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Glossary of Investment Terminology


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Investment terminology can at the best of times sound bewildering even to the most hardened investment professional. So here to assist you is our free no no-nonsense glossary of investment terms.
This guide is one of many Avondale Investment Management business guides written for fellow professionals, students and anyone who may find the subject matter of interest.

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Glossary of Investment Terminology

  1. 1. A Glossary Of Investment Terminology Avondale Investment Management (UK) ‘ Business Guides’
  2. 2. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 1 Glossary of Investment Terminology Investment terminology can at the best of times sound bewildering even to the most hardened investment professional. So here to assist you is our no no-nonsense glossary of investment terms. Active 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.) Alpha 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.) Asset allocation The distribution of assets across a variety of geographic regions, asset classes, or sectors. Authorised unit trust A UK-based unit trust that is permitted to be marketed to all types of customers. The Financial Services Authority regulates the assets in which such trusts are permitted to invest. (See also unit trust.) Bank of England The UK’s central bank, responsible for the country’s monetary policy. Basis points (BPS) A hundredth of one per cent. There are 100 basis points in one per cent. 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. Benchmark 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 and quartile ranking.) Avondale Investment Management ‘Inspired Investment SOLUTIONS’
  3. 3. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 2 Beta 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.) Bond 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.) Bottom-up An investment approach that favours the analysis of individual companies as opposed to sectors and economics. (See also top-down.) BRIC 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. 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. Capitalisation The value of an asset assessed in relation to its expected future stream of income. Capital value In real estate investing, the value of a freehold or leasehold asset – as distinct from its rental (periodic) value. 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. 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 An investment scheme in which money from more than one investor is pooled into a single fund or trust. Unit trusts, investment trusts, and open-ended investment companies (OEICs) are all types of collective investment schemes.
  4. 4. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 3 Concentrated portfolio A portfolio that holds fewer companies than similar funds within its sector. Convertible securities Fixed-interest securities that may be converted into equities at some future date. Consumer discretionaries Industries associated with goods and services that consumers 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.) Corporate bond A form of loan issued by a company in order to raise capital and an alternative to issuing stock through a rights issue. Bonds pay a fixed rate of interest over a fixed term (usually 1-30 years), with the principal repaid at maturity. Coupon The interest rate stated on a bond when it’s issued. Typically coupons are paid semi-annually. CPI Consumer Price Index - a measure of inflation. An index of the cost of all goods and services to a typical consumer. Credit rating An independent assessment of a company’s or government’s ability to pay its debt. Credit ratings are provided by rating agencies; changes to a company’s or government’s rating can dramatically affect the price of its bonds. Currency hedging The use of derivative transactions to protect the value of an investment against fluctuations in exchange rates. (See also derivatives.) Cyclical stocks Stocks that rise quickly in a favourable economy and fall rapidly in an unfavourable one. Airlines, automobile manufacturers and home furnishers are widely regarded as cyclical stocks. (See also consumer discretionaries.) Debenture 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.
  5. 5. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 4 Debt swap Also known as debt conversion. An arrangement where part of loan repayments in a foreign currency is converted into investment in the debtor country in local currency. Default 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.) Derivatives A general term for a financial instrument whose value is derived from the price of an underlying investment. Futures, options and warrants are all types of derivatives. 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.) Discount When shares of an investment trust trade at a price below their net asset value, they are said to trade at a discount. 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. Dividend The income from a share investment distributed by the company. Dividends are usually issued annually or semi-annually. Duration 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.
  6. 6. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 5 Earnings The profits made by a company over a specified period (typically, after tax). EBITDA 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. Economic cycle The recurring and fluctuating levels of economic activity an economy experiences over an extended period of time. Enhanced index fund A actively managed fund that, with certain modifications, tracks a stock market index with the aim of out- performing it. An enhanced index fund may exclude certain securities or use leverage. (See also tracker fund.) 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, Thailand, South Africa, Poland and South Korea. Equities Shares in a company listed on a stock exchange. Shareholders are effectively the owners of the company and typically have the right to vote on important company matters. European Central Bank (ECB) The institution of European Union responsible for setting monetary policy for all European Union countries that use the euro. Exposure 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. 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.
  7. 7. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 6 Fed The Federal Reserve Board or FRB. The US central bank, responsible for that country’s monetary policy. Financial Services Authority (FSA) The UK’s main financial services regulatory body. 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. FTSE The Financial Times and Stock Exchange, a publisher of indices and the name of the family of indices it publishes. FTSE 100 index An index that tracks the share price of the 100 largest companies, by market value, listed on the London Stock Exchange. FTSE All-Share index An index of the UK’s leading companies’ share prices, covering around 800 companies and including investment trusts. 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. Future A contract under which the owner agrees to buy or sell an asset at a fixed price at a fixed date in the future. Futures contracts are transferable and can be traded like securities. Gearing The amount of borrowing a company or fund has relative to its share capital. unds that are geared have the ability to borrow money and therefore take advantage of wider investment opportunities. If a company is highly geared, its profits and losses can be greatly affected by even small changes in interest rates.
  8. 8. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 7 Gilts Bonds issued by the UK government (though strictly speaking the term also applies to bonds issued by Ireland and South Africa). (See also government bond.) 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. 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.) Hedging Reducing the risk of an investment, or protecting an existing position, by using derivative investments to cover adverse market movements. High-yield bonds Also known as sub-investment-grade bonds. Bonds issued by companies where there is perceived to be a higher risk of default – but also the potential for higher returns. (See also investment-grade bonds.) Historic Yield The Historic Yield is the set amount of yield that a fund actually produced in a given period of time (e.g. one year, two years, or five years). Income fund A fund whose main objective is to provide investors with a regular income from its investments. Index 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 bonds 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.)
  9. 9. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 8 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. Initial Public Offering (IPO) A company’s first sale of stock to the public. Investment-grade bonds Bonds issued by companies or governments that are deemed to have a relatively low risk of default. (See also high-yield bonds.) Investment property Real estate purchased as an investment rather than a place to live. Investment trust A company whose only function is to invest in the shares of other companies. Investment trusts are listed on the stock exchange; their share prices are subject to normal market forces and as such can move independently of the value of the underlying assets. LIBID London Interbank Bid Rate - the interest being offered to depositors. LIBOR London Interbank Offered Rate - the amount of interest payable by borrowers. Liquidity The ability to readily convert an asset or investment to cash by sale at a fair price. Liquidity also describes the amount of cash held in a portfolio. Macroeconomics The branch of economics relating to the functioning of a nation’s economy. (See also microeconomics.) 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, and basically a measure of a company’s size. Median 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 and quartile ranking.)
  10. 10. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 9 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. Microeconomics The branch of economics relating to the economy of consumers or households or individual firms. (See also microeconomics.) Net asset value 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. Open-ended Investment funds that is not restricted in the number of shares they may issue. (See also closed-ended.) Open-Ended Investment Company (OEIC) A company or fund in the UK that invests in other companies ,and is permitted to adjust its investment criteria and fund size. Shares in OEICs are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Option 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. Overweight 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.) 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. 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 historically within a single company; a high ratio suggests that investors are expecting higher earnings growth in the future.
  11. 11. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 10 Portfolio The collection of investments held by an investor or a fund. Premium When shares of an investment trust trade at a price above their net asset value, they are said to trade at a premium. Prime unit A real estate investment regarded as the best in its class and location. (See also secondary unit.) 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. Quartile 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 and 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. REIT 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. Return 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. RPI 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.
  12. 12. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 11 Secondary unit A real estate investment not regarded as prime because of its location, configuration, or tenant. Sector Investment funds similar to each other in scope and objectives (for example, the Micro- Pal UK- All Companies sector). A sector also refers to an industry or area of commerce in which a company operates. (For example, mining). Securities A broad definition of investments, including stocks, and shares, bonds and financial instruments such as unit trusts. 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. Sovereign debt Debt issued and guaranteed by a national government (typically, bonds). Stock exchange A place where stocks and shares are traded. Top-down An investment approach that favours the analysis of sectors and economics as opposed to individual companies. (See also bottom-up.) Total return The growth in value of a shareholding 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 A measure of how much the performance of a fund deviates from the performance of its benchmark index. UCITS Undertaking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities. UCITS funds can be marketed in all European Union countries.
  13. 13. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 12 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. Underweight 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 Money from a number of investors pooled together and invested collectively in investments such as shares and bonds. Each investor owns a unit (or a number of them), the value of which relates to the value of those items owned by the fund. (See also authorised unit trust.) Utilities Industries such as water, electricity and oil & gas. Value at risk (VaR) An estimation of the probability of portfolio losses, based on statistical analysis of historical price trends and volatility. 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. Volatility A statistical measure of how quickly the price of a security rises, and falls over time. The greater the movement through a wide price range, the higher the volatility. Warrant 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. Yield The annual dividend or income on an investment expressed as a percentage of the purchase price. Yield spread The difference between yields on different debt instruments.
  14. 14. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Copyright © 2013 Tony Randall Page 13 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. ~ Are you interested in property investment in SE Asia? Then please visit our investment library which has an ever growing number of reports, guides and other literature which are all intended to assist you in finding the right investment opportunity. Alternatively we will be very happy to deal with enquires direct by contacting us at Avondale Investment Management Limited. Company contact details of which can be found by navigating to the contact page of the website at On the other hand, you can mail us at either or Company Disclaimer Dear Reader , Every possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this glossary is accurate at the time of publication and we make know no warranty about the accuracy or completeness of the content to the maximum extent permitted. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the company and author. Copyright The right of Antony Randall to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by his accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, stored in a retrieval system without the prior written permission of either the author or publisher, or in the case of reprographic reproduction a license issued in accordance with the terms and licenses issued by AIM UK Ltd. Avondale Investment Management (UK) Limited 2013 Tony Randall Company Director Avondale Investment Management (UK) Glossary of Investment Terminology 2013
  15. 15. Contact: Avondale Investment Management (UK) Suite 72 Cariocca Business Park , 2 Sawley Road , Manchester. Lancashire. M40 8BB. United Kingdom. Telephone: +44 (0) 7542 701564 +66 (0) 861029556 E mail: Website : ‘ Inspired Investment Solutions’