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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.
If you are puzzled by a particular word or expression that we have used and cannot find an explanation for it in Jargon Buster, please contact us with your query and we will respond either direct to you by email or by adding the explanation to Jargon Buster for the benefit of others.
Aberdeen Asset Management Plc and its subsidiary companies.
|Active Investment Management|
A style of investment management where a manager seeks to outperform a benchmark index typically through stock selection based on fundamental analysis and market timing.
|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.
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
|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.
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
A yardstick against which a fund performance may be measured. It is typically a stock market index chosen to reflect the investment style of the particular fund. An active manager will seek to outperform this benchmark over time.
'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-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.
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.
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 bond is simply an ´IOU'. It is an agreement under which a sum is repaid to an investor after an agreed period of time. A bond can be issued by anyone but is generally issued by a government or a public company to repay money borrowed. These loans normally repay a fixed rate of interest over a specified time and then repay the original sum in full after an agreed period. Accordingly, bonds may also be referred to as fixed-income securities.
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 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.
|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.
When an Investment Trust borrows money to increase its exposure to a particular market - usually equity markets.
A rise in the value of an investment.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
|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.
When you purchase a particular investment, some companies pay a commission to the adviser or salesman who recommended the product to you.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
This term is often used interchangeably with interest but coupon is now mainly used to describe the name for the nominal interest a bond pays. Remember not to confuse the nominal interest being offered with the yield. The latter is the actual rate of return you are getting and it relates to the market price you paid for the investment.
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.
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.
A loan raised by a company, paying a fixed rate of interest and which is secured on the assets of the company. Debentures are fixed interest securities issued in return for long-term loans. They tend to be dated for redemption between ten and forty years ahead of the date of issue. They may be secured by a floating charge on the company's assets or they may be tied to specific, named assets.
The amount and type of different classes of debt an Investment Trust may have. This includes loan capital and foreign currency loans.
(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.
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.
Typically refers to the sale of units/shares by the investor
The payment of any income generated by a fund.
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.
This is the income you receive as a shareholder from a company. When you buy an ordinary share in a company, you become a shareholder (an owner of the business) and to that extent you will have certain entitlements including the right to receive dividend payments as set by the board of directors and approved by the shareholders.
Relatively small stockmarkets in newly industrialised or developing countries that are likely to become players on the world economic stage e.g. Turkey, India, Latin America.
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 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.
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.
Where a customer buys a financial product without receiving advice on its suitability.
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 Services Authority (FSA)|
The FSA is now the single statutory regulator responsible for regulating deposit taking, insurance and investment business in the United Kingdom. The FSA has new statutory objectives including consumer protection, tackling market abuse, promoting public understanding of the financial system and reducing financial crime. Head office address: The Financial Services Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS Tel: 020 7676 1000 Fax: 020 7676 1099 Web site: www.fsa.gov.uk
The use of taxation and government spending as tools to influence the economy.
The term generally refers to bonds on which the holder generally receives a pre-determined rate of interest. Also see Bonds.
When a company first offers its shares for sale, usually with a big publicity fanfare.
|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.
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 or trust that invests in the shares of other investment trusts or funds.
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”.
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.
|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 possiblity 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.
The rate at which an Investment Trust's assets have to grow to repay the redemption price.
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.
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.
|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.
|Inheritance Tax (IHT)|
In the event of your death, this tax is payable by your heirs.
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.
Only people qualified to do so can give investment advice. FSA 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.
(Also Fund Manager) The individual who takes the day to day investment decisions for a specific Investment Fund or Trust.
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 FSA’s Listing Rules and the rules of the London Stock Exchange.
The scope of investment possibilities afforded by a fund's stated investment objective.
The product structure through which an ISA holding achieves its tax benefits.
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The amount within a portfolio which is held in cash rather than being invested.
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.
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.
Using money supply and interest rates as policy tools to try to guide the macro-economy. In the UK, the Bank of England has monetary policy independence, allowing it to set the base rate of interest to meet the government’s inflation target.
|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.
The name used in the USA market for unit trusts. They are pooled investments that are also open-ended.
Interest received from a bank or building society account after basic rate tax has been deducted.
|Net asset value (NAV)|
The net worth of an investment trust company's equity capital usually expressed in pence per share. It is arrived at by totalling the value of the Trust's listed investments at mid-market prices, unlisted investments at directors' valuation, cash and other net current assets, and deducting all of its liabilities, including any issued preference capital. By dividing this value by the number of shares, the NAV per share is derived.
The price at which a fund management company will buy units in a unit trust or similar pooled investment.
These are collective investment funds that are based in overseas countries, from a UK investor's perspective.
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.
|Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs)|
Open Ended Investment Companies or OEICs are pooled investment vehicles. They are similar to unit trusts.
A derivative contract which gives the buyer the right but not the obligation to buy or sell a fixed number of shares at a fixed price within a certain period.
The par value of a bond is its face value. This is the amount that a bond will pay to its holder at maturity. The price of a bond can trade at premium or discount to this par value depending on a number of factors.
|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.
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.
Holdings in unquoted companies which can include financing management buy-outs, management buy-ins and start-ups.
The amount of goods a given amount of money can buy at any given time. This can be eroded by inflation.
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An estimate of the total long term returns including income and capital on fixed income investments like corporate bonds and gilts.
A means by which companies can raise further capital, specifically from its own shareholders. Newly created shares are offered to existing shareholders at a discount to the price they would be offered to the public.
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.
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.
This is a type of open-ended collective investment vehicle. It is popular in Continental Europe, particularly Luxembourg and France.
|Split Capital Investments|
A split capital trust is an investment trust company with more than one class of share, each class having different rights to participate in income or capital returns. Split capital operate on the basis that shareholders look for either income or capital growth and are able to meet such requirements through choice of the different share classes. Split capital investment trusts have a fixed life span at the end of which they are wound up or rolled over into a new fund.
A tax payable on purchase of ordinary shares, preference shares and convertible loan stocks. Other loan stocks, such as debentures, are exempt.
The Stock Exchange is the main forum for the trading of stocks and shares and other securities.
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-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.
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.
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.
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.
|Value Added Tax (VAT)|
An indirect tax payable by adding it on to the value of most goods and services.
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 warrant is a type of option which gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy a given number of shares in a company at a fixed price called the 'subscription price' at some future date. Usually this date is several years ahead.
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.
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Yield is the annual return you receive from holding a stock, share or unit trust. It is expressed as a percentage of its price.
|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.
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