s potential losses as part of the contract.
- Credit Rating
Corporate bonds fall into two broad classifications: investment grade and non-investment grade, sometimes called high yield bonds. The latter constitute those bonds that a ratings agency, such as Standard & Poor's, deems to be less than BBB. The credit rating is designed to gauge the issuer's ability to meet its interest and principal (that is, the amount borrowed by the company through the bond) payments and can change over time, depending on the fortunes of the bond-issuing company. The ratings agency will upgrade or downgrade its credit rating of a company, depending on its view of the company's prospects. For example, if the ratings agency believes the company was facing tougher markets for its products due to an economic downturn and that this would affect profitability and its ability to repay debt then it is likely that its credit rating would be downgraded. If, on the other hand, the ratings agency believe that its prospects were improving and that increased revenues were likely then the company's credit rating would be likely to be upgraded.
- Currency hedging
The use of derivative transactions to protect the value of an investment against fluctuations in exchange rates. (See also derivative.)
- Cyclical stocks
Companies who produce products/services which are likely to be affected by changes in economic conditions – e.g. luxury goods, holidays.
A debt instrument not secured by physical asset or collateral. Investors who purchase debentures generally believe that the issuer is unlikely to default on the repayment.
- Debt structure
The amount and type of different classes of debt an Investment Trust may have. This includes loan capital and foreign currency loans.
Not being able to pay interest or principal when it is due, usually a sign of financial difficulty.
- Defensive stock
Also known as a non-cyclical stock. A stock that historically has provided a relatively constant dividend and level of profits irrespective of the overall performance of the stock market. Tobacco companies and utilities are generally considered defensive stocks. (See also consumer staples.)
(Of CGT liability) means putting it off, not becoming exempt.
Deflation is the opposite of inflation, describing a situation where there is a fall in the general price level.
This describes financial institutions such as building societies converting into Public Limited Companies - an example of this is Halifax Building Society which is now HBOS PLC.
Derivatives are financial instruments that derive their value from underlying securities, such as stocks, bonds, commodities and currency. Typical examples include futures, forwards, warrants and swaps.
Putting an account, for example a unit trust account, in another person's name. This might be used to invest on behalf of a child, where the account is designated with the name of the given child.
Diminution in the ownership percentage of a share of stock further to the issuance of new stock.
- Direct property fund
A fund that invests wholly in direct commercial property and holds no property shares, REITs, other equities or other indirect holdings. (See also indirect property fund.)
An investment company is legally required to show you the total cost of taking out a product or policy with them, including details of any commission paid to an adviser.
- Discount (Investment Trusts)
If the share price of an investment trust is lower than the net asset value per share, the trust is said to be trading at a discount. The discount is shown as a percentage of the net asset value.
- Discrete return
Return added to an account after a fixed amount of time (e.g. yearly). The opposite is continuous return, whereby interest is earned on an account continuously, and instantly accrues more interest.
Typically refers to the sale of units/shares by the investor
The payment of any income generated by a fund.
- Distribution yield
The distribution yield reflects the amounts that may be expected to be distributed over the next 12 months as a percentage of the fund’s mid-market unit price on a particular date.
The opposite of 'putting all your eggs in one basket'. Generally speaking, the more diversified your investments, the lower the investment risk. One of the key advantages of collective investment schemes is that small investors are able to gain a degree of diversification they would not be able to get on their own.
The income from a share investment distributed by the company. Dividends are usually issued annually or semi-annually.
A measure of the maturity of a bond or portfolio of bonds that takes into account the periodic coupon payments. It attempts to measure market risk, or volatility, in a bond by considering maturity and the time pattern of interest payments prior to repayment. Two bonds with the same term to maturity but different coupon rates will respond differently to changes in interest rates. So will bonds with the same coupon rate but different terms to maturity. The higher the duration, the greater a bond’s price-sensitivity to changes in yield.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. A measure of a company’s profitability. Because EBITDA eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions, it is often used to compare profitability between companies.
The profits made by a company over a specified period (typically, after tax).
- Economic cycle
The recurring and fluctuating levels of economic activity an economy experiences over an extended period of time.
- Emerging markets
Countries with a low per-head income compared to the developed world but with a functioning stock exchange. The potential for rapid growth makes emerging markets attractive for investors prepared to accept a higher level of risk. Emerging markets include Brazil, Russia, India and China (see BRIC); others of significance include Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Poland and South Korea.
- Enhanced index fund
An actively managed fund that, with certain modifications, tracks a stock market index with the aim of outperforming it. An enhanced index fund may exclude certain securities or use leverage. (See also tracker fund.)
- Entry charges
This is the maximum that might be taken out of an investor’s money before it is invested. It covers the cost of setting up the investment. It may also cover payments to an investor’s financial adviser and/or any firm through which a client invests.
This is another word for stocks and shares. The owners of equities, the shareholders, are the owners of the company. This gives equity holders a number of rights, including the right to elect directors and to share in the company's profits through the payment of dividends.
- Ethical Investment
Ethical investments seek to invest in companies which make a positive contribution to the world and seek to avoid companies which harm the world, its people or its wildlife. It is difficult for an individual investor to judge whether a particular company is ethical or not. Therefore, most ethical investments are held through a managed investment fund such as a Unit Trust.
- European Central Bank (ECB)
The institution responsible for setting monetary policy for all European Union countries that use the euro.
- Event driven
Investing strategy that seeks to exploit pricing inefficiencies that may occur prior or further to a corporate event, such as a bankruptcy, merger, acquisition or spinoff.
- Ex Dividend
Also abbreviated as 'xd', this is a share sold without the right to receive the declared dividend payment which is marked as due to those shareholders who are on the share register. The stock market authorities usually specify the date on which a share will begin trading 'xd'. The share price invariably drops when the share goes 'xd' taking the known income of the dividend out of the share price.
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Investment funds that are listed on a stock exchange aiming to track the performance of a particular index
- Execution only
Where a customer buys a financial product without receiving advice on its suitability.
- Exit charges
This is the maximum that might be taken from an investor’s money before the proceeds of an investment are paid out. The exit charge may be used instead of an entry charge and is a delayed charge for setting up the investment.
The amount of a portfolio invested in a particular area. If £5,000 of a £10,000 portfolio is invested overseas, it is said to have a 50% overseas exposure.
- FTSE 100 Index
The most widely-quoted and 'popular' index for tracking the London stockmarket. The FTSE 100 contains the shares of the top 100 UK listed companies ranked by market capitalisation.
- FTSE All-Share Index
The Financial Times Stock Exchange All Share Index is the most comprehensive stockmarket index for securities listed in the UK.
- Face value
Also known as par value or par. The nominal value of a security stated by the issuer. For stocks, face value is the original cost of the stock; for bonds, it is the amount due to the holder at maturity.
- Fair market value
The price that an asset would realise in the marketplace over a reasonable time period. Fair market value assumes the prospective buyer and seller are both reasonably knowledgeable about the asset and are acting in their own best interests and free from undue pressure to trade.
- Fed (Federal Reserve Board)
An abbreviation of “Federal Reserve System” - the central bank of the United States. The Fed is responsible for setting US monetary policy.Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and its subsidiary companies.
- Final Dividend
This is the dividend paid by a company to its shareholders out of profits at the end of the financial year. A motion to pay a final dividend must be approved at the shareholder's Annual General Meeting (AGM) - where they have the option of accepting the dividend recommended by the directors or of reducing it.
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the UK’s financial markets. Its focus is on the regulation of conduct by retail and wholesale financial services firms. Web site: www.fca.org.uk
- Fiscal Policy
The use of taxation and government spending as tools to influence the economy.
- Fitch Ratings
Global rating agency dedicated to providing value beyond the rating through objective and balanced credit opinions, research and data. Fitch Ratings is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Moody's and Standard &Poor's
- Fixed Interest
The term generally refers to bonds on which the holder generally receives a pre-determined rate of interest. Also see Bonds.
- Fixed-income securities
Investments that obligate the borrower to pay the owner interest during the term of the loan and to return the principal when the loan matures. Bonds are an example of fixed-income securities.
- Floating rate note (FRN)
Bond with a variable interest rate. Also known as a “floater” or “FRN," Floating Rate Notes are mainly issued by financial institutions and governments, and they typically have a two- to five-year term to maturity
When a company first offers its shares for sale, usually with a big publicity fanfare.
- Frontier market
Countries with investable stock markets that are less established and/or liquid than mainstream emerging markets. These markets tend to be more volatile and be exposed to investment risk including liquidity risk and political risks, and adverse economic circumstances are more likely to arise in such markets.
- Fund Manager
A fund manager is employed to invest money for (among other things) unit trusts and investment trusts. Fund managers aim to outperform their chosen index by buying shares which they think will do particularly well. They can also choose to keep a percentage of their fund in cash.
- Fund of funds
A fund that invests in several funds at the same time, with the aim of reducing the risk of poor performance associated with investing in just one fund. Fund-of-funds managers select the funds they invest in, but not the individual stocks.
- Fund size
The total value of assets under management in a fund.
- Fundamental Analysis
Assessing the investment prospects of a security by looking at the company’s balance sheet, income and cash flow statements, its management and the wider economics of its business. By considering company fundamentals, an analysis aims to establish whether a security is under or over valued by the market.
A type of derivative contract which involves agreeing to buy or sell assets at a set price on a fixed date in the future
Investment Trusts can 'gear' or borrow money to invest but unit trusts are limited in this respect. Gearing can magnify a fund’s return, however, a geared investment is riskier because of the borrowed money.
A transfer of money from one person to another that is recognised by the Inland Revenue.
Gilts are bonds issued by the British Government as a way of raising money to meet any shortfalls between their revenue and expenditure plans. Gilts is short for 'gilt edged securities', and are sometimes referred to as “sovereign debt”.
- Government bond
A fixed-interest security issued by a government to raise finance. Government bonds are negotiable and can be traded on the stock market.
A gross interest rate or dividend is one that doesn't take into account the tax you'll have to pay on that income.
- Gross Redemption Yield
The total yield from holding a security, including both the income expected and the capital growth, for the whole of the period up to the date of maturity and eventual repayment. Gross redemption yield is calculated without making any allowance for tax liability. This is a forward-looking calculation (in contrast to past performance) and is therefore not guaranteed.
- Growth fund
Also known as capital growth fund. A fund whose main objective is to maximise the value of the capital sum invested rather than generating income. (See also income fund.)
- Growth stock
A stock of a company that generates substantial and sustainable positive cash flow, and whose revenues and earnings are expected to increase at a faster rate than the average company in the same industry.
Reducing the risk of an investment, or protecting an existing position, by using derivative investments to cover adverse market movements.
- High Yield Bond (also know as Non-Investment Grade Bond)
These are corporate bonds with a credit rating of BB or below. This means that the agency which has rated the bond believes there is a higher possibility that the company which issued the bond may default on interest payments and possibly the repayment of the loan altogether. In order to make the bond attractive to investors the bond issuing company will pay a higher yield in comparison to an investment grade bond.
- Historic yield
The historic yield is the set amount of yield that a fund actually produced in a given period of time (eg one year, two years or five years).
- Hurdle rate
The rate at which an Investment Trust's assets have to grow to repay the redemption price.
- ISA Wrapper
The product structure through which an ISA holding achieves its tax benefits.
International Securities Identification Number; code that uniquely identifies a specific securities issue
- Income Shares
Some companies issue more than one type of share. For example, shares may be divided between capital and income shares. The capital shares receive no dividends over the life of the company, while the income shares receive all the income generated.
- Income fund
A fund whose main objective is to provide investors with a regular income from its investments.
- Income tax
This is tax you pay on the income you earn each year above a certain amount. The amount of tax you pay will depend on the amount of your salary and allowances.
- Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)
Independent financial advisers (IFAs) offer advice on a full range of products from all the financial services companies on the market. An independent financial adviser has to make clear to clients how he/she is being remunerated - the two main ways are either by receiving commission, or, alternatively, charging an hourly rate.
A scale that measures relative changes in performance. A financial market index, such as the FTSE 100, is an imaginary portfolio of securities. The method for calculating changes in indices differs across financial markets.
- Index-linked bond
A government-issued bond in which the payment of income is linked to a specific price index (such as the Consumer Price Index). Index-linked bonds compensate investors for the effect of inflation and are generally less volatile than other types of government bonds.
- Indirect property fund
A fund that invests in real estate vehicles such as property shares, property investment companies, REITs, limited partnerships or property unit trusts as opposed to the actual properties themselves. (See also direct property fund.)
- Individual Savings Account (ISA)
Individual Savings Account or ISAs are savings accounts that act as tax efficient wrappers around your investments, sheltering them from income tax and capital gains. They allow a wide range of investments including cash deposits, shares, bonds and investment funds. However, there is a limit to how much you can invest in an ISA each year.
- Inflation (or Retail Price Index -RPI)
Inflation is the change in the general price level over time. In the UK, the primary measure of inflation is the Retail Price Index (RPI). It is calculated by tracking the change in price of a sample bundle of goods and services that the ‘typical’ household consumes.
- Information ratio
Measures the active return of the manager’s portfolio divided by the amount of risk that the manager takes relative to the benchmark. The higher the information ratio, the higher the active return of the portfolio, given the amount of risk taken, and the better the manager.
- Inheritance Tax (IHT)
In the event of your death, this tax is payable by your heirs.
- Initial Public Offering (IPO)
A company’s first sale of stock to the public.
- Interest rate
The Interest rate is effectively the price of money. It is the price paid to borrow money and the price paid to a saver for lending money. It is typically expressed as an annualised percentage rate. The rate of interest you face on the highstreet will vary according to the level of the base rate. Altering the base rate to affect interest rates is a key component of monetary policy.
- Investment Advice
Only people qualified to do so can give investment advice. In the UK, FCA sets minimum competence standards for IFAs who should have the minimum of the Financial Planning Certificate (FPC).
- Investment Grade Bonds
Companies whose bonds are rated as 'investment grade' have a lower chance of defaulting on their debt than those rated as 'non-investment grade'. Generally, these bonds are issued by long-established companies with strong balance sheets. Bonds rated BBB or above are known as Investment Grade Bonds.
- Investment Management Association (IMA)
The Investment Management Association (IMA) was formed on 1 February 2002, when the Association of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds (AUTIF) merged with the Fund Managers’ Association (FMA). Investment Management Association, 65 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TD Tel: 020 7831 0898 Fax: 020 7831 9975 Website: www.investmentfunds.org.uk.
- Investment Manager
(Also Fund Manager) The individual who takes the day to day investment decisions for a specific Investment Fund or Trust.
- Investment Objective
States the aims of a given fund and the type of assets in which it invests to look to achieve those aims.
- Investment Trusts (ITs)
Investment trusts are collective investment vehicles that have the structure of a company that invest in the shares of other companies. There are two key differences between investment trusts and open ended vehicles. Firstly, open-ended funds can keep receiving funds from investors, whilst investment trusts are closed-ended, meaning they have a fixed amount of capital that is divided into shares which are purchased by investors. Secondly, Investment Trusts can borrow money to invest - this makes them more volatile. As public limited companies themselves Investment Trusts are subject to company law, the FCA’s Listing Rules and the rules of the London Stock Exchange.
- Investment Universe
The scope of investment possibilities afforded by a fund's stated investment objective.
- Investment property
Real estate purchased as an investment rather than a place to live.
- Investment-grade bonds
Bonds issued by companies or governments that are deemed to have a relatively low risk of default. (See also highyield bonds.)
London Interbank Bid Rate. The interest being offered to depositors.
London Interbank Offered Rate. The amount of interest payable by borrowers.
- Large cap
Term referring to companies with a greater market capitalization. Large cap is an abbreviation of "large market capitalization"
Leverage usually refers to a fund being exposed by more than 100% of its net asset value to assets or markets; typically resulting from the use of debt or derivatives.
Global leader in supplying mutual fund information and fund ratings, fund analytical tools and fund commentary
The degree to which an asset or investment can be easily converted to cash, by sale at a fair price. Liquidity also describes the amount of cash held in a portfolio.
The branch of economics relating to the functioning of a nation’s economy. (See also microeconomics.)
- Management company
A company employed by one or more Investment Trusts to provide investment management and services such as administration and secretarial services, registration, accountancy and research.
- Market capitalization
Total value of the issued shares of a publicly traded company.
- Market value
Also known as capitalisation. The value of a company determined by multiplying the number of shares in issue by the current market price. A measure of a company’s size.
The time when an insurance policy, security, etc. matures.
The middle figure in a ranked series of numerical data. The median provides the basis for quartile rankings. The first and second quartiles are above the median, the third and fourth below. (See also benchmark; quartile ranking.)
The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC (MiFID)is a European Union law that provides harmonised regulation for investment services across the 31 member states of the European Economic Area. The main objectives of MiFID are to increase competition and consumer protection in investment services
The branch of economics relating to the economy of consumers or households or individual firms. (See also macroeconomics.)
- Mid price
The 'mid price' is the price you see against a share when you look in the media. It is effectively the average between the buying and selling price in the market.
- Monetary Policy
Decisions made by a government, usually through its central bank, regarding the amount of money in circulation in the economy. This includes setting official interest rates.
- Money Market Instruments
Money market instruments are forms of debt that generally mature in less than one year. Treasury bills, which are a form of short term debt issued by the US Government make up the bulk of the money market instruments globally.
Leading provider of credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Standard &Poor's and Fitch Ratings.
- Mutual Fund
The name used in the USA market for unit trusts. They are pooled investments that are also open-ended.
- National Insurance
National Insurance is a form of tax paid by most working people. It helps to cover the cost of state benefits like pensions, sick pay, maternity pay and employment benefit and is deducted automatically along with any other working taxes.
Interest received from a bank or building society account after basic rate tax has been deducted.
- Net asset value (NAV)
A key measure of the value of a company, fund or trust – the total value of assets less liabilities, divided by the number of shares.
- Offer Price
The price at which a fund management company will buy units in a unit trust or similar pooled investment.
- Offshore Funds
These are collective investment funds that are based in overseas countries, from a UK investor's perspective.
- Ongoing charges
These are either based on actual expenses or an estimate of the expected future charge. They cover all aspects of operating the Fund during the year, including fees paid for investment management, administration and the independent oversight functions. It may also cover payments to an investor’s financial adviser and/or any firm through which a client invests. Where the Fund invests in other funds, the figure includes the impact of the charges made in those other funds.
- Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs)
Open Ended Investment Companies or OEICs are pooled investment vehicles. They are similar to unit trusts.
- Open-ended funds
These are investment funds where the number of units in issue varies from day to day. Unit trusts and OEICs are examples of open-ended funds. An 'open-ended' fund varies from investment trusts, which are closed-end funds.
A contract which gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security at a fixed price for a fixed period of time.
A portfolio holding an excess amount of a particular security (or sector or region) compared to the security’s weight in the benchmark portfolio. (See also underweight.)
- Par value
The value at which a bond can be redeemed at its maturity date.
- Passive management
A style of investment management in which the fund’s portfolio mirrors its benchmark. (See also active management.)
A pension has traditionally been seen as long-term savings to provide a retirement income . The government provide a basic state pension but this is no more than a safety net and people also save for their own future, so they are able to maintain their existing lifestyle. Pension products such as SIPPs are also a tax-efficient way of saving. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may change in the future.
- Performance fees
Some Funds may charge a performance fee. This fee becomes payable only when the Fund outperforms its performance fee benchmark.
- Personal Equity Plans (PEPs)
As of 6 April 2008, PEPs are now known and treated the same as ISAs.
Assets from a range of investors are 'pooled' in the same fund, for example a pension fund, which has a certain Investment Objective.
The collection of investments held by an investor or a fund.
- Portfolio transaction costs
Portfolio transaction costs are the costs of dealing in the underlying investments of a Fund, including broker commissions and any taxes including stamp duty.
- Preference shares
Shares in a company that have a higher claim on the assets and earnings than common stock. Dividends for preference shares generally must be paid out before those to common shares. Preference shares usually don’t have voting rights.
If the share price of an investment trust is higher than the net asset value per share, the trust is said to be trading at a premium. The premium is shown as a percentage of the net asset value.
- Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio)
The current market price of a stock divided by the earnings per share. P/E ratios are often used to compare companies in the same industry, or to assess the historical performance of an individual company; a high ratio suggests that investors are expecting higher earnings growth in the future.
- Pricing note policy
There are three investment pricing methodologies used in the UK:
Dual pricing means two prices are calculated each day and investors buy units at the offer price and sell at the bid price. Single pricing is where only one price is calculated each day and investors buy and sell units at the same price. Under this method there may be a separate charge made to counter effects of dilution on large investors only. The amount is called a dilution levy and the amounts for investment or sale proceeds are reduced by this amount.
Swinging single price is where the price is adjusted in certain circumstances in accordance with the flows of money in and out of a fund. This is often referred to as a “dilution” adjustment and reflects the costs of buying or selling assets including any brokers commission and taxes.
- Prime unit
A real estate investment regarded as the best in its class and location. (See also secondary unit.)
- Private Equity
Holdings in unquoted companies which can include financing management buy-outs, management buy-ins and start-ups.
A formal legal document that provides details about an investment offering for sale to the public. A prospectus should contain the facts that an investor needs to make an informed investment decision.
- Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
Carries out the prudential regulation of financial firms, including banks, investment banks, building societies and insurance companies.
- Purchasing Power
The amount of goods a given amount of money can buy at any given time. This can be eroded by inflation.
- Quantitative easing
Increasing the supply of money in a national economy by buying government (or other) securities from the market in order to promote greater lending and increased liquidity.
A group containing 25% of the total. Funds are often ranked by their quartile performance; an upper-quartile fund has outperformed at least 75% of its peers. (See also benchmark; median.)
- R-squared (R²)
A measurement of how closely a portfolio’s performance correlates with the performance of its benchmark – and thus a measurement of the portion of its performance that can be explained by the performance of the overall market or index. Values for r-squared range from 0 to 1; a high value indicates the fund’s performance patterns have been in line with its benchmark.
Real Estate Investment Trust. A form of indirect property investment. Distributions from REITs are made tax-free and are taxed according to the tax status of the shareholders.Real Estate Investment Trust. A form of indirect property investment. Distributions from REITs are made tax-free and are taxed according to the tax status of the shareholders.
Retail Price Index. The main measure of inflation, used for calculating indexation for capital-gains tax and on index-linked gilts and National Savings products.
- Redemption yield
An estimate of the total long term returns including income and capital on fixed income investments like corporate bonds and gilts.
The amount by which an investment may change due to a combination of capital growth and/or interest dividend income. This is normally expressed as a percentage.
- Rights Issue
A method of raising extra capital through the issue of new equity shares. Existing shareholders can buy new shares in proportion to their current holdings, usually at a discount, or sell their rights to other investors.
With any investments, an element of risk is involved. In the context of savings and investments, risk refers to the chance of losing money. Generally, the higher the potential return on your investment or savings, the greater the risk. Shares and share-based investments, such as unit trusts, are considered higher risk because the value of your investment can fall. However, the growth of these investments over the medium-to-long-term is usually better than the return from a savings account held with a bank or building society.
- Running yield
An estimate of the annual rate of interest paid out by fixed income investments like corporate bonds and gilts. It does not take into account any increases or decreases in the capital value of the investment.
This is a type of open-ended collective investment vehicle. It is popular in Continental Europe, particularly Luxembourg and France.
- Secondary unit
A real estate investment not regarded as prime because of its location, configuration or tenant.
Investment funds similar to each other in scope and objectives (for example, the UK All Companies sector). A sector also refers to the industry or area of commerce in which a company operates (for example, mining).
A broad definition of investments, including stocks and shares, bonds and financial instruments such as unit trusts.
- Share exchange
A share exchange service whereby equities can be converted into Investment Trust shares.
Shares are issued by a company to raise money. Unlike bonds, which are a straightforward loan, shares give you ownership of part of the company. Most shares are listed on a stock exchange, which makes them easy to buy and sell. Dealing costs, however, may be expensive. Investing in a unit or investment trust is attractive as the costs are shared with lots of other investors.
- Sharpe ratio
A measure of the reward a fund is achieving for each unit of risk taken. The higher the ratio, the greater the risk-adjusted performance.
- Small cap
Term referring to companies with a smaller market capitalization. Small cap is an abbreviation of "small market capitalization"
- Sovereign debt
Debt issued and guaranteed by a national government (typically, bonds).
Difference between the bid (buyer's price) and the offer (seller's price) of a security or asset
- Stamp duty
A tax payable on purchase of ordinary shares, preference shares and convertible loan stocks. Other loan stocks, such as debentures, are exempt.
- Stamp duty Reserve Tax (SDRT)
SDRT is a payment or deduction made from investments as a result of investors joining or leaving a fund. SDRT provision may up to 0.5% of the value of the transaction proportionate to the investor’s share in the fund.
- Standard & Poor's - S&P
Leading provider of high-quality market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, research, and thought leadership. S&P is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Moody's and Fitch Ratings
- Standard deviation
AStandard deviation is a statistical measurement that sheds light on historical volatility. For example, a volatile stock will have a high standard deviation while the deviation of a stable blue chip stock will be lower. A large dispersion tells us how much the return on the fund is deviating from the expected normal returns.
- Stock Exchange
The Stock Exchange is the main forum for the trading of stocks and shares and other securities.
- Stock lending
Stock lending (securities lending) is the loan of securities by one party to another.
- Stocks-and-shares ISA
You can invest your full ISA allowance in a stocks-and-shares ISA each tax year. Alternatively, you can invest the total ISA limit in a cash ISA, or in a combination of both a cash and stocks-and-shares ISA. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may change in the future.
- Sustainable investing
An investment approach that takes account of social responsibility, as well as financial return.
- Tax credit
The amount which an ISA manager can reclaim from the Inland Revenue in respect of share dividends received. This 10% tax credit was abolished in April 2004.
- Tax year
The tax year refers to the 12 month period running from 6th April in one year to 5th April in the next year.
Tax-Exempt Special Savings Accounts or TESSAs are five-year savings accounts that enable you to receive interest gross - without the deduction of any tax. Since 5 April 1999, it has not been possible to start a new TESSA. However, TESSAs in existence at that date can continue to run to maturity under the normal TESSA rules.
An investment approach that favours the analysis of sectors and economics as opposed to individual companies. (See also bottom-up.)
- Total Expense Ratio (TER)
Total cost charged to an investment fund and expressed in percentage terms of the fund’s total assets
- Total return
The growth in value of a share holding over a specified period, assuming that dividends are re-invested to buy additional units of the stock.
- Tracker fund
A fund that aims to replicate the performance of a particular stock market index by buying all or a representative proportion of the stocks within that index. Tracker funds are passively managed.
- Tracking Error
This is a measure of how closely a portfolio follows its benchmark. A high tracking error therefore means there is a big difference between the return of the benchmark and the return of the portfolio.
A person who holds assets or property on behalf of other people.
- Turnover (portfolio)
Percentage that represents how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the portfolio managers
Undertaking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities. UCITS funds can be marketed in all European Union countries.
- Umbrella Fund
Umbrella funds are collective investments that are divided into a number of subfunds or share classes, each investing in different assets and markets. Investors can change their investment strategy by shifting money among the different subfunds, sometimes at minimal cost. All umbrella funds are based offshore in financial centres such as Jersey, Luxembourg and Dublin. It's not possible to operate an umbrella fund in the United Kingdom.
- Underlying yield
The underlying yield reflects the annualised income net of expenses of the fund as a percentage of its mid-market unit price on a particular date.
A portfolio holding less of a particular security (or sector or region) than the security’s weight in the benchmark portfolio. (See also overweight.)
- Unit trust
An open ended pooled investment scheme. Investors in the unit trust buy units, which are priced on the basis of the underlying Net Asset Value of the fund, and are created or destroyed as needed to meet market demand. Therefore, the size of the fund varies according to demand.
Industries such as water, electricity and oil & gas.
- Vacancy rate
In real estate investing, the percentage of a portfolio that is vacant. The rate is the total rental value of the vacant properties divided by the total rental value of the portfolio.
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
An indirect tax payable by adding it on to the value of most goods and services.
- Value at risk (VaR)
An estimation of the probability of portfolio losses, based on statistical analysis of historical price trends and volatility.
- Variable rate
An interest rate that can move up or down at any time. Usually linked to changes in the Bank of England’s Base Rate.
- Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)
A collective investment portfolio made up of holdings in the shares of unlisted companies or AIM stocks. Tax benefits include initial income tax relief of up to 40% on subscriptions.
If the price of a fund moves significantly over a short period of time it is said to be 'volatile' or has 'high volatility'. If the price remains relatively stable it is said to have 'low volatility'. Volatility can be used as a measure of risk.
A derivative that offers the holder the right to buy a specified number of shares in a company at a fixed price at some agreed future date. Warrants are commonly issued in conjunction with a bond, but they are often split off and traded separately.
- Winding up
The process of terminating a company by realising its assets, paying off creditors and distributing the remaining assets among shareholders, according to the correct order of priority.
The product structure through which an ISA holding achieves its tax-free benefits.
Yield is the annual return you receive from holding a stock, share or unit trust. It is expressed as a percentage of its price.
- Yield spread
The difference between yields on different debt instruments.
- Yield to maturity
The rate of return anticipated on a bond if held until the end of its lifetime.
- Zero dividend preference share
A class of share making up a Split Capital Investment Trust, it is a share with no right to receive a dividend. It is, however, entitled to a fixed sum on repayment. This figure is usually expressed as an annual percentage and accrues annually.
- Zero-coupon bond
Also known as an accrual bond. A debt instrument that doesn’t pay interest but is traded at a deep discount from its value at maturity. Zero-coupon bonds are popular with investors who have long-term investment goals with a definite time horizon.