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Glossary

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

A

Absolute return funds

These typically target a higher rate of return than cash investments and aim to provide positive returns regardless of market conditions but returns are not guaranteed. These funds can invest in a wide range of assets and use different investment strategies including derivatives.

Accumulation shares

A type of share offered by an OEIC fund. 'Accumulation shares' refers to the fact that any income earned by the shares is kept in the fund to accumulate. The fund price then reflects the fact that this income is automatically reinvested.

Acquisitions

One company takes over another by purchasing its assets and/or shares.

Associated Companies/ Joint Ventures - These are companies where the investing company holds approximately 20% - 50% of the ordinary shares. The Profit and Loss Account will include a company's share of the profits of an associated company or joint venture whilst the Balance sheet will include its share of the net assets.

Active management

Active fund managers seek to add value by aiming to outperform the stockmarket or chosen benchmark. They aim to achieve this by making decisions (buying, selling or holding) on both types of assets and the specific asset itself.

Alternative Investment Market (AIM)

The London Stock Exchange's global market for smaller and growing companies.

Alternatively Secured Pension (ASP)

This is a name for income withdrawal post age 75. In ASP you lose any entitlement to a tax free lump sum (meaning this should be taken if required pre age 75).

Annual Allowance

Is the maximum amount that you can contribute to a pension (excludes transfers) in a given year. Any amount of contributions paid over the Annual Allowance will be liable to the Annual Allowance charge. The Annual Allowance for 2010 /11 to 2015/16 is being frozen until at least 2015/16. The Annual Allowance has been made more complex with the introduction of the 'Special Pension Annual Allowance' which is a tax allowance that limits the tax benefits on pension contributions for high income individuals with relevant income (see relevant income) of £130,000 or more and works in tandem with the usual pension Annual Allowance.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

An annual meeting called by the directors of a company that allow shareholders to stay informed and involved with the company decisions and workings. Also includes the directors' report and accounts, declaration of dividends and election of directors.

Annuity

An annuity can be purchased from age 55 and typically pays a fixed interest until death.

Asset allocation

This refers to how invested money is distributed across different asset classes, industry sectors, and geographical regions. Asset allocation should reflect the investment objectives of a fund and the degree of risk the investor is prepared to take. It's important to get investment asset allocation right as returns on investment rely heavily in this.

Asset class

Asset classes comprise of distinct types of investment. The four main classes are equities, bonds, cash and property.

At best order

Any order to buy or sell a specified number of shares, which may be executed either in part or in full, at the prevailing process on the market at the time the order is executed.

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B

BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services)

A means of making electronic transfers of funds between financial institutions

Balance Sheet

Provides a quantitative summary of a company's financial position at a given point in time. This takes into account assets, liabilities and net worth with e first part of the balance sheet showing all the productive assets a company owns, and the second part showing all the financial methods.

Base rate

This is the interest rate set by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee.

Beta

A measure of the volatility of a given company relative to the overall market. A beta greater than 1 is more volatile then the market, less than 1 is less volatile.

Bid Price

The price at which a market maker will buy a security.

Bid offer spread

The difference between the bid price and the offer price.

Blue Chip

A publically traded company known for the quality and wide acceptance of its products, services and management and its ability to profit and pay dividends to shareholders.

Bonds

Debt securities issued by the governments and companies as a means of raising capital which generally entitle the holder to a fixed-rate of interest during the life and repayment of the amount of the bond at maturity.

Bonds issue

the issue by a company of new shares which do not require any payment to be made by the shareholder. This has the effect of making the company's shares more marketable because of the increased number available and the lower market price.

Bonus Shares

The issue of new fully paid-up shares to existing shareholders on a pro-rata basis. The impact of a bonus issue is to reduce the share price as the same market capitalisation of the company is spread over a larger number of shares, which in turn benefits the liquidity of the scrip.

Borrowing Analysis

This is a breakdown of when a company's debt is due for repayment.

Book Cost

the original cost of an investment generally used to compare against the current market value.

Broker recommendation

A stockbroker's opinion of the investment quality of a company's shares at the time that it is reviewed in comparison to other stocks in the sector.

Bulletin Board

A place on a website where private investors can post comments and questions.

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C

Called up Share Capital

nominal value of shares of the company that are issued and fully paid up.

Capital Employed

Fixed assets plus current assets minus current liabilities. Capital employed is the value of the assets that contribute to a company's ability to generate capital.

Capital Expenditure per share

Net additions to fixed assets (after depreciation) divided by the number of shares issued.

Capital Gains tax (CGT)

A tax on profit made from the disposal of assets over and above the CGT exemption in any one year.

Capitalisation Issue

Money from a company's reserves is converted into issued capital, which is then distributed to shareholders in place of a cash dividend. Also know as a bonus or scrip issue.

Cash at bank

Cash held by a company that is readily available.

Cash Flow

This provides a measure of the company's financial health. This equals cash receipts minus cash payments over a given period of time.

Cash Flow Statement

Gives a summary of a company's cash flow over a given period of time.

Certified Trade

A Certified trade means that shares purchased are represented in the form paper certificates in the name of the shareholder rather than in electronic format in the nominee name of a broker. A share certificate is registered and issued to the shareholder directly from the company's registrar.

Change on the day

the difference between the previous days closing price and the current price.

CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment Service)

An electronic bank-to-bank same-day value payment made within the UK in sterling. There is usually a charge for this service.

Child Trust Fund

The Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a long-term tax-free savings account for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.

Closing Price

The last closing mid price quoted for the company.

Commission

The fee that a broker may charge clients for dealing on their behalf.

Commodity

Any item that can be bought and sold. Taken to refer to Exchange-traded items, including sugar, coffee, tin etc.

Company Pension Scheme

A pension scheme set up by an employer to provide employees with retirement benefits such as an annuity and, in many cases, a tax free lump sum.  Company pension schemes are also known as occupational pension schemes.

Consideration

The money value of a transaction (number of shares multiplied by the price) before adding or deducting commission, stamp duty etc.

Consolidated Tax Certificate (CTC)

A Consolidated Tax Certificate (CTC) details all dividend payments received between the period April 6th to April 5th of the following year.

Consolidated Tax Voucher (CTV)

See Consolidated Tax Certificate

Consolidations

When a company reduces the number of shares it has in circulation by consolidating its share capital.

Consumer Prices Index:

Measures changes in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households.

Contract Note

A contract note details the full title of stock, price, stamp duty (if applicable), consideration, commission, time of deal, etc and is sent no later then the next working day after a transaction is made.

Contracts for Difference Account (CFD)

the contract is an agreement between the broker and a trader to exchange the difference between the share price at the opening and the share price as the closing of a particular trade, so resulting in a profit or loss.

With a CFD, you receive many of the benefits of share ownership (such as dividends and price performance) but you don't actually own the share. A CFD is a derivative product.

Contracted out rebates

These are monies that are rebated to an individual from the Government as they have contracted out of the State Second Pension.

Cookies

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies are then sent back to originating website on each subsequent visit. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device.

Corporate Actions

An event initiated by a company that affects the shares issued by the company. This includes a wide range of corporate actions, including takeovers, rights issues, demergers, scrip dividends and conversions.

Corporate Bond

This is a bond issued by a company.

Corporation Tax

A tax paid by limited companies on their profits.

Counterparty

The participant with whom a trade is being transacted.

Coupon

A regular payment received by the bondholder over the lifetime of the bond. The coupon rate is expressed as a percentage of the face value of the bond.

Covered warrant

A security issued by a party other than the issuer or originator of the underlying asset, giving the holder the right (but not an obligation) to acquire a share or bond at a specific price and date.

Credit ratings

These are an assessment of the probability that a company or government will honour repayment of a loan it received in respect of bonds that it has issued or make the interest payments.

Creditors

people to whom the company owes something, usually cash or a claim to services.

CREST

CREST is the UK and Ireland's electronic registration and settlement system for equity share trading. CREST matches trades against payments and tells the company's registrars what names to add to the share register and which ones to delete.

Crest transfer form

This is the official form to be used for transferring certificated holdings to a CREST member such as a broker to be held by that CREST member.

Cum - Latin for "with". Used to indicate that the buyer of a security is entitled to the next dividend payment. So: "Cum Dividend".

Current Investments

Current assets divided by current liabilities.

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D

Daily High

The highest price reached by a security or index during the day.

Daily Low

The lowest price reached by a security or index during the day.

Dealer

Dealers buy and sell securities on behalf of the broking firm (or investment bank).

Debentures

A type of long-term unsecured bond (loan), taken out by a company, which it agrees to repay as a specified future date. Usually secured against specific assets (e.g. mortgage debentures) or through a floating charge on the firms assets.

Debtors

People who owe the company something, usually cash or a claim to services.

Defined benefits

This is the retirement benefit provided by occupational pension schemes. With these schemes the pension benefit is related to pensionable service, pensionable salary (either final salary or career average earnings) and whether the employee retires at the agreed normal retirement pension age.

Depreciation

Measure of the wear and tear on a company's fixed assets.

Derivatives

An investment whose value depends on the performance of an underlying asset or security, which may be a commodity or a financial instrument.

Dilution adjustment

an adjustment that can be made to the share price of a fund, for example an OEIC, when there are large amounts of cash going into or out of the fund. The adjustment reflects the difference between the buying and selling prices of the investments of the fund and any costs incurred, including taxes.

Direct Debit

A payment system in which the payer authorises the payee to take funds from their bank account.

Directors Dealings

When Directors buy or sell shares in their company.

Disposals

Sale of a business or business line to another party.

Diversification

Refers to the practice of investing in a range of different asset classes that perform differently in any particular set of market conditions, with the aim of spreading the overall risk of investing.

Dividend

A payment made to shareholders by companies out of their net profits. These payments are at the discretion of the director(s) and are not guaranteed.

Dividend Cover

A company's ability to pay ordinary dividends to shareholders out of profits earned and is calculated by dividing the adjusted Earnings per Share (EPS) by the total dividend per share.

Dividend Payment Date

The date on which the most recent dividend will be paid to shareholders.

Dividend Per Share Growth

The percentage change from the previous year in the dividend paid on each share.

Dividend Yield

The percentage of a company's share price that it pays out as a dividend over the course of a year.
(Total Dividend / Share Price)*100
Dividend Yield is displayed as a percentage figure.

Drip Dividend

A Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) is an option offered by the underlying company which lets the investor automatically reinvest in the underlying equity rather than receive a quarterly dividend.

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E

Earnings Per Share (EPS)

A company's profitability expressed on a per share basis and calculated by dividing the company's annual earnings after tax by the number do shares in issue.

Enhanced Protection

The total value of the pension fund is registered under the transitional arrangements and provides the ability to protect the total value of the pension fund (including any growth) from the lifetime allowance charge as long as no further contributions are paid.

EPS Basic

this is based on the actual profits and shares in issue.

EPS Diluted

This is based on the profits and the number of shares in issue if the company were to issue ordinary shares arising from the full conversion of any relevant stocks (e.g. convertible loan stocks)

EPS Adjusted

This excludes items from the company's profit and loss account that it considers to be exceptional and therefore distorting. This would be a better comparison from year to year of a company's normal trading performance.

EPS Growth

The relative growth of a company's earnings over the last year. A negative value indicates the company's earnings fell.

Equities

Ownership interest in a company in the form of common stock or preferred stock.

EGM

see General Meetings

Exchange Traded Commodity (ETC)

An investment vehicle that tracks the performance of an underlying commodity or group of commodities. It is a version on the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) and is traded just like normal shares.

Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)

A collective investment vehicle which tracks indices. They can allow low cost exposure to the performance of an index as quickly and efficiently as the most liquid UK stocks. These are open ended investments and do not usually have initial charges and their annual management charges can be much lower.

EUR

Euro - common currency of the European Union.

Ex Dividend (Ex)

The opposite of "cum", literally "without". Used to indicate that the buyer is not entitled to the next dividend payment. This "ex Dividend" or "ex Rights".

Ex Rights

Trading has previously commenced as "ex" rights on this stock.

Exchange

An organised market place that provides access to capital and facilitates securities dealing through speedy and innovative trading platforms and services.

Exchange Market Size (EMS)

The maximum number of shares that the market makers are obliged to quote for a particular security. EMS is based on the percentage of the share's average daily turnover in the previous year.

Execution Only

where a client instructs a broker or financial institution to but or sell shares/ funds where no "advise" has been offered or provided.

Extended Settlement

Settlement periods that are above a T+3 settlement are considered as "extended settlements" which carry a premium from the market.

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F

Fill or Kill order

An order which must be executed at a specified price or better. If this order cannot be dealt with in the market your order will be cancelled.

Final Dividend

The dividend paid by a company at the end of the financial year.

Financial Year

The year for which corporate tax rates apply. It runs from April 1 of one year to March 31 of the next year.

Fixed Protection

This will protect pension savings up to £1.8 million from a lifetime allowance charge.

Forecasts

Estimates of a company's future performance in terms of sales, earnings and dividends.

Foreign Exchange Market (FOREX)

An over the counter market where traders conduct foreign exchange transactions.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA regulate the financial services industry in the UK. Their aim is to protect consumers, ensure the financial industry remains stable and promote healthy competition between financial services providers. They have rule-making, investigative and enforcement powers that they use to protect and regulate the financial services industry.

FTSE™ 100

An index of the share prices of the UK's 100 largest companies by capitalisation.

FTSE™ MID 250 Index (FTSE 250)

The share process of the 250 companies that follow the top 100 (comprising the FTSE 100).

Fund Supermarket

Alliance Trust Savings Fund Supermarket allows you to buy and sell funds from a wide range of fund management groups.

Funds

A collective investment scheme where money is pooled, which is invested in a portfolio of securities with a common investment purpose.

Futures

Securities or goods bought or sold at a fixed price for future delivery. There may be no intention to take them up but to rely upon price changes in order to sell them at a profit before delivery.

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G

GBP

Pound sterling

GBX

Pence sterling

Gearing

Companies are financed by a combination of debt and shareholders equity.  A gearing ratio will tell how much a company has borrowed on relation to the amount of the shareholders funds in the business.

General Meetings

A meeting of the shareholders of a company is usually held on an annual basis - commonly known as the AGM - at which business such as reception of the Directors' report and accounts, declarations of dividends, election of Directors is held.

If something happens within the company that requires the shareholders to meet before the next scheduled AGM, then an extraordinary general meetings is held, commonly known as an EGM.

Gilts or Gilt-Edged Securities

Debt securities issued on behalf of the Government.

Gross

the total amount before deductions (e.g. before tax deductions).

Gross Borrowings

The total borrowings of a company.

Gross Gearing

Calculated by dividing the gross borrowings by shareholder funds.

Gross Cash Flow

The operating cash flow of a company plus cash flows form investments, the servicing of finance and tax.

Growth Metrics

Indicators of a company's growth potential

Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)

This is the minimum pension which an occupational pension scheme has to provide for those employees who were contracted out of the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997. The amount is said to be 'broadly equivalent' to the amount the member would have received had they not beencontracted out.

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H

Hedge funds

These are investment funds, which are not generally made available to the public, that are permitted to undertake a wider range of investments and trading activities than other types of investment fund. Hedge funds can use a wide range of investment approaches. For example they can use short positions which mean they can benefit when an asset price falls or use long positions which benefit when asset rise in value. They can use derivatives or can borrow money which is then used to generate returns.

Hedging

A hedge is typically accomplished by making approximately offsetting transactions that will largely eliminate one or more types of risk. Hedging Investors can use derivatives and covered warrants to hedge investments.

High/ Low

The highest or lowest price that a security traded during a certain time period.

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I

Index

A statistical measure of the changes in a portfolio of stocks representing a portion on the overall market. For instance, the FTSE 100 and the S&P500 are examples of indices.

Income shares

A type of share offered by an OEIC fund which could provide you with a regular pay-out of income.

Income Withdrawal

Where an individual is taking an income from their pension either via their tax free lump sum and or a regular income without annuitising. Income withdrawal is often referred to as Income Drawdown or Unsecured Pension.

Index tracker

An investment fund that follows the make-up of a market index, such as the FTSE 100 Index. While the value of the investment will go up and down in line with the index that it aims to match, the value of the fund won't exactly match the index it tracks. This could be, for example because of various expenses associated with running a fund or if the fund has purchased just a representative proportion of stocks in the index.

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

These are potentially tax-efficient savings plans. There are two types of ISA - cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs. Different investment limits apply to each of these. No personal tax is payable by the investor on any interest or net dividend arising in the fund. No capital gains tax is payable by the investor on any gains realised when the investment is cashed in.

Inflation

When prices of a selected group of items are going up, the rate of increase in process is the rate of inflation. The rate of inflation depends on the range of goods measured. Inflation results in a reduction in the purchasing power of money. Conversely, deflation results in an increase in the purchasing power of money.

Intangible Assets

A company's long-term assets that are usually non-physical but represent a right or expected future benefit. Examples are goodwill, brands and trademarks.

Interest

monies charged by a bank or other financial organisation for borrowing money. This can also refer to the return earned on an investment, including money on deposit at a bank.

Interim Dividend

a dividend which is declared and distributed before the company's annual earnings have been calculated. These dividends are usually distributed six-monthly or quarterly.

Interim results ("Interims")

The results reported by a company for the first six months of its financial year. Generally, interim results are made public within three months of the end of the interim period.

Introduction

When a company comes to the market without making any money on admission.

Investment Trusts

A company quoted on the London Stock market whose main activity is to invest in the shares of other companies on behalf of a client.

ISIN

International Securities Identification Number. International 12 digit code for a listed security.

Insolvency

The inability of a person (or company) to settle debts.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

The term used for a company joining the stock market. It is a way for companies to raise cash and increase and diversify the current shareholder base.

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L

Last Trade Price

the most recent price at which a specific security was traded.

Lifetime Allowance

This is an overall ceiling on the amount of tax privileged pension benefits that an individual can draw. This lifetime allowance applies to all your pension benefits from all sources.

Limit Order

An order to buy or sell a stock at a price you specify (the limit) or better. A limit order to buy would be executed at the limit or lower, while a limit order to sell would be executed at the limit or higher. You always place a buy limit order below the current stock price, and a sell limit order above the current stock price.

Liquidity

The ease with which a security can be traded on the market, usually defined by turnover.

Listed Company

A company whose securities have been admitted to the UKLA's Official List and admitted to the trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Long positions

A long position in the stock market means that an investor has purchased an underlying instrument with the expectation that its price will rise.

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M

Major shareholders

Shareholders in a company owning more than 3% of the ordinary shares.

Margin

The difference between the cost price of a product and the selling price.
The amount deposited with a broker on order to obtain credit for purchase of shares or derivatives.

Market Abuse

A conduct that adversely affects a financial market and falls below the standards expected by the regular user of that market. The FSA can enforce disciplinary action against those who commit such abuses.

Market Capitalisation

The market value of a company, calculated by multiplying the current share price by the number of shares in issue.

Market Maker

A Securities firm which is obliged to offer to buy and sell securities throughout the mandatory quote period

Market Order

An unpriced order submitted to an order book to deal in a specified number of shares. Unexecuted portions of the market order are added to the order book

Market Price

The price of a security. For shares, there are two prices quoted - Bid price and Offer price

Market Research Tools

Online systems that allow a user to interrogate funds and shares. In-depth information such as fund objectives, performance stats, prices and indices, Company Data and Charts are made available.

Mergers

In a merger, two or more companies come together to become one. The shareholders of the merging companies often become joint owners of the newly combined entity.

Mid Price

A price between the bid price and the offer price. The mid price is equal to the sum of the best bid price divided by two, and rounded up to be consistent with the relevant price format.

Minority Interest

Represent the share of the assets of the business in subsidiaries that are not wholly owned.

Money market instruments

These are short term, tradable, cash-type investments. They include, for example, Certificates of Deposit, Commercial Bills and Treasury Notes.

Multi-manager investing

This is a way of increasing diversification by accessing several fund managers through one fund.

Mutual Fund

A collective investment scheme in the US that pools investors' money to be invested in stocks, bonds and other securities.

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N

National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ)

The first electronic stock market based in the USA.

Net Assets

The total figure for all assets less any liabilities.

Net Asset Value

The value of the shareholders interest in a company, calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets, deducting intangible assets and dividing by the number of shares in issue.

Net Asset Value (FUNDS)

The price of each share of a mutual fund. The NAV is the amount of money that an investor would receive for each share if the mutual fund sold all of its assets, paid off all its outstanding debts, and distributed the proceeds to shareholders.

Net Borrowings

Total borrowings excluding cash and near cash.

Net Gearing

A general measurement of indebtedness.

Net Interest

Interest payable net of interest received.

New Issue

See IPO

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The world's largest stock exchange.

Nominee

The Brokers, that is Alliance Trust Savings Nominee Ltd (registered number SC98767), whose registered address is 8 West Marketgait, Dundee, DD1 9YP.

Non-Protected Rights

The amount of your pension pot that has come from contributions paid by you, an employer, or someone on your behalf (for example a grandparent) is known as non-protected rights. This may include regular contributions, single payments and the Non-Protected Rights part of a transfer from another pension scheme. Payments from opting out of State Second Pension (S2P) are known as Protected Rights.

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O

Open Ended Investment Company (OEIC's)

A vehicle which invests in securities on behalf of a client.

OFEX

A British share trading and information service that enables investors to buy and sell shares in companies whose shares are not traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE)

Offer Price

The price at which a market maker will sell a security

Official List

The UK Listing Authority's list of all listed securities.

Operating Margin

The trading margin for each period reported, showing trading profit as a percentage of sales or total trading revenues.

Operating Profit/ Loss

A company's profit after deducting operating costs from gross profits.

Options

The right (but not the obligation) to but or sell securities at a fixed price within a specified period.

Order

An offer to buy or sell a tradable instrument with a variety of conditions applied. See limit, at best, fill or kill and market orders.

Order Book

An automatic execution facility operated by the Exchange. Order books facilitate the trading of order book securities.

Order Book Security

A security that is admitted to trading on the order book.

Ordinary Shares

The most common form of share. Holders may receive dividends in line with company's profitability and on the recommendation of its Directors.

Over The Counter contracts (OTC's)

Off-exchange futures contracts that are individually negotiated. These are tailor-made and liquid.

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P

Partial Execution

When only part of an order is executed.

Passive management

unlike an active approach, passive investment managers do not make decisions on markets and stock selection or form views on market movements. They simply aim to match their given benchmarks.

Pending Order

Indicates an order that has been placed but not yet executed.

Personal Equity Plan (PEP)

The forerunners to ISAs, PEPs were designed to offer a simple, flexible and potentially tax-efficient way for individuals to invest in the stock market. They were available for new investment between January 1987 and 5 April 1999. On 6April 2008 all PEPs were automatically reclassified as stocks and shares ISAs and became subject to ISA rules.

Pink Sheets

Are the leading provider of pricing and financial information for the over-the-counter (OTC's) securities markets in the U.S. They provide market makers with quotations, historical prices and corporate information.

Preference Shares

Fixed dividend shares that rank above ordinary shares if a company is wound up. Preference shares represent partial ownership in a company, although preferred stock shareholders do not enjoy any of the voting rights of common shareholders.

Premium

When dealing on an extended settlement period of longer than T+10 the Retail Service Providers are not obliged to offer the displayed price and may add a funding charge of up to 1%. This is known as a Premium.

Pre-Tax Profit

A company's operating profit before tax is deducted.

Pre-Tax Profit per share

A company's profit after expenses but before tax divided by the number of shares in issue.

Primary Protection

The total value of the pension fund is registered under the transitional arrangements, and provides the ability to potentially protect all or part of the pension fund from the lifetime allowance charge. Contributions can continue to be paid.

Private Equity

These are shareholdings in a company which isn't quoted on a stock market. This may be a company that is at an early stage of development and so offers the potential for strong earnings growth (with increased risk). Or it could be a private family company. The company may never have been listed on the Stock Exchange or shares may never have been issued to raise capital.

Probate

'Getting probate' refers to the process of securing clearance to deal with the assets of someone who has died. This process ensures that any liability to inheritance tax is assessed and paid, before the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the deceased's Will or the intestacy rules. The equivalent in Scotland is Confirmation.

Profit and Loss Account

Provides a record of a firm's trading activities and whether it has made a profit or lost money over a particular period of time. It differs from the balance sheet that records the financial position of the business at a particular snapshot moment in time.

Profit Warning

When a listed company expects profits to fall below analysts' forecasts by more than 10%, the directors are required to issue a profits warning through the London Stock Exchange.

Protected Rights

Monies that have been accumulated by an individual contracting out of the State Second Pension.

Public Offer

It is a method of issuing new shares to the public, including private and institutional investors.

Publish Limit Order

Mean that your limit order will be made publicly visible to other market participants to facilitate earlier execution.

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Q

Quote

An offer to buy or sell a quote driven security. Quotes are displayed by market makers that are registered in that security.

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R

Real Estate Investment Company (REITS)

These operate in a similar fashion to Investment Trusts. It is a quoted company that owns and manages income producing property, either commercial or residential, and is designed to offer investors income and capital growth from rented property assets in a tax efficient way.

Record Date

the date as set by a company, on which an individual must own shares in order to be eligible to receive a declared dividend.

Redemption Date

The date on which a security (usually a fixed interest stock) is due to be repaid by the issuer at its full face value. The year is included in the title of the security; the actual redemption date being that on which the last interest is due to be paid.

Registered Contact

The registered contact will be authorised to provide instructions to an account provider concerning management of a Junior ISA. The registered contact will either be a person with parental responsibility for the account holder, or an account holder who is 16 or older (subject to an exception for people suffering mental disorder).

Registrar

An organisation responsible for maintaining a company's share register.

Regulatory News Service

The means by which UK listed companies make announcements to the London Stock Exchange

Relevant Income

Any income which is subject to income tax for the tax year. Your income includes earned income (employed or self-employed), pension income, dividends, rental income and income from trusts. This list may not be exhaustive.

Rights Issue

An invitation to existing shareholders to purchase additional shares in the company.

Rights Shares

Companies issue more shares at a later stage to fund further projects. These are issued to existing shareholders on a pro-rata basis. Shareholders have the opportunity to subscribe to these shares at a price lower than the prevailing market value.

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S

S&P 500

Standard and Poors Composite Index- an index comprising shares of 500 US companies reflecting the general trend in the US stock market.

Scheme of Arrangement

A non-optional event proposed by a company on its share capital.

Scrip Dividend

An issue of shares available to shareholders that replaces a dividend payment. Shareholders have the option to forgo their dividend for the share alternative.

Sectors

Grouping of companies having similar products or services.

Securities/ Stocks

The general name for all types of stocks and shares.

Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

A Personal Pension which offers the holder complete control and flexibility of their retirement planning whilst benefiting from all the tax advantages of a Personal pension.

Stock Exchange Electronic Trading Service (SETS)

An order driven trading service.

Sharegift

Allows for the donation of shares that are of little or no value to charity free of charge.

Shareholder

An individual or organisation owning stock in a company.

Share Price

refers to the cost of buying shares, for example, in companies on the stock market.

Shares

A unit of ownership that is a proportional amount of a company. There are different types of shares, including "Ordinary" and "Preference"

Short positions

This is an investment approach which involves selling an asset which isn't possessed. This is done in the expectation that its price will fall so that it can be bought at a lower price. Short positions are generally considered more risky sophisticated investment strategies.

Stamp duty

A tax on certain financial transactions including the purchase and/or transfer of shares. This is currently charged at 0.5% of the amount paid. Gilts and corporate bonds are currently exempt form stamp duty.

Stock exchange

This is a place where stocks and shares are bought and sold.

Stock Exchange Daily Official List number (SEDOL)

A 7 digit alphanumeric number used by the London Stock Exchange to identify stocks.

Stock Exchange Automated Quotations system (SEAQ)

A quote service for UK securities.

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T

Takeover

The acquisition of one business by another.

Tax free lump sum

From age 55 you can take up to 25% of your pension fund free from tax and this is referred to your "tax free lump sum" entitlement.

Tax relief

If you are a basic rate tax payer your pension contributions benefit from 20% tax relief which is reclaimed from the HMRC and allocated to your pension plan. If you are a high rate tax payer you may be able to claim another 20% tax relief via your self assessment.

Third Party

A person other than the named account holder who has access to and authority to deal on the account.

Time and Sales

The official record of trades executed on a stock exchange during the day.

Ticker

The three or four letter trading symbol assigned to the share (and some types of fund - investment trusts and ETF's). Investors often refer to shares by their ticker symbols because of the brevity and because the often remain the same even if a company's name changes.

Total Assets

The sum of all company assets; both fixed and current

Touch

The best buying and selling prices available on Stock Exchange Electronic Trading Service (SETS) or from a market maker on SEAQs in a given security at any one time.

Trade

A trade is a deal made on the London Stock Exchange. Sometimes known as a 'bargain'.

Trail Commission

Fund managers can pay intermediaries trail commission to provide an ongoing service in relation to your investment in their fund. Trail commission is calculated as a percentage of your fund value, typically the percentage is 0.5% per annum, and is accounted for within the fund manager's Annual Management Charge (AMC).

Trading Platform

A trading platform is the technology infrastructure in a stock market that is used to support one or more trading services.

Transitional protection

This refers to Primary, Enhanced, Scheme Specific or Fixed Protection.

Trust

A trust is a way of giving away something of value (the asset) for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries) but without giving them full access to and control over the asset. The asset can include property, shares and money.

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U

Unit Trusts

These are open-ended funds where private investors pool their money to be invested in a portfolio of securities. Unit trusts issue units to investors.

Unit trusts issue units in response to demand. Being open-ended, the unit price is closely aligned to thenet asset value (NAV).

US Person

US Person has the meaning set out in Regulation S of the United States Securities Act 1933 (as amended) (the 'Act') and is understood to include any natural person resident in the United States and/or a partnership or corporation organised or incorporated under the laws of the United States (where 'United States' means the United States of America, its territories and possessions, any state of the United States of America and the District of Columbia). For full detail of what constitutes a US Person, please consult the Act, or seek independent legal and/or other professional advice.

USD

US dollar

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V

Venture Capital Trusts (CTCs)

A VCT is a type of private equity trust established by the government to encourage investment in high-risk, small, young companies. They have traditionally offered lucrative tax concessions to attract risk capital from higher rate tax payers.

Volatility

A measure of the amount of movement in the price of an instrument.

Volume

The number of shares traded over a given period, usually one day.

Voting rights

The entitlement of ordinary shareholders to vote in person or by proxy at annual meetings or annual general meetings (AGM).

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W

w8 ben form

this is a form that allows you to trade in international within Trading, ISA and SIPP accounts. By obtaining this documentation it ensures that you can be given the appropriate tax relief on income paid to you from US stocks and shares.

Warrants

Securities giving the holder a right to subscribe to a share or a bond at a given price from a certain date.

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Z

Zero coupon bonds

are corporate or municipal debt securities that trade at a deep discount from the face value, as the bond pays no interest to the bond holder during its lifetime.

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