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 re posted on February 14, 2012.

acceleration clause A clause in a loan agreement  stating that the entire loan
balance shall become due immediately if a breach of certain conditions stated occurs.
acceptance for honour  When  a  bill  of  exchange  has been dishonoured it may be
accepted by someone who has no interest in the bill in order to safeguard the good
name of the drawee. This is known as Acceptance for Honour.
acceptor Before any value attaches to a bill of exchange it must be accepted by the
person  who  is  to  make  the  payment,  that  is,  the  person  on  whom  it  is  drawn.  Thus
the acceptor of a bill is also the drawee, that is, the debtor.
account payable  (trade creditors) The amounts owed by a business to suppliers
(e.g. for raw materials)
account payee only If a cheque is crossed in this way it can be paid only into the
account of the payee named on the cheque and, therefore, cannot be transferred by
endorsement to someone else as is the case with a simple crossing.
accounting, double-entry An accounting system whereby each transaction is
entered in two accounts. This permits a constant checking of accuracy, since in
double-entry accounting the right side of the balance sheet (assets) always equals
the left side (liabilities plus equity).
accounts payable A business’s current liabilities or debts that must be paid within 1
accounts receivable (trade debtors) Amounts due to a business payable within 1
year (Current Assets), from customers for sales made on credit.
accounts receivable financing Financing receivables for Working Capital. (Books
acts of god Term denotes any occurrence to denote that cannot be ascribed to
human agency and, therefore, could not be foreseen, such as storms, floods, etc.
ad valorem Taxes/duties calculated according to value (amount to be paid is
proportionate to the value). Many stamp duties also are ad valorem.
administrator A person appointed by a court to settle the estate of a deceased
person according to the terms of the will when the will has named no executor or the
one named has failed to qualify.
advising bank A bank in an exporter’s own country that informs the exporter that a
letter of credit has been opened with a foreign bank, by the importer.
affidavit A sworn statement in writing before a proper official, usually a notary
public. 2
after date The words used in a bill of exchange to indicate that the period of the bill
should commence from the date inserted on the bill, e.g. ‘…… 30 days after date, pay
after sight The words used in a bill of exchange to indicate that the period of the bill
should commence from the date on which it is presented to the drawee for
acceptance, i.e., has sight of it.
agent A person who acts for another person by a Power of Attorney. The
distinguishing characteristics of an agent are (a) that he or she acts on behalf, and
subject to the control, of his or her principal; (b) that he or she does not have title to
the property of his or her principal; and (c) that he or she owes the duty of
obedience to the orders given by his or her principal.
allonge Paper attached to a negotiable instrument. Used for endorsements when
there is no space for them on the instrument itself.
amalgamation The combining of two or more separate businesses into a new one,
while dissolving the original businesses.
amortisation This term is used in two senses: 1) repayment of loan over a period of
time; 2) write-off of an expenditure (like issue cost of shares) over a period of time.
annual report A formal financial report issued annually to shareholders by a
company. The annual report generally includes a set of financial statements (balance
sheet, income statement, etc.); the auditor’s report;  a review of the year’s
accomplishments; and management’s expectations for the future.
annualise To convert statistics for a certain  period into figures that would be
represented if the statistics for the period continued for a year. For example, sales of
100 during a certain month might be expressed as sales of 1,200 on an annualised
appraisal 1) A report containing an opinion of value based upon a factual analysis.
2) The act of making such an analysis.
asset and liability management The management of a bank’s assets and liabilities
to maximise profits. This requires planning to meet needs for liquidity, avoiding
excessive risk of default, planning maturities to avoid unwanted exposure to interestrate risk, and controlling interest rates offered and paid to assure an adequate
spread between the cost of, and the return on, funds.
asset management The management of the financial assets of a company in order
to maximise the return on the investment.
assets, current Form part of the working capital of a business and are turned over
frequently in the course of trade. The most common current assets are stock in
trade, debtors, (converted into cash, usually within 1 year), and cash.
assets, intangible (invisible asset) An asset which has no substance or physical
body; Nonmaterial resources of a firm having no quantifiable value, such as a patent,
franchise, or good will (An asset that can neither be seen nor touched). (E.g. The 3
purchase price of ‘Goodwill’ is determined by the profits a business has enjoyed due
to business ethics, quality of the product handled, or desirable location).
assets, tangible Material resources that can be touched or recognised with the
senses, such as cash, land, or machinery. (Can be transferred/converted/disposed).
assignment  The  act  of  transferring,  of  a  document  (a  deed  of  assignment)
transferring, property. Examples of assignment include the transfer of rights under a
LIC Policy.
assignment of life policies Transfer of the legal right under a life-Insurance policy
to collect the proceeds. Assignment is only valid if the life insurer is advised and
agrees; life insurance is the only form of insurance in which  the assignee need not
possess an insurable interest.
at sight A term used on a bill of exchange to indicate that it is payable on its being
presented. In contrast to other bills of exchange it does not require to be accepted.
Such a bill is known as a ‘sight’ bill. Legally a cheque is a bill of exchange of this
attachment 1) Legal writ of process for seizing a person’s property and bringing it
into the custody of the law; to arrest a fund in the hands of a third person who may
become liable to pay it over. 2) The seizure of property by court order. Attachments
are usually taken to provide security in a pending suit.
authorised capital When a new company is formed its application for registration is
accompanied by a statement indicating the amount of capital with which it proposes
to  be  registered.  This  is  known  as  its  nominal, registered, or authorised capital. The
actual amount issued may be less than this, and so the company will be able to
increase its capital at a later date up to the full amount authorised without further
application to the Registrar of Companies.
authorised dealer A bank that is permitted by RBI to deal in foreign exchange.
automated teller machine (ATM) A machine, activated by a magnetically encoded
card or by the transmission of a code via a keyboard or keyset, that allows
customers to make routine banking transactions, such as withdrawal and deposit of
funds, transfer of funds between accounts, and the payment of certain obligations,
especially outside normal banking hours. May also be used to obtain statements.
They are, generally, operated by Credit/ATM/Debit cards or multifunctional cards in
conjunction with PIN. ATMs are often known colloquially as cash dispensers. They
can be ‘On site’ (at the Bank) or ‘Off site’.
average clause 1) In an insurance policy, in which it is stated that the sum payable
in the event of a claim shall not be more than the proportion that the insured value
of an item bears to its actual value. 2) A partial loss in marine insurance.
bad debt An amount owed by a debtor that is unlikely to be paid; example, due to a
company going into liquidation. 
bailee 1) An individual or other legal entity who receives and holds property under a
contract of bailment. 2) A person who receives goods or money from another person
in trust. 4
bailor A person who delivers property in trust to another person or legal entity for a
certain purpose and limited period.
balance of payment 1) The accounts setting out a country’s transactions with the
outside world. They are divided into various sub-accounts notably by the current
account and the capital account. The former  includes the trade account, which
records the balance of imports and exports. Overall the accounts must always be in
balance. A deficit or surplus on the balance of payments refers to an imbalance on a
sub-account, usually the amount of which the foreign-exchange reserves of the
government have been depleted or increased. The conventions  used for presenting
balance-of-payments statistics are those recommended by the International
Monetary Fund. 2) A double-entry bookkeeping system that records all of a country’s
receipts from and payments to foreign countries during a given period.
balance of trade The accounts setting out the results (over a period) of a country’s
trading position. It is a component of the balance of payments, forming part of the
current account. It includes both the visibles (i.e., imports and exports in physical
form/merchandise) and the invisible balance (receipts  and expenditure on such
services as insurance, finance, freight and tourism).
balance sheet A statement of the total assets and liabilities of an organisation at a
particular date, usually the last day of the accounting period. The statement lists the
fixed and current assets and, shows how they have been financed (liabilities).
balloon payment  The last payment on a loan when that payment is substantially
larger than other earlier payments.
bancassurance (allfinanz) The combination of traditional loan and saving bank
products with such assurance products.
bank credit card A credit card, issued by a bank, used as a means of indicating to
participating merchants that the issuing bank has established a line of credit for the
cardholder and will pay the sales notes submitted by the merchant. The specific
financial arrangements with the issuing bank may not be discernible from the card.
bank draft (banker’s cheque; banker’s draft) A cheque drawn by a bank on
itself or its agent. A person who owes money to another buys the draft from a bank 
and hands it to the creditor who need have no fear that it might be dishonoured. A
bank draft is used if the creditor is unwilling to accept an ordinary cheque.
bank for international settlements (BIS) An international bank originally
established in 1930 as a financial institution to coordinate the payment of war
reparations between European central banks. It was hoped that the BIS, with
headquarters in Basle, would develop into a European central bank but many of its
functions were taken over by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after World
bank guarantee An undertaking given by a bank to settle a debt should the debtor
fail to do so. A bank guarantee can be used as a security for a loan but the banks
themselves will require good cover in cash or counter-indemnity before they issue a
guarantee. A guarantee has to be in writing to be legally binding. Such guarantees 5
are backed, amongst other collateral, by  counter guarantees  with an indemnity
clause. They are immediately paid on invocation.
bank rate The rate at which the central bank of the country is prepared to lend to
the other banks in the banking system.
banker’s acceptance A time draft (usance bill) (bill of exchange) drawn on and
accepted by the bank on which it was drawn (i.e., stamped with the word ‘accepted’
and signed by a representative of the bank). it usually arises from international trade
transactions where there is an underlying obligation of a buyer to make the payment
to a seller at some future time. Many  banker’s acceptances are created when
payment is made by a letter of credit. In all instances, the bank accepting the draft
assumes the obligation of making payment at maturity on behalf of the buyer or the
buyer’s bank.
barratry Any act committed wilfully by the master or crew of a ship to the detriment
of its owner or charterer.
barter The exchanging of goods for goods without the use of money. It has three
serious drawbacks; i) it is dependent on two people mutually being able to satisfy
one another’s wants; ii) a rate of exchange has to be determined before a
transaction can take place; iii) the exchange of large for small commodities is
difficult. The use of a medium of exchange overcomes the difficulties of barter.
base currency The currency used as the basis for an exchange rate i.e., a foreign
currency rate of exchange is quoted per single unit of the base currency, usually
sterling or US dollars.
base rate The rate used as a basis by banks for the rates they quote to charge their
customers. In practice most customers will pay a premium over base rate to take
care of the bank’s profit and risk involved, competitive market pressures.
Basel Capital Accord The Basel Capital Accord is an Agreement concluded among
country representatives in 1988 to develop standardised risk-based capital
requirements for banks across countries. The Accord was replaced with a new capital
adequacy framework (Basel II), in June 2004.
Basel II is based on three mutually reinforcing pillars that allow banks and
supervisors to evaluate properly the various risks that banks face. These three pillars
are (a) minimum capital requirements,  which seek to refine the present
measurement framework; (b) supervisory review of an institution’s capital adequacy
and internal assessment process; (c) market discipline through effective disclosure to
encourage safe and sound banking practices.
Basel Committee on Banking Supervision The Basel Committee is a committee
of bank supervisors consisting of members from each of the G10 countries. The
Committee is a forum for discussion on the handling of specific supervisory
problems. It coordinates the sharing of supervisory responsibilities among national
authorities in respect of banks’ foreign establishments with the aim of ensuring
effective supervision of banks’ activities worldwide. 6
basis point One hundredth of one per cent; this unit is often used in finance when
prices involve fine margins. Typically used in expressing bond yield differentials
(9.50% - (minus) 9.15%=0.35% or thirty-five basis points).
basket of currencies A group of selected currencies used to establish a value for
some other currency.
Basle Concordat The basis for cooperation between European banks. The concordat
was agreed in 1975 and revised in 1983. It  provides a moral rather than practical
obligation for banks to be supervised and to help one another. It was formulated by
the Cooke Committee on Banking and Regulation.
bear market A market dominated by bears. (A bear is an operator who has a
pessimistic view of future).
bearer A term applied to cheques and bonds, the possession of which gives a right
to payment without endorsement. A cheque payable to bearer, unless crossed, can
be cashed over the counter of the issuing bank without having to be endorsed by the
person presenting it. Bank-notes are always payable to bearer.
bearer bonds Bonds which can be transferred from one person to another without
the new ownership having to be registered, the legal owner being the holder.
bearer security A security for which possession is the primary evidence of
beneficiary  1) A person for whose benefit a trust exist. 2) A person who benefits
under a will. 3) A person who receives money from the proceeds of a letter of credit.
bill discount A promissory note or bill of exchange from which a bank has deducted,
in advance, its fees or interest (discount) charge for lending the funds.
bill of entry Particulars of all goods imported into the country are required by the
Customs at the port of entry. These particulars are given on a form known as a Bill
of Entry.
bill of exchange An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person (the
drawer) to another (the drawee) and signed by the person giving it, requiring the
drawee to pay on demand or at a fixed or determined future time a specified sum of
money to or to the order of a specified person (the payee) or to the bearer. If the bill
is payable at a future time the drawee signifies (sign) acceptance, which makes the
drawee the party primarily liable upon the bill; the drawer and endorsers may also
be liable upon a bill (as sureties). The use of bills of exchange enables one person to
transfer to another an enforceable right to a sum of money. A bill of exchange is not
only transferable but also negotiable, since, if a person without an enforceable right
to the money transfers a bill to a holder in due course (for value), the latter obtains
a good title to it.
bill of lading 1) A document acknowledging the shipment of a consignor’s goods for
carriage by sea. It is used primarily when the ship is carrying goods belonging to a
number of consignors (a general ship). In  this case, each consignor receives a bill
issued (normally by the master of the ship) on behalf of either the ship-owner or a
charterer under a charterparty. The bill serves three functions; it is a receipt for the 7
goods; it summarises the terms of the contract of carriage; and it acts as a
document of title to the goods. During transit, ownership of the goods may be
transferred by delivering the bill to another if it is drawn to bearer or by endorsing it
if it is drawn to order. It is not, however, a negotiable instrument. The bill gives
details of the goods, fright, etc., if the packages are in good order a clean bill is
issued; if they are not, the bill says so (a dirty bill of lading). It is, generally, asked
in a set of which each is valid. 2) A document used in foreign trade, it gives the
name of the ship and full particulars of  the goods – the quantity, their type, the
special markings on the packing cases (if any), any other important details, together
with the names of the ports of embarkation and disembarkation. A Bill of Lading is a
document of title, giving the holder a right to possession of the goods to which it
blanket policy An insurance policy that covers a number of items but has only one
total sum inured for individual items. The policy can be of any type, e.g. covering a
fleet of vehicles or a group of buildings.
blocked account A bank account from which money cannot be withdrawn, for any
of a number of reasons.
blue chip Colloquial name for any of the ordinary shares in the most highly regarded
(rated) companies traded on a stock market. Originating in the USA, the name
comes from the colour of the highest value chip used in poker. Blue-chip companies
have a well-known name, a good growth record, excellent record in management,
conservative financial structure, regular dividend payments, and large assets. The
main part of an investor’s equity portfolio will consist of blue chips.
body corporate A corporation consisting of a body of persons legally authorised to
act as one person (company), while being distinct from the person (company). For
example, the shareholders of a company are separate from the company.
bonus shares Shares issued to existing shareholders as a result of capitalisation of
book value The value of an asset as recorded in the books of account of an
organisation. This is normally the historical cost of the asset reduced by amounts
written off for depreciation.
bottom line The profit figure used as the earnings figure in the earnings-per share
calculation of a company.
BPO/ Call Centre A Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organisation is responsible
for performing a process or a part of a  process of another business organisation.
Such  outsourcing  is  done  to  save  on  costs  or  gain  in  productivity.  They  use
information technology in the processing and delivery of their services, through
telecommunications/ data networks/ electronic media.
A Call Centre performs that part of a client’s business which involves handling
telephone calls. (E.g., Customer complaints coming in over a telephone.)
break-even Carrying on business so that neither profit nor loss is made. 8
break-even point The point at which total fixed and variable costs exactly equal
break-up value The value of an asset on the assumption that an organisation will
not continue in business. On this assumption the assets are likely to be sold
piecemeal and probably in haste (distress sale).
Bretton Woods The site where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
were founded in 1944. Rules were developed there regarding fixed exchange rates.
Bretton Woods Agreement (1944) An international conference which met at
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA, in 1944 to consider the international monetary
system to be operated after the end of the Second World War. Experience of
restrictionist practices during the 1930s had clearly only led to a reduction of world
trade, and therefore the conference condemned all such devices as multiple
exchange rates, blocked accounts, bilateral trade agreements, and all forms of
exchange control.
To achieve these objectives two new international institutions were proposed- the
International Monetary Fund and International (or World) Bank. 
Bretton Woods Conference A conference (the United Nations Monetary and
Financial Conference) held in July 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the
USA, at which USA, UK and Canada established a system of international finance,
resulting in the setting up of the International Monetary Fund and International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development.
Bretton Woods System A system designed in 1944 at Bretton Woods to facilitate
foreign exchange and stabilise exchange rates.
bridge loan Temporary finance provided to a project until long term arrangements
are made.
broad money An informal name for M3.
brussels tariff nomenclature (BTN) This has been adopted by the International
Customs Convention to which most of the free countries are signatories. All tariffs
are imposed on the basis of this classification of goods. It runs into about one
hundred chapters with each  chapter classifying a group of items originating from a
common raw material. The chapter is then subdivided upto two digits, e.g. 69-72
means the 72nd  item in chapter 69.
buyer credit In export finance, a means whereby the overseas importer uses a loan
to pay the exporter.
call money Money put into the money market that can be called at short notice.
call option A short-term instrument that gives the owner the right to buy a security
at a fixed price until a stated future date. 9
CAMEL A mnemonic for the five principal areas examined by bank supervisory
C – capital adequacy
A – asset quality
M– management quality 
E – earnings
L – liquidity
capital Capital refers to the funds (e.g., money, loans, equity) which are available to
carry on a business, make an investment, and generate future revenue. Capital also
refers to physical assets which can be used to generate future returns.
capital adequacy A measure of the adequacy of an entity’s capital resources in
relation to its current liabilities and also in relation to the risks associated with its
An appropriate level of capital adequacy ensures that the entity has sufficient capital
to support its activities and that its net worth is sufficient to absorb adverse changes
in the value of its assets without becoming changes in the value of its assets without
becoming insolvent. For example, under  BIS (Bank for International Settlements)
rules, banks are required to maintain a certain level of capital against their riskadjusted assets.
capital gains Gains arising from the sale of capital assets.
case law    Legal principles enunciated and embodied in judicial decisions that are
derived from the application of particular areas of law to the facts of individual cases.
As opposed to statutes — legislative acts that proscribe certain conduct by
demanding or prohibiting something or that declare the legality of particular acts —
case law is a dynamic and constantly developing body of law."
case of need An endorsement written on a bill  of exchange giving the name of
someone to whom the holder may apply if the bill is not honoured at maturity.
cash conversion cycle  The  length  of  time  required  for  a  firm  to  move  through  the
production cycle, from cash to purchasing and processing materials, through
collecting accounts receivables, and back into cash.
cash flow The amount of cash being received and expended by a business, which is
often analysed into its various components. A cash flow projection (or cash budget)
sets out all the expected payments and receipts in a given period.
certificate of commencement of business A document issued by the Registrar of
Companies to a public company on incorporation; it certifies that the nominal value
of the company’s allotted share capital is at least equal to authorised minimum. Until
the certificate has been issued, the company cannot do business or exercise its
borrowing powers.
certificate of deposit (CD) A formal receipt for funds left with a bank as a special
deposit. Such deposits may  bear interest, in which case they are payable at a
definite date in future or after a specified minimum notice of withdrawal. 10
certificate of incorporation The certificate that brings a company into existence; it
is issued to the company by the Registrar  of  Companies.  It  is  issued  when  the
Memorandum and Articles of Association have been submitted to the Registrar of
Companies, together with other documents that disclose the proposed registered
address of the company, details of the proposed directors and company secretary,
the nominal and issued share capital. The  statutory registration fee must also be
submitted. Until the certificate is issued, the company has no legal existence.
certificate of origin A document issued to certify  the country of origin for goods
traded internationally.
cheque 1) A ‘bill of exchange drawn on a banker payable on demand’. It is an order,
written by the drawer, to a banker to pay on demand a specified sum of money to
the person or persons named as payee on the cheque. Cheques have been exempted
from stamp duty. The drawer completes the cheque by inserting the name of the
payee,  the  amount  he  or  she  is  to  be  paid, and then dating and signing it. The
cheque may be made payable to the payee or order, or to the payee or bearer. It
may  be  either  open  or  crossed.  If  it  is  open  it  can  be  cashed  at  the  branch  of  the
bank on which it has been drawn, but if it has been crossed it must be paid into a
banking account. In the case of a bearer  cheque no endorsement is required, but
endorsement of an order cheque is required unless it is paid directly in to the payee’s
own account.  2) In a crossed cheque two parallel lines across the face of the cheque
indicate that it must be paid into a bank account and not cashed over the counter (a
general crossing). A special crossing may be used in order to further restrict the
negotiability of the cheque, for example adding the name of the payee’s bank. An
open cheque is an uncrossed cheque that can  be  cashed  at  the  bank  of  origin.  An
order cheque is one made payable to a named recipient ‘or order’ enabling the payee
to either deposit it in an account or endorse it to a third party, i.e. transfer the rights
to the cheque by signing it on the reverse.  3) By endorsing an order cheque the
payee can renounce his interest in it and use it to pay a debt of his own to another
person. Restrictions can be placed on the negotiability of cheques by means of
special crossings.
CHIPS Abbreviation for Clearing House Inter-Bank Payments System.
clean bill A bill without documents attached to it, in contrast to a Documentary Bill.
closed-end fund A fund set up by an investment company that issues a fixed
number of shares to its investors.
commercial paper (CP) A relatively low-risk short-term unsecured form of
borrowing. The main issuers are large creditworthy rated companies. 
commitment fee  An  amount  charged  by  a  bank  to  keep  open  a  line  of  credit  or  to
continue to make unused loan facilities available to a potential borrower. 
company A corporate enterprise that has a legal identity separate from that of its
members; it operates as one single unit, in the success of which all the members
An incorporated company is a legal person in its own right, able to own property and
to sue and be sued in its own name. A company may have limited liability (a limited
company), so that the liability of the members for the company’s debts is limited. 11
A private company is any registered company that is not a public company. The
shares of a private company not offered to the public for sale. The legal
requirements for such a company are less strict. 
conditional sale agreement A contract of sale under which the price is payable by
instalments and ownership does not pass to the buyer (who is in possession of
goods) until specified conditions relating to the payment have been fulfilled. The
seller retains ownership of the goods as security until paid in full.
conditionality The terms under which the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
provides balance-of-payments support to member states. The principle is the support
will only be given on the condition that it is accompanied by steps to solve the
underlying problem. Programmes of economic reform are agreed with the member;
these emphasise the attainment of a sustainable balance-of-payments position and
boosting the supply side of the economy.
confirmed letter of credit A letter of credit issued by the local bank of an importer
and confirmed by another bank, usually located in the exporter’s country. The
second bank’s irrevocable obligation is added to the obligation of the issuing bank to
honour drafts and documents presented in accordance with the terms of credit.
consideration A promise by one party to a contract that constitutes the price for
buying a promise from the other party to the contract. A consideration is essential if
a contract, is to be valid.
consular invoice An invoice for merchandise shipped from one country to another,
prepared by the shipper and certified at the shipping point by a consul of the country
of destination. The consul’s certification applies to the value of the merchandise, port
of shipment, destination, and, in certain cases, place of origin of the merchandise.
consumer credit Short-term loan to the public for the purchase of goods. The most
common forms of consumer credit are credit accounts at retail outlets, personal
loans from banks, hire purchase and credit cards.
contingent liability 1) A liability that, at a balance sheet date, can be anticipated to
arise if a particular event occurs. Typical examples include a court case pending
against the company, the outcome of which is uncertain, or loss of earnings as a
result of a customer invoking a penalty  clause in a contract that may not be
completed on time. Such liabilities must  be explained by a note on the company
balance sheet.  2) The obligation of a person or business that guarantees a payment.
3) A liability that will only exist if a specific event occurs. (Letters of Credit and Bank
Guarantees are two examples of Contingent Liability for the banks).
continuing guarantee A guarantee of one party’s debts by another party that is
not limited to a specific loan but may also be applicable to the later debts.
contribution margin The difference between revenue and variable cost. Unit
contribution margin is the difference between unit selling price and unit variable cost.
Total contribution margin is the difference between total revenue and total variable
convertibility The extent of which one currency can be freely exchanged for
convertible bond A bond giving the investor the option to convert the bond into
equity at a fixed conversion price or as per a pre-determined pricing formula.
convertible security Bond or preferred stock which is convertible into equity shares
at the option of the holder.
corporate seal A company’s official seal (an emblem or a device that imprints that
emblem). The corporate seal is usually required for authentication of legal
corporation A business organisation that is treated as a single legal entity and is
owned by its share holders, whose liability is generally limited to the extent of their
investment. The ownership of a corporation is represented by shares  that are issued
to  people  or  to  other  companies  in  exchange for cash, physical assets, services, and
good will. The share holders elect the board of directors, which then directs the
management of the corporation’s affairs.
correspondent bank A bank in foreign country that offers banking facilities to the
customers of a bank in another country. These arrangements are usually the result
of agreements, often reciprocal, between the two banks. The most frequent
correspondent banking facilities used are those of money transactions.
counter trade The practice in international trading of paying for goods in a form
other than by currency. For example, a  South American country wishing to buy
aircraft may countertrade by paying in coffee beans.
country risk The possibility that a foreign government will either prevent the
fulfilment of a contract entered into by  a company or take over control of the
management of overseas subsidiaries.
coupon The  stated  rate  of  interest  on  a  bond. One of a series of actual certificates,
attached to the bond, each evidencing interest owed from time to time.
coupon rate The stated interest rate on a bond.
covenant 1) A promise by a definite provision in a loan agreement by one party to
another regarding the performance or non-performance of certain acts, or a promise
that certain conditions do or do not exist. 2) Agreement by a borrower contained in
the documents, legally binding upon the Borrower over the life of the loan, unless
otherwise stated, to perform certain acts such as the timely provision of financial
statements or to refrain from certain acts such as incurring further indebtedness
beyond an agreed level.
credit card A plastic card issued by a bank or finance organisation to enable holders
to obtain credit in shops, hotels, restaurants, petrol stations, etc. The retailer or
trader receives periodical payments from  the credit-card company equal to its total
sales in the period by means of their credit cards. Customers also receive monthly
statements from the credit-card company, which may be paid in full within a certain
number of days with no interest charged, or they may make a specified minimum
payment and pay interest on the outstanding balance. 13
credit rating An assessment of the creditworthiness of an individual or a firm, i.e.
the extent to which they can safely be granted credit. Traditionally, banks have
provided confidential trade references (status reports).
crossing This means drawing two parallel lines across the face of a cheque, the
effect of which is to make it necessary to pay it into a banking account. There are
several types of general and special crossing which can be used to place restrictions
on the negotiability of a cheque.
cumulative preference shares  If in a previous year the  interest on these shares
has not been paid the holders are entitled to receive it in a later year before any
dividend is paid on the ordinary shares, if profit is available.
currency swap A transaction in which specified amounts of one currency are
exchanged for another  currency at a fixed rate.
currency, foreign exchange position A bank’s net holdings in foreign exchange in
any particular currency at any given time.
D/P  Abbreviation for documents against payment.
dated security A stock that has a fixed redemption date.
days of grace The extra time allowed for payment of a bill of exchange after the
actual due date. With bills of exchange the usual custom is to allow 3 days of grace
(not including Sundays and Bank holidays)
debenture The most common form of long-term  loan taken by a company. It is
usually a loan repayable at a fixed date, although some debentures are irredeemable
securities; these are sometimes called perpetual debentures. Most debentures also
pay a fixed rate of interest, and this interest must be paid before a dividend is paid
to shareholders. Most debentures are also secured on the borrower’s assets. If
debentures are issued to a large number of people  trustees may be appointed to act
on behalf of the debenture holders. There may be a premium on redemption and
some debentures are convertible, i.e. they can be converted into ordinary shares on
a specified date, usually at a specified  price. The advantage of debentures to
companies is that they carry lower interest rate than, say, institutional loans and are
usually repayable a long time into the future. For an investor, they are usually
saleable on a stock exchange and involve less risk than equities.
debit card A plastic card issued by a bank to enable its customers with accounts to
pay for goods or services at certain retail outlets by using the telephone network to
debit their accounts directly.
debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) In corporate finance, it is the amount of cash
flow available to meet annual interest and principal payments on debt.
DSCR = Net Operating Income ÷ Total Debt Service  or
 =(Net Profit (after Tax) + Interest on TL) ÷ Instalments of and Interest on TL
A DSCR of less than 1 would mean a negative cash flow. A DSCR of less than 1,
say .95,  would mean that there is only enough net operating income to cover 95%
of annual debt payments. For example, in the context of personal finance, this would
mean that the borrower would have to delve into his or her personal funds every
month to keep the project afloat. Generally, lenders frown on a negative cash flow,
but some allow it if the borrower has strong outside income. 
degree of operating leverage The percentage change in earnings before interest
and taxes as a result of one percent change in sales.
depreciation An amount charged to the profit and loss account of an organisation to
represent the wearing out or diminution in value of an asset (fixed assets, such as
buildings, machinery, and equipment). The amount charged is normally based on a
percentage of the value of the asset as  shown in the books; however, the way in
which the percentage is used reflects different views of depreciation. Straight-line
depreciation allocates a given percentage of the cost of the asset each year, thus
suggesting an even spread of the cost of the asset over its useful life. Reducing  (or
diminishing) (written down) balance depreciation applies a constant percentage
reduction first to the cost of the asset and subsequently to the cost as reduced (net)
by previous depreciations. In this way reducing amounts are charged periodically to
the profit and loss account; by this method the depreciated value of the asset in the
balance sheet may approximate more closely to its true value. The accumulated
depreciation provides funds to replace the assets when they are no longer usable.
derivative A financial instrument, the price of which has a strong correlation with a
related or underlying commodity, currency, or financial instrument. The most
common derivatives are futures, options, forwards and swaps. For example, a
forward contract can be derived from the spot currency market and the spot markets
for borrowing and lending. In the past, derivative instruments tended to be restricted
only to those products which could be derived from spot markets. However, today
the term seems to be used for any product that can be derived from any other.
direct quotation An exchange rate expressed in fixed units of a foreign currency
and variable amounts of a domestic currency. ($1=Rs.43/-)
discount A deduction from a bill of exchange  when  it  is  discounted  before  its
maturity date. The party that purchases (discounts) the bill pays less than its face
value and therefore makes a profit when it matures. The amount of the discount
consists of interest calculated for the length of time that the bill has to run.
discounted cash flow (DCF) A method of capital budgeting or capital expenditure
appraisal that predicts the stream  of  cash  flows,  both  inflows and outflows, over the
estimated life of a project and discount them, using a cost of capital or hurdle rate,
to present values or discounted values in order to determine whether the project is
likely to be financially feasible. A number of appraisal approaches use the DCF
principle, namely the net present value, the internal rate of return, and the
profitability index. Most computer spreadsheet programmes now include a DCF
appraisal routine.
dishonour  To  fail  to  accept  a  bill  of  exchange (dishonour by non-acceptance) or to
fail to pay a bill of exchange (dishonoured by non-payment.) A dishonoured foreign
bill must be protested.
documentary bill  A  bill  of  exchange  attached  to the shipping documents of a
consignment of goods. These documents include the bill of lading, insurance policy,
packing list, invoice, etc.
documents (international) Documents presented with  a letter of credit, which
may include a draft; bill of lading, commercial invoice; marine insurance policy or
certificate; certificate of origin; weight list; packing list; and the inspection certificate
(or certificate of analysis). These documents must be examined and their contents
verified before a draft is paid under a letter of credit.
documents against acceptance (D/A) draft A time draft to which title documents
are attached. The documents are surrendered to the drawee when the drawee has
accepted the corresponding draft, thereby acknowledging his or her obligation to pay
the draft when it matures.
documents against payment (D/P) draft A sight draft to which title
documents are attached. The documents are surrendered to the drawee only when
the drawee has paid the corresponding draft.
dormant/inoperative accounts  An account which has little or no activity for a
period of time. Generally speaking, dormant accounts are construed as being owned
by depositors who have moved from the address known to the bank without serving
notice of relocation, or depositors who are deceased without the bank’s knowledge.
For this reason, banks usually place these accounts in a separate controlled ledger
accessible only to an authorised officer of the bank.
draft (bill of exchange) A signed order by one party (the drawer) addressed to
another (the drawee) directing the drawee to pay at sight or at a definable time in
the future a specified sum of money to the order of a third person (the payee). A
draft is the basic financial instrument.
drawback (duty draw back) A return of previously collected customs duties, when
the imported goods are subsequently exported.
drawee 1) The person on whom a bill of exchange is drawn (i.e. to whom it is
addressed). The drawee will accept it and pay it on maturity.  2) The bank on whom
a cheque is drawn, i.e. the bank holding the account of the individual or company
that wrote it. 3) The bank named in a bank draft.
drawer  1) A person who signs a bill of exchange ordering the drawee to pay the
specified sum at the specified time. 2) A  person who signs a cheque ordering the
drawee bank to pay a specified sum of money on demand. 3) In the case of a bill of
exchange he is the creditor, whereas for a cheque the drawer is the debtor.
due diligence 1) An internal analysis by a lender, such as a bank, of existing debts
owed by a borrower in order to identify or re-evaluate the risk. 2) An independent
analysis of the current financial state  and future prospects of a company in
anticipation of a major investment of venture capital or a share issue. 3) Detailed
review of a borrower’s overall position, conducted by representative of the lead
manager, often with the assistance of  legal counsel. Due diligence is normally
performed in conjunction with the preparation of the documentation for a new issue. 16
earning assets The loans and investments that together represent the source of
most bank revenue. Earning assets should be distinguished from non-earning assets
such as cash.
earnings per share (EPS) The most common method of expressing a company’s
profit. Earning per share equals the net income divided by the number of outstanding
eCheque The electronic cheque (eCheque) is a new payment instrument combining
the security, speed and processing efficiencies of all electronic transactions with the
familiar and well developed legal infrastructure and business processes associated
with paper cheques. eCheque leverages the cheque payment system, a core
competency of banking industry. It fits within current business practices, eliminating
the need for expensive reengineering. It works like a paper cheque, but it does so in
a purely electronic form, requiring less manual process.
economic order quantity (EOQ) The quantity of goods  ordered which minimises
the sum of inventory ordering cost and inventory carrying cost.
electronic funds transfer system (EFTS) A system designed  to facilitate the
exchange of monetary value by electronic means. Objectives include expanding the
times when, and places where, basic financial reserves  are available and reducing
the present growth in the volume of paper (cash and cheques).
EMS European Monetary System
EMU European Monetary Union
encumbered Property against which some claim, such as a mortgage/lien, has been
endorsement (indorsement)  1)  A  signature  on  the  back  of  a  bill  of  exchange  or
cheque, making it payable to the person who signed it. A bill can be endorsed any
number of times, the presumption being that the endorsements were made in the
order in which they appear; the last named being the holder to receive the payment.
If the bill is blank endorsed, i.e. no endorsee is named, it is payable to the bearer. In
case of restrictive endorsement of the form ‘Pay X only’, it ceases to be a negotiable
instrument. A special endorsement, when the endorsee is specified, becomes payable
to order, which in short for ‘in obedience to the order of’. 2) The signature, placed on
the back of a negotiable instrument that  transfers the instrument to another party
and legally implies that the endorser has the right to transfer the instrument.
endorsement in blank The signature of an authorised  person  on  the  back  of  a
negotiable instrument, which is not accompanied by the specific name of the party to
whom the instrument is being transferred. Endorsement in blank makes the
instrument as transferable as if it were in bearer form.
endorsement qualified An endorsement containing the words ‘without recourse’ or
similar language intended to limit the endorser’s liability if the debtor fails to honour
the instrument.
endorsement restrictive An endorsement that restricts the negotiability of the
instrument, for example, ‘for deposit only’. 17
endorsement special An endorsement that designates the party to whom the
instrument will be transferred.
equitable charge A charge on property imposed by and  enforceable in a court of
law. A conveyance of real property, absolute on its face but intended only as security
for a loan, may constitute an equitable charge on the property.
equitable mortgage Where a person delivers to a creditor or his agent documents
of title to immovable property, with intent to create a security thereon, the
transaction is called a mortgage by deposit of title-deeds (Equitable Mortgage).
equities Securities that represent owned rather than borrowed capital. The value of
the shareholder’s ownership of a company, which equals the difference between the
company’s total assets and its total liabilities. Equity includes shares (preference and
ordinary),  retained earnings, and other surplus reserves.
escrow An agency service offered by trust departments to individuals and
corporations. The escrow agent provides safekeeping  for cash, securities, or
documents until certain conditions, required by an escrow agreement between two
parties, are met. The escrow agent then surrenders the  assets, as required by the
agreement. The subject matter of the  transaction (the money, securities,
instruments, or other property) is the escrow.
escrow agreement A document, agreed to by two or more parties, that appoints
and authorises an agent to perform certain acts on their behalf. An escrow
agreement authorises the disbursement of funds on the satisfaction of certain
executor A party, named in a will to carry out its terms. The executor gathers the
assets of the creator of the will. Pays all taxes, debts and expenses, and distributes
the net estate as ordered in the will.
export credit guarantee corporation of india limited (ECGC) The two main
functions of this organisation are to insure the export proceeds against potential
insolvency of the foreign buyer, etc.,  and to guarantee advances by Commercial
Banks to exporters against orders (both fund and non-fund based).
face value 1) The nominal value printed on the face of a security. This is known also
as the par value. It may be more, or less, than the market value. 2) The principal of
a security, insurance policy, or unit of currency, expressed in a monetary sum and
marked on the item. For securities, the  face value and market value are usually
different until the point of maturity, that difference being called the premium or
factoring 1) The buying of the trade debts of a business, assuming the task of debt
collection and accepting the credit risk, thus providing the manufacturer with
working capital. A firm that engages in factoring is called a factor. ‘With service’
factoring involves collecting the debts, assuming the credit risk, and passing on the
funds as they are paid by the buyer. ‘With service plus finance’ factoring involves
paying the manufacturer up to 90% of the invoice value immediately after delivery of
the goods, with the balance paid after the money has been collected. This form of
factoring is clearly more expensive than ‘with service’ factoring. In either case the 18
factor, which may be a bank or finance house, has the right to select its debtors. 2)
A financial method in which the borrower assigns or sells his receivables as collateral
to a firm, called a factor, which normally assumes responsibility for collection.
factoring company A firm which will take over the collection of trade debts on
behalf of others. The factoring company buys up its clients’ invoices and then itself
claim payment. A firm employing a factoring company will thus have more capital at
its disposal, an important consideration in times credit restriction.
fidelity guarantee An insurance policy covering employees of an employer for any
financial losses  an organisation may sustain as a result of the dishonesty of the
employees. Policies can be arranged to  cover all employees or specific named
persons. Because of the nature of the cover, insurers  require full details of the
procedure adopted by the organisation in recruiting and vetting new employees and
they usually reserve the right to refuse to cover a particular person without giving a
fiduciary 1) Denoting a person who holds property in trust or as an executor.
Persons acting in a fiduciary capacity do so not for their own profit but to safeguard
the interests of some other person or persons.  2) A fiduciary relationship between
two parties with regard to a business contract, or piece of property, requires that
each party place trust and confidence in the other and exercise a corresponding
degree of fairness and good faith. 3) The relationship between a guardian and ward,
an agent and principal, an  attorney and client, one partner and another, a trustee
and beneficiary, each is an example of a fiduciary relationship.
fiduciary account A customer account involving fiduciary relations.
financial futures Contracts traded that call for the future transfer of financial
instruments on a given date at a specified price. Financial futures may be used to
hedge or speculate. (E.g. Foreign currency futures, interest rate futures).
financial intermediary A financial institution that transfers funds from savers to
investors, by issuing its own liabilities to savers and using the funds thus acquired to
make loans and investments for its own account. For example, a commercial bank
assumes deposit liabilities and uses the funds to make loans and investments.
financial statement 1) A written record of financial status of a business. Financial
statements include income statements, balance sheets, and statements of changes
in a firm’s financial condition, Funds Flow. 2) Any statement made by an individual, a
proprietorship, corporation, organisation,  or association, regarding the financial
status of the ‘legal entity’. The financial statement of an individual would be a simple
listing of what he owns (his assets), what he owes (his liabilities), his net worth, and
his sources of annual income. 3) The financial statement of a large corporation or
business firm may include many subsidiary financial statements prepared by a
chartered accountant. As an example,  the profit and loss statement may be
supported by several subsidiary financial statements called ‘exhibits’. listing a
detailed analysis of the cost of goods sold, selling expenses, administrative
expenses, and an analysis of sales.  The balance sheet may be supported by
subsidiary exhibits of fixed assets, ‘ageing of receivables’, etc. The schedule of
reconciliation of accounts is also shown as a part of the financial statement.  4) The
balance sheet is a static report of the financial picture of a business at a given
moment, a profit and loss statement is a ‘moving’ report in that it reflects the
continuous operations of a business over a period of time. Financial statements are
used principally for perpetual histories of businesses; as a basis for the extension of
credit; and for the computation of income tax and other statutory requirements.
first in, first out (FIFO) A system of inventory valuation that assumes that a
business operations will use first those  items purchased earlier. Thus, on the
organisation’s financial statements, the cost of the items purchased most recently is
assigned to the inventory. In a period of  rising prices, FIFO accounting overstates
fixed assets Those items of a permanent nature required for the normal conduct of
a business and not converted into cash during a normal production cycle. Fixed
assets include furniture, buildings, and machinery.
fixed costs The costs which do not vary with every change of output. For example
once a business has built a factory and installed the necessary machinery the fixed
costs remain the same whether the firm is working at full or less than full capacity.
In either case the same amount will have to be expended in rent or taxes.
fixed exchange rate A fixed rate, relative to  other currencies, at which a
government supports the price of its currency.
fixed expenses The operating expenses of a company that do not change in
relation to the volume of sales, production, or inventory.
fixed rate loan  A  loan  whose  rate  does  not  vary  with  market  conditions  but  is
constant over the life of the loan.
fixed-income mutual funds  A  mutual  fund  whose  portfolio  consists  of  bonds  and
preferred shares, thus providing a set amount of income to the fund.
flexible exchange rates Rates of exchange between currencies that are permitted
to fluctuate in response to supply and demand for the currencies. Also called floating
exchange rates.
float Funds represented by cheques which have been issued but have not yet been
floating rate  1)  An  interest  rate  that  is  not  a fixed percentage of principal but
fluctuates with market conditions. Generally lender, ‘pegs’ the future rate (PLR) and
moves small stated percentage above that rate.  2) An exchange rate that is not
pegged by its government. Instead, the rate floats against other currencies.
force majeure (French : superior force) An event outside the control of either party
of a contract (such as a strike, riot, war, act of God) that may excuse either party
from fulfilling his contractual obligations in certain circumstances, provided that the
contract contains a force majeure clause.
foreign currency futures Contracts for future delivery of a fixed amount of a
specific foreign currency. These contracts are used for hedging as well as
speculation. 20
foreign exchange 1) The currency of another nation. 2) Trading in or exchange of
foreign currencies for home currency or other foreign currencies.
foreign exchange futures Contracts for the delivery of a specified amount of
foreign currency at a specified price on a specified date.
foreign exchange markets The market in which foreign exchange is traded. It is
an informal worldwide market, linked  by various kinds of direct and rapid
communications equipment.
foreign exchange rate The price of one currency relative to another currency.
foreign exchange trading The buying and selling of foreign currencies.
forfeiting A form of debt discounting for exporters in which a forfeiter accepts at a
discount, and without recourse, a promissory note, bill of exchange, letter of credit,
etc., received from a foreign buyer by an exporter. Maturities are normally from one
to three years. Thus the exporter receives payment without risk at a cost (discount).
forward cover An arrangement protecting a buyer or seller of foreign currency from
fluctuations in exchange rates.
forward discount The amount by which the spot exchange price of a currency
exceeds its forward price.
forward exchange contract An arrangement to purchase foreign exchange at a
specified date in the future at an agreed exchange rate. In international trade, with
floating rates of exchange, the forward-exchange market provides an important way
of eliminating risk on future transactions that will require foreign exchange. There
are also active options and futures markets in forward foreign exchange rates.
forward exchange rate The price of one currency in terms of another currency,
sold for delivery on a specified future date.
forward market The market in which participants agree to deliver an asset (for
example, a currency or a commodity) at a specified price on a specified date.
free alongside (F.A.S) A shipping term indicating that the quoted price of goods
includes the cost of delivering the goods alongside the vessel and within reach for
free on board (F.O.B) The quoted price includes only cost not insurance and freight
freely convertible currency A currency that may be converted into other
currencies and used by citizens and foreign nationals of the country concerned
without restriction.
freely fluctuating exchange rate An exchange rate not controlled by government,
but allowed to fluctuate in a free market.
fully-paid shares Shares where their value has been paid up in full either on their
issue or at some later date, as distinct from shares which are only partly paid up, the
company in such a case being able to call for the balance if it wishes to increase its 21
capital. The advantage of fully-paid  shares  is  that  no  further  calls  can  be  made  on
the holder. It is rarer now than formerly for shares not to be fully-paid up.
funds flow statements A statement showing the flow of funds through a business
over a period of time.
funds management 1) The continual rearrangement  of a bank’s balance sheet to
maximise profits, to maintain adequate rate spreads and liquidity, and to make safe
investments. 2) The management and control of all items on a balance sheet,
including assets, liabilities, and capital, in order to optimise a bank’s earnings
without taking excessive risk or liquidity exposure. Also called balance sheet
futures contract A standardised, negotiable, binding contract to purchase or sell
commodities, securities, or financial instruments at a specified price on a future date.
futures exchange  An organised market for trading futures contracts.
futures market The market for trading contracts for the future delivery of foreign
exchange, commodities, or financial instruments.
gap management The control of maturities of liabilities and assets to maintain the
desired relationship  between them. Although objectives can change over time, gap
management may involve gap filling or an attempt to maintain a balanced maturity
garnishee order An order made by a judge on  behalf of a judgement creditor
restraining a third party (often a bank), called a garnishee, from paying money to
the judgement debtor until sanctioned to do so by the court. The order may also
specify that the garnishee must pay a stated sum to the judgement creditor, or to
the court, from the funds belonging to the judgement debtor.
gearing (capital gearing, equity gearing, financial gearing; leverage) 1) The
ratio of the long-term funds with a fixed  interest charge, such as debentures and
preference shares, making up a company’s  capital to its ordinary share capital. A
company  is  said  to  be  high  geared  when  its capital is predominantly in ordinary
shares, especially in relation to other similar companies. A high-geared company is
considered to be a speculative investment for the ordinary shareholder. 2) The
relationship between capital funds and liabilities.
general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT)  A trade treaty that
operated from 1948 until 1995, when it  was replaced by the World Trade
Organisation (WTO).
general average In marine insurance, if one shipper’s goods are jettisoned to save
the ship, the other shippers must share the loss.
general ledger The most important record in the bank is the general ledger. Every
transaction that takes place in the bank during the business day, reflected through
various subsidiary records, are posted to the general ledger. Some entries are posted
directly. Every transaction within a bank  will effect either  an asset (resources)
account, a liability account, a capital account, an expense account, or an income
account. As these accounts are posted, the  new financial status develops. After all 22
postings have been made a trail balance of the general ledger is taken, reflecting the
daily statement of condition for the bank.
generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) A unilateral system of preferences
extended by developed countries in the matter of import of manufactures and semimanufactures from developing countries. It seeks to lower and, even, do away with
tariffs on import of certain goods from developing countries with the special objective
of promoting industrialisation.
gold clause A statement in a financial agreement linking payment to the value of
gold exchange standard A monetary standard in which a nation will redeem its
currency at a stated value in terms of a second currency that in turn will redeem its
currency in gold. Thus, the  first currency is redeemable in exchange for another
currency that is itself redeemable in gold.
gold standard A monetary agreement under which national currencies are backed
by gold and gold is utilised for international payments.
good faith A standard of conduct between parties, meaning honesty in fact, in the
conduct of a transaction. As an element  of a defense to violations under several
statutes, a good faith effort to comply, means that the defendant did not know about
the violation and took reasonable care to avoid it.
goodwill An intangible asset that is the present value of expected future income in
excess of a normal return on an investment. This amount is not recorded unless it is
paid  for.  Goodwill  arises  from  such  considerations  as  firm's  strong  reputation,
favourable location, and good relations with its customers.
grey market The Secondary Market in a new bond issue prior to formal offering.
gross domestic product (GDP) The monetary value of all goods and services
produced by an economy over a specified period. It is measured in three ways: 1) on
the basis of expenditure, i.e., the value of all goods and services bought, including
consumption, capital expenditure, increase in the value of stocks, government
expenditure, and exports less imports; 2)  on the basis of the value added by the
industry, i.e. the value of sales less the cost of raw materials
gross national product (GNP) The gross domestic product (GDP) with the
additions of interest, profits, and dividends received from abroad by residents. The
GNP better reflects the welfare of the population in monetary terms, although it is
not as accurate a guide as to the productive performance of the economy as the
gross profit (gross margin) Sales revenues less the cost of goods sold, excluding
selling, general, and administrative expenses. 
guarantee 1) To give assurance that something  is as represented. 2) To pledge to
make good a debt, a note or security in case of default by the borrower. 23
guarantee bond A bond for which a person other  than the debtor has undertaken
the responsibility to repay. The guarantee can appear as an endorsement, or a
contract with the creditors.
guarantor A person who guarantees to pay a  debt incurred by  someone else if
that person fails to repay it. A person who acts as a guarantor for a bank loan, for
example, must repay the loan if the borrower fails to repay it when it becomes due.
hedge 1) A transaction undertaken to reduce risk. In futures markets, a hedge is
the purchase or sale of a futures contract to offset an undesired short or long
position. Usually a hedge involves equal and opposite positions in the cash market
and the futures market at the same time (that is, a long position in one market and
a short position in the other).  2) Taking action to neutralise risk. Investors, dealers,
and bankers hedge in various markets, including the stock, option, foreign exchange,
and commodity markets. Hedging entails controlling the risk of  one transaction by
engaging in an offsetting transaction. For example, a bank can hedge a large holding
of a foreign currency by selling the same amount of the currency for future delivery
at a fixed price.
high low method A method of determining fixed and variable costs based on
highest and lowest levels of output and costs associated with them.
hire purchase (HP) A method of buying goods in which the purchaser takes
possession of them as soon as an initial instalment of the price (down payment) has
been paid; ownership is obtained when all the agreed number of subsequent
instalments have been completely paid.
historical cost A method of valuing units of assets based on the original cost
incurred by the organisation.  The charging of depreciation to the profit and loss
account, based on the original cost of an asset, is writing off the historical cost of the
asset against profits. An alternative approach is the use of current cost accounting.
holder The person in possession of a bill of exchange or promissory note. This
person may be the payee, the endorsee, or the bearer. When value has, at any time,
been given for a bill, the holder is a holder for value, as regards the acceptor and all
who have taken a bill of exchange in good faith and for value, before it was overdue,
and without notice of previous dishonour or of any defect in the title of the person
who negotiated or transferred the bill. This person holds the bill free from any defect
of title of prior parties and may enforce payment against all parties liable on the bill.
holder in due course A party who accepts an instrument in good faith, for value,
and without notice that it has been dishonoured, it is overdue, or there is any claim
against it. 
holding company A company that owns shares in other corporations and influences
the management decisions of those companies in which it owns funds (invested
hybrid debt capital instruments  In this category, fall a number of capital
instruments, which combine certain characteristics of equity and certain
characteristics of debt. Each has a particular feature, which can be considered to
affect its quality as capital. Where these instruments have close similarities to equity, 24
in particular when they are able to support losses on an ongoing basis without
triggering liquidation, they may be included in Tier II capital.
hypothecation An authority given to a banker, usually as a letter of hypothecation,
to enable the bank to sell goods that have been charged to them as security for a
loan, it is a floating charge which crystallises on taking possession of the
hypothecated goods. Book-debts also can be hypothecated.
IFCI (industrial finance corporation of india) An all India term lending Financial
Institution which seeks to primarily provide medium and long term credit to
implied contract  A contractual agreement that can be assumed by the nature of
the actions of the parties but is not evidenced by an express written agreement.
in loco parentis  Literally, in the place of a parent. A phrase referring to a person
who takes the place of a child’s parent, usually someone who is not legally appointed
indian financial system code (IFSC) IFSC is a unique code for a branch which is
used as the addressing code in user-to-user message transmission through
Structured Financial Messaging System (SFMS). Various payment system
applications like Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Electronic Fund
Transfer (NEFT), etc., also use the IFSC  for routing purposes. Banks to print the
IFSC of their branch just above the MICR band on the cheques, preferably, above the
serial number of the cheque. The MICR code line would, however, continue to be
used for cheque processing.
indirect liability  1) The liability of the endorser  or guarantor of an instrument.
Although the endorser is indirectly liable and is not responsible for the interest or
instalment payments, this person becomes directly liable if the maker defaults (e.g.
guarantee to a loan). 2) A party who endorses the (D.P.) note of a maker for a bank,
or who guarantees a note as guarantor for a maker is said to have indirect liability
on the note. The bank looks to the maker for payment of the note at maturity, the
maker having direct liability on the note. In case of default or dishonour of the note
by the maker, then the indirect liability of the guarantor or the endorser becomes a
direct liability, and the bank can require the guarantor or endorser to pay the note.
many banks set up the indirect liability ‘line’ party-wise (limits) as well as the direct
liability. Auditors are vigilant in their examination of the total indirect liability of
some individuals, who have taken upon themselves a contingent obligation. If the
indirect liability of an individual becomes too high, they may request the bank to get
new guarantors or endorsers to ‘back up’ the notes/liabilities involved.
indirect quotation An exchange rate expressed  in fixed units of a domestic
currency and variable amount of a foreign currency. (Rs.100/-=US$ 2.10).
industrial credit and investment corporation of india (ICICI) An all India term
lending Financial Institution which seeks to provide assistance to units in private
sector, particularly to meet their foreign exchange requirements. (Now under reverse
merger with ICICI Bank Ltd.) 
industrial development bank of india (IDBI) The apex term lending Financial
Institution of India. (Now being converted as a bank). 25
inflation A continuing increase in the general level of prices in an economy, which
results from increases in total spending  relative to the supply of goods on the
market. Inflation is also associated with increase in wages and production costs, and
a decrease in purchasing power.
initial public offer (IPO) Flotation of shares to public first time by a company.
injunction The order of a court that instructs a defendant to refrain from performing
an act injurious to the plaintiff.
insider trading/ inside trading Purchases or sales of a company’s shares by
officers, directors, or principal owners. This concept has broadened to include trading
by anyone with inside knowledge of a company.
insolvency The inability to pay one’s debt as  they mature. Even though the total
assets of a business might exceed its total liabilities by a wide margin, the business
is said to be insolvent should the nature of the assets be such that they cannot be
readily converted into cash to meet the current obligations of  the business as they
institutional investor A firm that specialises in investments for its own account or
the accounts of others; examples include  banks, trusts, investment companies,
insurance companies.
insurable interest The legal right to enter into an insurance contract. A person is
said to have an insurable interest if  the event insured against could cause that
person a financial loss. For example, anyone may insure their own property as they
would incur a loss if an item was lost, destroyed, or damaged. If no financial loss
would occur, no insurance can be arranged. For example, a person cannot insure a
next-door neighbour’s property. The limit of an insurable interest is the value of the
item concerned, although there is no limit on the amount of life assurance a person
can take out, because the financial effects of death cannot be accurately measured.
insurance A contract whereby for a fee (premium) one party agrees to pay a sum to
another party if the latter suffers a particular loss. The party who undertakes the risk
is the insurer. The party who wishes to be protected from loss is the insured party.
intangible property Property that cannot be perceived by the senses, such as a
legally enforceable right. The right possessed by the holder of a promissory note or a
bond is intangible property, the paper writing being only the evidence of that right.
inter bank offered rate (IBOR)  The  rate  of  interest  at  which  banks  lend  to  one
another. Many of the world’s financial centres have such a rate, for example London
has the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).
internal rate of return (IRR) An interest that gives a net present value of zero
when applied to a projected cash flow. This interest rate, where the present values of
the cash inflows and outflows are equal, is  the internal rate of return for a project
under consideration.
international bank for reconstruction and development (IBRD) A specialised
agency working in coordination with the United Nations, founded at the economic 26
conference held at Bretton Woods, established in 1945, commencing operations in
1946, to help finance post-war reconstruction and to help raise standards of living in
developing countries, by making loans to governments or guaranteeing outside
loans, when private funds are unavailable. It lends on broadly commercial terms, at
slightly below conventional terms, either  for specific projects of high economic
priority or for more general social purposes; funds are raised on the international
capital markets. The Bank and its affiliates, the International Development
Association and the International Finance Corporation, are often known as the World
Bank; it is owned by the governments of member countries. Members must also be
the members of the International Monetary Fund. The headquarters of the Bank are
in Washington.
international chamber of commerce (ICC) An organisation  of business, with
members from many countries, that meet  periodically to resolve international
business disputes and to establish mutually agreed rules of international commerce.
international depository receipt (IDR) A certificate of ownership of stock that is
held outside the country. The stock, or other securities, will be held by the issuing
international development association (IDA) An affiliate of the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), that provides funds to less
developed countries whose ability to make effective use of capital is greater than
their capacity to assume and repay debts in conventional terms. Principles similar to
those of the World Bank are followed by IDA in appraising projects and in negotiating
credits, but it lends money for a wider  range of projects than the Bank does,
including, for instance, educational projects.
international finance corporation (IFC) An affiliate established in 1956 of the
World Bank, it assists the Industrial Development of its developing member countries
by investing in productive private enterprises without Government guarantees. Its
purposes are to promote the international flow of private capital, to stimulate the
development of capital within its member countries and to promote the
establishment and growth of private enterprises and the development of private
investment opportunities. Although the IFC and IBRD are separate entities, both
legally and financially, the IFC is able to borrow from the IBRD and reloan to private
investors. The headquarters of the IFC are in Washington.
international monetary fund (IMF) Founded at the economic conference at
Bretton Woods in 1944, a United Nations  specialised agency to promote
international monetary cooperation and expand international trade, stabilise
exchange rates, and help countries experiencing short-term balance of payments
difficulties to maintain their exchange rates. The objectives of the fund include
supervising exchange market intervention of member countries, providing the
financing needed by members to overcome short term payments imbalances, and
encouraging monetary cooperation and international trade among nations. The fund
assists members by supplying the amount of foreign currency it wishes to purchase
in exchange for the equivalent amount of its own currency. The member repay this
amount by buying back its own currency  in a currency acceptable to the Fund,
usually within three to five years. The Fund is financed by subscriptions from its
members, the amount determined  by  an  estimate  of  their  means.  Voting  power  is
related to the amount of the subscription – the higher the contribution the higher the
voting rights. The head office of IMF is in Washington. 27
internet banking/ITeS Refer Section-B
inventory The materials owned and held by a  business, such as raw materials,
semi-finished and finished goods, intended either for internal consumption or sale.
investment banker An agent for an issue of company shares, etc. Responsibilities
of the investment banker include determining the type and terms of a new issue and
whether it should be a public or private  placement; organise to market the issue;
and the maintenance of an orderly and fair trading market in the early days of a new
invisible balance The balance of payments between  countries  that  arises  as  a
result of transactions involving services, such as insurance, banking, shipping, and
tourism (often known as invisibles), rather than the sale and purchase of goods.
Invisibles can play an important part in a nation’s current account, although they are
often difficult to quantify.
invisible trade International transactions in intangible items, such as insurance,
banking, interest, dividends, travel and transportation.
joint account 1) An account carrying the names of two or more people. 2) Any
investment, bank account, or other account that lists two or more people who share
equally in the rights and liabilities of the account.
joint and several account (with Right of Survivorship) (Either or
Survivor(s))  A jointly held account that can be drawn against using a cheque or
withdrawal slip having the signature of either of the account holders. On the death of
one, the survivor(s) have the right to the account’s funds.
joint and several liability A liability that is entered into by a group, on the
understanding that if any of the group fail in their undertaking, the liability must be
shared by the remainder. Thus, if two people enter into a joint and several guarantee
for a bank loan, if one becomes bankrupt  the other is liable for repayment of the
whole loan.
joint-stock company A company in which the members pool their stock and trade
on the basis of their joint stock.
judgement creditor The person in whose favour  a court decides, ordering the
judgement debtor to pay the sum owed. 
judgement debt A debt for which the court has awarded a judgement favouring a
judgement debtor The debtor against whom a creditor has obtained judgement.
junk bond A bond that offers a high rate of interest because it carries a higher than
usual probability of default (high risk).
key men insurance Insurance for people considered crucial to the effective
operation of a business. Creditors sometimes require such insurance when lending if 28
they feel that the death of these people would hurt the business’s ability to meet its 
key-person insurance An insurance policy on the life of a key person (male or
female) of a business, especially the life of a senior executive in a small company,
whose death would be a serious loss to the company. In the event of the key person
dying, the benefit is paid to the organisation. In order that there should be an
insurable interest, a loss of  profit must be direct result of the death of the key
kite 1) A term used in banking circles to describe the malpractice of individuals in
taking advantage of the time element of cheque collections by the bank. The
individual either has an accomplice in a distant city, or another account in another
city himself. He deposits a cheque drawn on a bank in a distant city, and then draws
from this uncollected balance while the cheque is in the process of collection. The
same individual also sends  a cheque drawn upon this bank, and deposits it in the
other bank, where he also draws against uncollected funds by issuing cheques
against this out-of-town bank. In this manner he uses both bank accounts to his
advantage to draw against 'non-existent’ balances. 2) An informal name for an
accommodation bill. Kite-flying is the discounting of an accommodation bill at a
bank, knowing that the person on whom it is drawn will dishonour it.
laissez faire A French expression meaning literally ‘allow (them) to do’. It connotes
a policy of non-intervention by government in economic affairs.
last in, first out (LIFO) A method of charging homogeneous items of stock to
production when the cost of the items has changed. It is assumed, both for costing
and stock valuation purposes, that the latest items taken into stock are those used
first in production although this may not necessarily correspond with the physical
movement of the goods. (Under the more common FIFO (First in, First out) system it
is assumed that whenever an item is used/sold it was the first to be purchased. In a
time  of  rising  prices  the  FIFO  method  will  give  a  large  profit  than  LIFO,  the  position
being reversed when prices are falling.)
last will and testament The will last executed by a person. Since all former wills
ordinarily are revoked by the last one, the term emphasises that the will in question
is the latest and, therefore, the effective will of the maker. A legally enforceable
declaration of a person’s wishes regarding matters to be attended to after, but not
operative until, his or her death. A last will and testament usually but not always
relates to property and is revocable (or amendable by means of a codicil) up to the
time of the person’s death or loss of mental capacity to make a valid will. Originally,
‘will’ related to real property and ‘testament’ to personal property. But today ‘will’
applies equally to real and personal property.
laundering money Processing money acquired illegally (as by theft, drug dealing,
etc.) so that it appears to have come from a legitimate source. This is often achieved
by paying the illegal cash into a foreign  bank and transferring its equivalent to a
bank with a good name at a desired location.
leading and lagging Techniques often used at the end of a financial year to
enhance a cash position and reduce borrowing. This is achieved by arranging for the
settlement of outstanding obligations to be accelerated (leading) or delayed
(lagging). 29
lease financing A specialised area of finance dealing with renting property by a
lender, financing the leases of a company engaged in rentals, and financing the
purchase of an item to be leased out by a borrower.
leasing Hiring equipment, such as a car or a piece of machinery, to avoid the capital
cost involved in owning it. In some companies it is advantages to use capital for
other purposes and to lease some equipment, paying for hire, out of income.
Sometimes a case can be made for leasing rather than purchasing, on the grounds
that some equipment quickly becomes obsolete.
ledger A record of final entry in bookkeeping. An account is maintained for every
type of customer/head, and a ledger account is posted with every transaction
affecting this particular account. The term ‘ledger’ also applies to a group of
accounts, all of a similar nature, such as Savings Bank accounts ledger, Current
accounts ledger, etc. When accounts of a similar nature become too large, they are
taken from the general ledger and placed  in a (subsidiary) ledger, with a control
(consolidated) account in the general ledger. The control account contains the total
balances of the entire ledger that it represents. Subsidiary ledgers are established for
control, and to facilitate more than one person posting  whenever the volume
becomes more. 
legal entity A thing, other than a person, that exists, and can sue, be sued, and be
otherwise dealt with as if it were a natural person. In this sense, a company, city or
state is a legal entity.
legal tender Money that must be accepted in discharge of a debt.
letter of administration  1)  When  a  deceased  person  has  not  made  a  will,  or  if  he
has failed to appoint an executor of his will, his estate cannot be administered on his
death until Letters of Administration have been granted. 2) The administrator
distributes the property of a deceased person, in accordance with the deceased’s will,
or the rules of intestacy in the absence of a will. 3) It is a certificate of authority to
settle a particular estate issued to an administrator by the appointing court.
letter of comfort A letter to a bank from the parent company of a subsidiary that is
trying to borrow money from the bank.  The letter gives no guarantee for the
repayment of the loan but offers the bank the comfort of knowing that the subsidiary
has made the parent company aware of its intention to borrow; the parent company
also usually supports the application, giving, at least, an assurance that it intends
that the subsidiary should remain in business and that it will give notice of any
relevant change of ownership.
letter of credit An instrument or document issued by a bank on another bank or
banks, foreign or domestic, or upon itself. The letter of credit gives the buyer
(probably not well known to the seller) the prestige and the financial backing of the
bank who issues the letter of credit in his behalf. The acceptance by the bank of
drafts drawn under the letter of credit satisfies the seller and his bank in the
handling of the transaction. The buyer  and the accepting bank also have an
agreement as to payment for the drafts as they are presented. It adds a good and
well known (Bank’s) name to a good (applicant’s) name. 30
letter of credit (documentary credit) 1) A letter from the banker to another
authorising the payment of a specified sum to the person named in the letter on
certain specified conditions. Commercially, letters of credit are  widely used in the
international import and export trade as a means of payment. In an export contract,
the exporter may require the foreign importer to open a letter of credit by the
importer’s local bank (the issuing bank) for the amount of the goods. This will state
that it is to be negotiable at a bank (the negotiating bank) in the exporter’s country
in favour of the exporter; often, the exporter (who is called the beneficiary of the
credit) will give the name of the negotiating bank. On presentation of the shipping
documents (which are listed in the letter of credit) the beneficiary will receive
payment from the negotiating bank. All letters  of  credit  have  an  expiry  date,  after
which they can only be negotiated by the consent of all the parties. 2) A financial
instrument, issued for a company or person by a bank, that substitutes the bank’s
credit for the company’s credit. 3) Although the term ‘letter of credit’ is still widely
used, in 1983 the International Chamber of Commerce recommended documentary
credit as the preferred term for these instruments. 4) A circular letter of credit is an
instruction from a bank to its correspondent bank to pay the beneficiary a stated
sum on presentation of a means of identification. It  has now been replaced by
traveller’s cheques.
letter of credit, back-to-back (countervailing credit) 1) Two letters of credit
requiring identical documentation except for a difference in the price of the
merchandise shown by the invoice and draft. One of the letters of credit is issued in
favour of the buyer’s  agent and the other  in favour of the seller. The difference in
price serves as the agent’s commission for arranging the purchase for the buyer. 2)
A method used to conceal the identity of  the seller from the buyer in a Letter of
Credit arrangement. When the credit is arranged by an exporter, acting as an
intermediary, issues its own documents to the buyer, omitting the seller’s name and
so concealing the seller’s identity. The reason for not revealing the seller’s identity is
to prevent buyer and seller dealing direct in future transactions and thus cutting out
the middle man.
letter of credit, confirmed In a confirmed letter of credit the advising (named)
bank guarantees to pay the beneficiary, even if the issuing bank fails to honour its
commitments (in an unconfirmed letter of credit this guarantee is not given). A
confirmed irrevocable letter of credit therefore provides the most reliable means of
being paid for exported goods.
letter of credit, irrevocable A letter of credit that must be honoured by the Issuing
Bank without exception. An irrevocable letter of credit cannot be cancelled by the
person who opens it or by the issuing bank without the beneficiary’s consent.
letter of credit, irrevocable documentary acceptance credit A form of
irrevocable letter of credit in which a foreign importer of goods opens a credit with a
bank. The bank then issues an irrevocable letter of credit to the exporter,
guaranteeing to accept bills of exchange drawn on it on presentation of the shipping
documents. Once the letter of credit has been drawn up, the importer has to ‘accept’
that he or she will pay by signing the acceptance.
letter of credit, red clause A letter of credit that provides for advances of
payments to the beneficiary or to an agent prior to the presentation of documents, to
enable him or her to process/procure the goods or to arrange for goods to be
shipped (Anticipatory Credit). 31
letter of credit, reimbursement Letter of Credit issued under an arrangement
whereby a foreign correspondent bank is  reimbursed for payments made according
to the instructions of the  bank issuing credit by drawing on another correspondent
letter of credit, revocable A letter of credit that may be cancelled at any time by
the issuing bank. 
letter of credit, revolving A letter of credit that  covers a whole series of
commercial transactions on payment of the previous (drawings) drafts.
letter of credit, standby A letter of credit against which funds can be drawn only if
another business transaction is not performed. (like Bank Guarantee).
letter of credit, transferable A letter of credit in favour of the beneficiary, enabling
the beneficiary to transfer the credit to another party.
letter of credit, unconfirmed A letter of credit for which credit has been
established but for which the correspondent (advising) bank does not guarantee
payment of drafts against it.
letter of indemnity A letter stating that the person issuing it will compensate the
person to whom it is addressed for a specific loss.
liabilities 1) Amounts owed. 2) Sources of a firm’s funds.  3) In banking parlance,
the liabilities are the funds a bank owes. By far the largest item on the liability side
of a bank’s financial statement is the deposits. The current indebtedness of a bank to
those other than depositors is usually small in total, and represents current
obligations that are to be paid on a certain future date. The capital structure (capital,
surplus, and Reserves, etc.,) are listed in  bank statements as liabilities, but these
accounts are the net worth of the bank, and represent the liability owing to the
shareholders of the bank.
liabilities, current Amount owed by a business to other organisations and
individuals that should be  paid within one year from the balance-sheet date, or
within the normal operating cycle of the business, whichever is longer. These
generally consist of trade creditors.
Any long-term loans repayable within one year from the balance-sheet date should
also be included. Current liabilities are distinguished from long-term liabilities on the
balance sheet.
liability ledger One of the most important records of the bank is the liability ledger.
In this ledger is the record of all outstanding loans made by the bank to every
borrower. Each borrower has an individual Account, wherein recorded each loan the
borrower may have with the bank, and the  total of all outstanding loans made to
each borrower. The aggregate of all outstanding loans makes up the liability ledger,
which is the record of the bank’s largest ‘earning asset’ account.
liability management The management of a bank’s deposits, especially by
increasing deposits from customers, attracting funds from institutional investors
through certificates of deposit, hedging  liabilities against interest-rate movements,
and ensuring that no gap exists between the maturity of its assets and liabilities that 32
the bank must pay out. It can also be achieved by the purchase or sale of funds on
the interbank market.
lien The right of one person to retain possession of goods owned by another until
the possessor’s claims against the owner  have been satisfied. The lien may be
general, when the goods are held as security for all outstanding debts of the owner,
or  particular,  when  only  the  claims  of  the possessor in respect of the goods held
must be satisfied. A banker’s lien applied  to certain financial documents held by a
bank on behalf of a customer who owes money to the bank.
limited company A company in which the liability of the members in respect of the
company’s debts is limited. It may be limited by shares, in which case the liability of
the members on a winding-up is limited  to the amount (if any) unpaid on their
liquidator A person appointed (by a court), to regularise the company’s affairs on a
liquidation (winding-up). The liquidator can only exercise his or her powers with the
consent of the court. After a winding-up petition has been filed; and an order has
been granted, the court appoints the official receiver as liquidator. 
The liquidator is in a relationship of trust with the company and the creditors as a
body; a liquidator appointed in a compulsory liquidation is an officer of the court, is
under statutory obligations, and may not profit from the position.
On appointment, the liquidator assumes control of the company, collects the assets,
pays the debts, and distributes any surplus to shareholders according to their rights.
liquidity The extent to which an organisation’s assets are liquid enabling it to pay its
debts when they fall due and also to move into new investment opportunities.
listed securities Bonds or shares that have been accepted for trading on a Stock
Exchange. Unlisted securities are not normally traded.
loan loss reserve A reserve account set up by a bank, based on its past experience
with loan losses. As losses subsequently occur, they are absorbed (debited) against
this reserve.
M1 The narrowest definition of the nation’s money supply. It includes currency
(Notes and Coins) in circulation plus demand deposits (current accounts) at
commercial banks.
M2 A definition of the nation’s money supply that includes M1 plus interest bearing
deposits at commercial banks.
M3 A definition of nation’s money supply that includes M2 plus the average of the
(beginning and end-of-month) deposits in non-bank thrift institutions (postal savings
bank, etc). 
magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) Magnetic codes on the bottom of a
cheque that allow a machine to read, automatically sort and feed into a computer.
MICR encoding can include the amount  of the cheque, the account number, the
bank’s number, and the serial number of the cheque. 33
management information system (MIS) A specific data processing (reporting)
system  that  is  designed  to  furnish  management and supervisory personnel with
current information with real time speed. In the communication process, data is
recorded and processed for operational purposes. The problems are isolated for
referral to top management for decision making, and information is fed back to top
management to reflect the progress in achieving major objectives.
mandate A written authority given by one person (the mandator) to another (the
mandatory) giving the mandatory the power to act on behalf of the mandator. It
comes to an end on the death, mental illness, or bankruptcy of the mandator. They
are, generally, used for specific purposes for short durations.
maturity The date upon which a (usance) bill of exchange, bond, or other negotiable
instruments become due and payable. Bills of exchange drawn for a future date,
have a maturity date which is set, starting with the specific date or acceptance, and
running the specified number of days from date of loan or acceptance to maturity.
Presentation and request for payment of the instrument is made on the maturity
date. The starting dates may be ‘so many days after date/sight/acceptance’.
memorandum of association An official document setting out the details of a
company’s existence. It must be signed by the first subscribers and must, generally,
contain the following information (as it applies to the company in question); the
company name; a statement that the company is a public/private company; the
address or the registered office; the objectives of the company (called the objects
clause); a statement of limited liability; and the amount of authorised share capital
and its division.
minimum balance The amount of money that a depositor must have in a specific
account to qualify for special services or to waive a service charge.
minimum subscription The minimum sum of money, stated in the prospectus of a
new company, that the directors consider must be raised if the company is to be
minor A person under legal age, that is, under the age at which he or she is
accorded full civil rights.
misfeasance 1) The negligent or otherwise improper performance of a lawful act. 2)
An act by an officer of a company in the nature of a breach of trust or breach of
duty, particularly if it relates to the company’s assets.
money-market instruments Financial products, usually with a short-term life, such
as certificates of deposit, that are traded on the money markets.
moratorium An agreement between a creditor and a debtor to allow additional time
for the settlement of a debt.
mortgage  A  mortgage  is  an  instrument  of  conveyance (generally of real estate)
from a borrower, called the mortgagor, to the lender, called the mortgagee. The
mortgage is only a ‘conditional’ conveyance, in that the property remains with the
use and occupancy of the mortgagor as long  as  the  mortgagor  lives  up  to  the
conditions of the mortgage. The major conditions are the continual payment of
interest and principal as set forth in  the wording of the mortgage deed. The 34
mortgagee has the right to foreclose the mortgage, or exercise his right to take over
the property, in case the mortgagor fails to meet his obligations under the terms of
the mortgage, subject to certain conditions and legal formalities. The interest created
in the property gets reverted on payment of the dues to the mortgagee.
mortgage-backed security A bond-type security in which the collateral is provided
by a pool of mortgages. Income from the underlying mortgages is used to meet
interest and principal repayments.
multinational corporation (MNC) A business that has production facilities or other
fixed assets in at least one foreign country and makes its major management
decisions in a global context.
multiple exchange rate An exchange rate quoted by a country that has more than
one value, depending on the use to which  the currency is put. For example, some
countries quote a specially favourable rate for tourists or for importers of desirable
mutual fund Mutual Fund is a mechanism for pooling the resources by issuing units
to the investors and investing funds in securities in accordance with objectives as
disclosed in offer document. A fund established in the form of a trust to raise monies
through the sale of units to the public or a section of the public under one or more
schemes for investing in securities, including money market instruments.
negative cash flow A cash flow in which the outflows exceed the inflows.
negative net worth The value of an organisation that has liabilities in excess of its
assets (capital eroded).
negative pledge A covenant in a loan agreement in which the borrower promises
that no secured borrowings will be made during the life of the loan or will ensure that
the loan is secured equally and ratably with any new borrowings as specifically
negotiability The ability of a document to change hands thereby entitling its owner
(holder) to some benefit, so that legal ownership of the benefit passes by delivery or
endorsement of the document. For a document to be negotiable it must also entitle
the holder to bring an action in law if necessary.
negotiable Transferable by endorsement. Title to a negotiable instrument can be
transferred by (endorsement as and where necessary and) delivery, without need for
further certification. Bearer securities  are automatically negotiable by nature.
Registered securities can only be rendered negotiable by the completion of (a power
of assignment) registration.
negotiable certificate of deposit A transferable receipt issued by a commercial
bank in return for a customer’s deposit of funds. The bank agrees to pay the amount
deposited plus interest to the bearer on a specific future date.
negotiable instrument A document of title that can be freely negotiated. An
instrument, to be ‘negotiable’, must conform to the following requirements: 1) It
must be in writing and signed by the maker or drawer; 2) It must contain an 35
unconditional promise or order to pay a sum certain in money; 3) It must be payable
on demand, or at a fixed or determinable future time; 4) It must be payable to order
or to bearer; 5) Where the instrument is addressed to a drawee, he must be named
or otherwise indicated therein with reasonable certainty. If instruments, such as
cheques, drafts, bills of exchange, acceptances, promissory notes, etc., meet the
above requirements they may be transferred by (endorsement as and where
necessary and) delivery to another person in good faith for a consideration. The new
holder, called the transferee, is called a ‘holder in due course’. (b) An instrument can
be negotiated by either inserting the name of a different payee or by making the
document ‘open’ by endorsing it (signing one’s name), usually on the reverse. Bill of
exchange, including cheques, in which the payee is named or that bears a restrictive
endorsement, such as ‘not negotiable’, are non-negotiable instruments. (c) A
negotiable instrument is transferred by  endorsement and delivery or by delivery
alone as the case may be.
net asset value (NAV) The value of a share (unit of a Mutual Fund) in a company
calculated by dividing the amount for the net assets of the company by the number
of shares in issue. The asset value is frequently below the market price of a share
because financial statements do not reflect the present values of all assets because
of the monetary measurement convention and the historical cost accounting
convention, whereas the market price may reflect them.
net assets The assets of an organisation less its current liabilities. The resultant
figure is equal to the capital of the organisation. Opinion varies as to whether longterm liabilities should be treated as part of the capital and are therefore not
deductible  in  arriving  at  net  assets,  or  whether  they  are  part  of  the  liabilities  and
therefore deductible. The latter view is probably technically preferable.
net book value (NBV) The value of an asset which  appears in the books of an
organisation (usually as at the date of the last balance sheet) less any depreciation
that has been applied since its purchase or its last revaluation.
net current assets Current assets less current liabilities. The resultant figure is also
known as working (or circulating) capital, as it represents the amount of the
organisation's capital that is constantly being turned over in the course of its trade.
net profit 1) (net profit before taxation) The  profit of an organisation when all
receipts and expenses have been taken into account. Net profit is arrived at by
deducting from the gross profit all the expenses not already taken into account in
arriving at the gross profit, except tax. 2) (net profit after taxation) The final profit of
an organisation, after all appropriate taxes have been deducted from the net profit
before taxation. 3) The income remaining from all sources after the deduction of all
expenses, including interest and tax payments when applicable and available for
dividend payment/plough-back.
net tangible assets The tangible assets of an organisation less its current liabilities.
In analysing the affairs of an organisation the net tangible assets indicate its financial
strength in terms of being solvent, without having to resort to such nebulous (and
less easy-to-value) assets as goodwill.
net worth The value of an organisation when its liabilities have been deducted from
the value of its tangible assets. In order  to arrive at the true net worth it would 36
normally be necessary to assess the true market values of the  assets rather than
their book values. 
no protest A term used in banks whereby one bank can instruct another collecting
bank not to protest Bills in case of non-payment.  If  it  cannot  be  collected,  the
collecting bank will return without protesting it. This will save the notary public’s
protest fees against the instrument.
nostro account A term meaning ‘our account with you’ that designates an account
maintained by a bank with a foreign correspondent.
not negotiable Words marked on a bill of exchange indicating that it ceases to be a
negotiable instrument, i.e., although it  can still be (transferred) negotiated, the
holder cannot obtain a better title to it than the person from whom it was obtained,
thus providing a safeguard if it is stolen. A cheque is the only form of bill that can be
crossed ‘not negotiable’; other forms must have it inscribed on their faces.
notary public A public officer who takes acknowledgement of or otherwise attests or
certifies deeds and other writings or copies of them, usually under his or her official
seal to make them authentic. A notary public also takes affidavits, dispositions, and
noting/protests of negotiable instruments.
noting The procedure adopted if a bill of  exchange has been dishonoured by nonacceptance or by non-payment. Not later than the next business day after the day on
which it was dishonoured, the holder has to hand it to a notary public to be noted.
The notary re-presents the bill; if it is  still unaccepted or unpaid, the notary notes
the circumstances in a register and also a notarial ticket, which has to be attached to
the bill. The noting can then, if necessary, be extended to a protest.
official receiver A person appointed to act as a receiver in bankruptcy and windingup cases. The Court that has jurisdiction over insolvency/winding-up matters has an
official receiver, who is an officer of the court. The official receiver commonly acts as
the liquidator of a company being wound up by the court.
offset The right that enables a bank to seize any bank-account balances of a
guarantor or debtor if a loan has been defaulted upon.
offshore banking The practice of offering financial services in locations that have
attractive tax advantages to non-residents.
offshore banking unit A banking unit that conducts business in other countries but
is not allowed to do business in the country where it is located.
offshore financial centres Centres that provide advantageous deposit and lending
rates to non-residents because of low taxation, liberal exchange controls, and low
reserve requirements for banks. Some countries have made a lucrative business out
of offshore banking. Many countries established domestic offshore facilities enabling
non-residents to conduct their business under more liberal regulations than domestic
transactions. Their objective is to stop funds moving outside the country.
on demand Denoting a bill of exchange that is payable on presentation. An
uncrossed cheque is an example of such a bill. 37
opportunity cost  The  income  or  benefit  foregone  as  the  result  of  carrying  out  a
particular decision, when resources are limited or when mutually exclusive projects
are involved.
option 1) The right to buy or sell a fixed  quantity of a commodity, currency, or
security at a particular date at a particular price (the exercise price). Unlike futures,
the purchaser of an option is not obliged to buy or sell at the exercise price and will
only do so if it is profitable; if the option is allowed to lapse, the purchaser loses only
the initial purchase price of the option (the option money).  2) An option to buy is
known as a ‘call option’ and is usually purchased in the expectation of a rising price;
an option to sell is called a ‘put' option and is bought in the expectation of a falling
price or to protect a profit on an investment. Options, like futures, allow individuals
and firms to hedge against the  risk  of  wide  fluctuations  in  prices;  they  also  allow
speculators to gamble for large profits with limited liquidity.
over-the-counter market (OTC markets) A market in which shares are bought
and sold outside the jurisdiction of a recognised stock exchange.
pari passu (Latin: with equal step) Ranking equally. When a new issue of shares is
said to rank pari passu with existing shares, the new shares carry the same dividend
rights and winding-up rights as  the  existing  shares.  A  pari  passu  bank  loan  is  a  new
loan that ranks on level par with older loans.
partly paid shares Shares on which the full par value has not been paid. They could
always call on their shareholders for further funds if necessary.
paying banker The bank on which a bill of exchange (including a cheque) has been
drawn and which is responsible for paying it if it is correctly drawn and correctly
endorsed (if necessary).
per pro (per proc; p.p) Abbreviation for per procurationem  (Latin: by
procuration); denoting an act by an agent, acting on the authority of a principal
(Power of Attorney holder).
period of grace The time, usually three days, allowed for payment of a usance bill
of exchange (except those payable at sight or on demand) after it matures (in some
personal identification number (PIN) A number memorised by the holder of a
credit/ATM card, and used in automated teller machines.
portfolio management 1) The list of holdings in shares and securities owned by an
investor or institution. In building up an investment portfolio an institution will have
its own investment analysts, while an individual may make use of the services of a
merchant bank that offers portfolio management. The choice of portfolio will depend
on the mix of income and capital growth its owner expects, some investments
providing good income prospects while others provide good prospects for capital
growth. 2) A list of the loans made by an organisation. Banks, for example, attempt
to balance their portfolio of loans to limit the risks.
post-date To insert a date on a document that is later than the date on which it is
signed, thus making it effective only from the later date. A post-dated (or forward-38
dated) cheque cannot be negotiated/paid before the date written-on it, irrespective
of when it was signed.
power of attorney (PA) 1) A document, witnessed and acknowledged, authorising
the person named in it to act as attorney in fact for the person signing the
document. 2) The authority to act as an Agent. If the Agent is authorised to act for
the principal in all matters, he or she has a general power of attorney. If he has
authority to do only certain specified things, he or she has a special power of
attorney. Generally, these are registered. An attorney can not delegate these powers
unless specifically authorised to do so.
preference share A share in a company yielding a fixed rate of interest rather than
a variable dividend. The fixed rate being payable on them before any sum is allotted
to the ordinary shares of a company. A preference share is an intermediate form of
security between an ordinary share and a debenture. Preference shares, like ordinary
shares but unlike debentures, usually confer some degree of ownership of the
company. However, in the event of liquidation, they are paid off after debt (including
debentures) but before ordinary share capital. Preference shares may be redeemable
at a fixed or variable date; alternatively they may be undated. Sometimes they are
convertible. The rights of preference shareholders vary from company to company
and are set out in the articles of association. Voting rights are normally restricted,
often only being available if the interest payments are in arrears.
price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) The current market price of a company share
divided by the earnings per share (EPS) of the company. The P/E ratio is one of the
main indicators used by analysts to decide whether the shares in a company are
expensive or cheap, relative to the market.
prime rate A benchmark that a bank establishes from time to time and uses in
computing an appropriate rate of interest for a particular loan. The benchmark is
generally based on numerous considerations, including the bank’s supply of funds,
cost of funds, and administrative costs, and the competition from others. Factors
used in setting the prime rate and the circumstances in which it applies vary from
bank to bank. This benchmark however, is only one factor among several that banks
use in pricing loans. For any specific loan, the interest rate actually charged may be
above or below a bank’s benchmark rate (Prime lending Rate-PLR). The actual rate
will be determined on the basis of several variables. including perceived risks, nature
of collateral. length and size of loan, competition, and the overall relationship with,
and the track record of the customer.
private company A corporate entity which: i) limits the number of its members to
50, ii) does not invite public to subscribe to its capital and iii) restricts the members’
right to transfer shares.
probate A certificate issued by the Court, on the application of executors appointed
by a will, to the effect that the will is valid (last will and testament) and that the
executors are authorised to administer the deceased’s estate. When there is no
apparent doubt about the will’s validity, probate is granted in common form on the
executors filing an affidavit. Probate granted in common form can be revoked by the
court at any time on the application of an interested party who proves that the will is
invalid. 39
profit and loss account (P&L account) An account in the books of an organisation
showing the profits (or losses) made on its business activities with the deduction of
the appropriate expenses.
profitability The capacity or potential of a project or an organisation to make a
profit. Measures of profitability include return on capital employed, positive net cash
flows, and the ratio of net profit to sales.
promissory note A negotiable instrument that contains a promise to pay a certain
sum of money to a named person, to that person’s order, or to the bearer. It must
be unconditional, signed by the maker, and delivered to the payee or bearer.
proprietorship A business entity owned and operated by a single individual. The
owner is personally and fully liable for all debts incurred by the business.
protest A certificate signed by a notary public at the request of the holder of a bill of
exchange that has been refused payment/acceptance stating that it was presented
for payment/acceptance and payment/acceptance was refused. A protest states
whether a notice of dishonour/non-acceptance has been given to the secondary
parties. It is a legal requirement after noting the bill. The same procedure can also
be used for a promissory note that has been dishonoured.
proximate cause The dominant and effective cause of an event or chain of events
that result in a claim on an insurance policy. The loss must be caused directly, or as
a result of a chain of events initiated, by an insured peril. For example, a policy
covering storm damage would also pay for items in a freezer that deteriorate
because of a power cut caused by the storm, which is the proximate cause of the
deterioration of the frozen food.
public company A corporate body other than a  private company. In a Public
Company there is no upper limit on the number of shareholders and there is no
restriction on transfer of shares.
put option An option to sell an asset within a specified time at a specified price.
quantitative trade restriction (Quota) A limitation on the nember of units of a
commodity that may enter a country during a period. The mechanisms, which are
many, may be progressive tariffs, or absolute volume limits, or import licensing.
quick assets Those assets of a business, exclusive of inventories, that could be
converted into cash within a short period, usually less than 1 year.
quid pro quo (Latin: something for something) Something given as compensation
for something received. Contracts require a quid pro quo; without a consideration
they would become unilateral agreements, and not valid.
rate of exchange The price of one currency in terms of another. It is usually
expressed in terms of how many units of the home country’s currency are needed to
buy one unit of the foreign currency (Direct Rate). However, in some cases, it is
expressed as the number of units of foreign currency that one unit of the home
currency will buy (Indirect Rate). Two rates are usually given, the buying and selling
rate the difference is the profit or commission charged by the organisation carrying
out the exchange. 40
rate of return The annual amount of income from an investment, expressed as a
percentage of the original investment. This rate is very important in assessing the
relative merits of different investments. It is therefore important to note whether a
quoted rate is before or after tax, since with most investments, the after-tax rate of
return is most relevant. Also, because some rates are payable more frequently than
annually. It may be important, in order to make true comparisons, to consider the
annual percentage rate (APR), which most investment institutions are required to
rating agency An organisation that monitors the credit backing of bond issues and
other forms of public borrowings. It may also give a rating of the risks involved in
holding specific stocks. The two best known are Standard & Poor and Moody, both of
which have been in existence for over 100 years.
ratio This term refers to the various analyses, made by a money or credit lending
agency, of the financial statements of the borrowing  company, to determine the
feasibility of granting the requested credit. Some  ratios  used  are:  1)  Current  Assets
to Current Liabilities, or Working Capital Ratio. (Current Ratio), 2) ‘Acid Test’ Ratio,
3) Fixed Assets to Fixed Liabilities, 4) Owned Capital to Borrowed Capital, 5) Capital
to Fixed Assets, 6) Trade Creditors to Purchases, 7) Raw Material  to  Cost  of
production, and 8) Finished Goods to the Cost of (Goods Sold) Sale. The ratios are
one of the many tools used in the credit decision and the  type of credit considered
best. Many other factors also are given consideration.
ratio analysis The use of ratios to evaluate a company’s operating performance and
financial stability. A technique for analysing a financial statement that examines the
relationship among certain key values reported in the statement. Ratios, such as
return on capital employed, can be used to assess profitability. The current ratio can
be used to examine solvency and gearing ratios to examine the financial structure of
the company. In conducting an analysis comparisons will be made with other
companies and with industry averages over a period of time.
ratio, acid test Used to describe the ability of a firm to meet its obligations in the
short-run, the only items taken into account in calculating this ratio being easily
realised assets such as cash in hand,  payments due from customers, and Current
Current Assets (-) minus Inventory
Current Liabilities
Also called Quick ratio.
ratio, current  (working-capital) The ratio of the current assets of a business to
the current liabilities, and used as a test of liquidity.
ratio, debt-asset A leverage measure defined as total debt divided by total assets.
ratio, debt-equity A ratio used to examine the financial structure or gearing of a
business. The long-term debt, normally including preference shares, of a business is
expressed as a percentage of its equity. A business may have entered into an
agreement with a bank that it will maintain a certain debt-equity ratio; if it breaches
this agreement the loan may have to be repaid. A highly geared company is one in
which the debt is higher than the equity, compared to companies in a similar 41
industry. A highly geared company offers higher returns to shareholders when it is
performing well but should be regarded as a speculative investment.
ratio, financial leverage The ratio of debt to assets (or to equity).
ratio, leverage 1) In financial analysis, leverage represents the influence of one
financial variable over some other related financial variable. 2) Relationships among
balance sheet values that measure the extent to which owners rather than creditors
finance a business.
ratio, margin of safety The balance of income remaining after payment of fixed
charges, expressed as a percentage of gross revenue. This calculation is used to
approximate the percentage by which gross revenues can decline or operating
expenses can increase before viability is endangered. 
ratio, net-profit The proportion that net profit bears to the total sales of an
organisation. This ratio is used in analysing the profitability of organisations and is an
indicator of the extent to which sales have been profitable.
ratio, receivables turnover The ratio is net sales to current value of receivables
calculated to evaluate the quality of a firm’s receivables. The resulting figure
indicates the average length of time that the firm’s receivables remain outstanding.
ratio, return on assets (ROA) A profitability ratio. Return on assets is net income
divided by total assets. Return on assets indicate how efficiently assets are
ratio, return on equity (ROE) A profitability ratio. Return on equity is net income
divided by total equity. Return on equity  indicates how efficiently equity capital is
ratio, return on investment (ROI) The rate of profit earned relative to the value
of a capital investment. The return on investment is usually expressed as a
percentage of comparability with the return on other investments.
ratio, sales-to-inventory A turnover ratio (sales divided by inventory) that
approximates how many times per year a firm sells the equivalent of a complete
ratio, sales-to-net-worth A turnover ratio (sales divided by net worth) that
determines the owner’s investment in the business to generate sales.
ratio, sales-to-total-assets A turnover ratio (sales divided by total assets) that
indicates whether a business is generating an acceptable volume of sales, given its
investment in assets.
ratio, turnover 1) An accounting ratio showing the number of times an item of
working capital has been replaced by others of the same class within a financial
period. 2) Also referred to as activity ratios or asset management ratios, to measure
how efficiently the assets are employed by the firm.
reasonable care The care expected of a bank when dealing with bills of exchange,
letters of credit, etc., to ensure that  all the relevant documents called for are 42
produced and are authentic before payment is authorised. This legal requirement
includes a responsibility on the part of the bank to inform the parties concerned if
the documents are not produced or are not in order.
recourse The right of the holder (endorsee or payee) in possession of a negotiable
instrument to compel a prior endorser or other party to pay the amount of the
instrument if it is dishonoured.
red clause An amendment to a letter of credit granting full payment to the exporter,
often before the goods being bought have been delivered.
red herring Trade term for a preliminary prospectus (so called because of the red
print around its borders) giving details of an expected share offering but subject to
change, the definitive offering document being the final prospectus.
redeemable shares Shares (either ordinary shares or preference shares) that the
issuing company has the right to redeem, under terms specified in the issue.
rediscounting The discounting (usually by a discount house) of a bill of exchange or
promissory note that has already been discounted by someone else. 
reimbursement An arrangement by which a correspondent bank is repaid for
payments made to other parties, according to another bank’s instructions.
reimbursement arrangements An arrangement whereby a foreign correspondent
bank is reimbursed for payment made according to the instructions of the bank
issuing credit/instructions.
reimbursement bank A bank used when there is no account relationship between
the ordering and paying bankers. A reimbursement bank provides the cover (that is,
replenishes the account) for the transactions.
reimbursement method In funds transfers, instructions specifying how the other is
to obtain reimbursement for the payment to be made. When previously agreed upon,
these instructions may specify the reimbursement party.
reinsurance The passing of all or part of an insurance risk that has been covered by
an insurer to another insurer for a premium.
relationship banking The establishment of a long-term relationship between a
bank and its corporate customers, often in  the form of a bilateral bank agreement.
The main advantage is that it enables the bank to develop in-depth knowledge of the
company’s business, which improves its ability to make informed decisions regarding
loans to the company. The company expects to benefit by increased support during
difficult times.
repurchase agreement (Repo) A sale of securities with a simultaneous agreement
to buy back the same securities at a stated price on a stated date.
resolution A formal document expressing the  intention of a company’s board of
directors. 43
retained earnings (retained profits; ploughed-back profits; retentions The
net profit available, less any dividends paid, i.e., the amount kept within the
company. Retained earnings are recorded in the profit and loss reserve (ploug-back).
retiring bill The act of withdrawing a bill of exchange from circulation when it has
been paid on or before its due date.
revaluation of assets Either because they have increased in value since they were
acquired or because inflation has made the balance-sheet values unrealistic.
reverse mortgage A type of mortgage in which a homeowners can borrow money
against the value of his or her home. No repayment of the mortgage (principal or
interest) is required until the borrower dies or the home is sold. After accounting for
the initial mortgage amount, the rate at which interest accrues, the length of the
loan and rate of home price appreciation, the transaction is structured so that the
loan amount will not exceed the value of the home over the life of the loan. 
Often, the lender will require that there can be no other liens against the home. Any
existing liens must be paid off with the proceeds of the reverse mortgage. 
A reverse mortgage provides income that people can tap into for their
retirement. The advantage of a reverse mortgage is that the borrower's credit is not
relevant, and is often unchecked, because the borrower does not need to make any
payments. Because the home serves as collateral, it must be sold in order to repay
the mortgage when the borrower dies (in some cases, the heirs have the option of
repaying the mortgage without selling the  home).  These types of mortgages have
large origination costs relative to other  types of mortgages.  These costs become
part of the initial loan balance and accrue interest. Senior citizen borrowers with
good credit should carefully analyze the options of a more traditional mortgage, such
as a home equity loan, against a reverse mortgage.  
risk asset As used by security analysts, all assets of a bank except cash, dues from
risk capital (venture capital) Capital invested in a project in which there is a
substantial element of risk, especially money invested in a new venture or an
expanding business.
risk management The control of an individual’s or company’s chances of losing on
an investment. Managing the risk can involve taking out insurance against a loss,
hedging a loan against interest-rate rises, and protecting an investment against a fall
in interest rates. A bank will always try to manage the risks involved in lending by
increasing the security and interest rates to compensate for a percentage of losses.
safe custody A service offered by most commercial banks, in which the bank holds
valuable items belonging to its customers in its strong room. These items are usually
documents, such as house deeds and bearer bonds, but they may also include
jewellery, etc. The bank is a bailee for these items and its liability will depend on
whether or not it has charged the customer for the service.
safe deposit articles A service provided by a bank whereby customers’ valuables,
including those too large for safe deposit lockers, are protected in the bank’s vaults 44
for a fee. The provision of safe deposit lockers and the custody of valuables are two
important forms of safekeeping.
safe deposit locker A metal container owned by a bank, kept in the vault, and
rented to customers for their use. The bank usually charges the customer an annual
fee. The safe deposit locker has two keys, one held by the customer and the other by
the bank, both of which are needed to open the locker.
second mortgage A second mortgage may be taken out on the same property,
provided that the value of the property is greater than  the amount of the previous
secondary market A market in which existing securities are traded, as opposed to
a primary market, in which securities are  sold for the first time. In most cases a
stock exchange largely fulfils the role of a secondary market, with the flotation of
new issues representing only a small proportion of its total business. However, it is
the existence of a flourishing secondary market, providing liquidity and the spreading
of risks, that creates the conditions for a healthy primary market.
securities 1) Literally, things given, deposited, or pledged to assure the fulfilment of
an obligation. In this narrow sense, a mortgage is a security. 2) Generally, in a
broader sense, securities now include stocks, bonds, notes and other evidences of
securitisation The process whereby similar debt  instruments/ assets are pooled
together and repackaged into marketable securities which can be sold to investors.
The process of loan securitisation is used by banks to move their assets off the
balance sheet in order to improve their capital asset ratios.
semi-variable cost A cost which is partly fixed and partly variable.
sensitivity analysis A technique of risk analysis which studies the responsiveness
of a criterion of merit like net present value or internal rate of return to variations in
underlying factors like selling price, quantity sold, etc.
setoff An agreement between the parties involved to set off one debt against
another or one loss against a gain. A banker is empowered to set off a credit balance
on one account against a debit balance on another if the accounts are in the same
sight draft Any bill of exchange that is payable on sight, i.e. on presentation,
irrespective of when it was drawn.
small and medium enterprises The size of the unit and technology employed for
firms to be globally competitive is now of a higher order. The  definition of Small
Scale Sector is revisited and the policy considered inclusion of services and trade
sectors within its ambit. In keeping with global practice, the current concept of the
sector broadened and the medium enterprises are included in a composite sector of
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
smart card A plastic card that contains electronically stored information enabling its
user, usually for obtaining cash from an automated teller machine. It can also be 45
used as an identification card that gains the bearer access to a computer system,
hotel room, office, etc.
society for worldwide interbank financial telecommunication (SWIFT) A nonprofit, cooperative organisation of international banks formed to provide an
international telecommunication system for the exchange of computer processable
information among banks world-wide. Based in Brussles, the SWIFT network of
terminals links several banks world-wide. It is not a payment system, but an
information and instruction network. It began operations in 1977.
sole proprietorship A business owned and operated by one person.
solvency 1) The financial state of a person or company that is able to pay all debts
as they fall due. 2) The amount by which the assets of a bank exceed its liabilities.
sovereign risk 1) The risk to a lender that the servicing of its loans to a foreign
borrower may be abridged, frozen, or denied by acts of, or conditions in the nation
where the borrower is located. This risk, sometimes referred to as ‘country risk,’ is
unrelated to the actual borrower’s capacity to repay.  2) In a more limited sense, the
term ‘sovereign risk’ refers to the risk that a foreign government (as distinct from a
business in that country) may default on its borrowings.
special crossing A crossing on a cheque in which the name of a bank is written
between the crossing lines. A cheque so  crossed can only be paid into the named
special drawing rights (SDRs) An international reserve asset created by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its  value is based since 1974 on a basket of
currencies. In 1970 members of the IMF were allocated SDRs in proportion to the
quotas of currency that they had subscribed to the fund on its formation. There have
since been further allocations. SDRs can be used to settle international trade
balances and to repay debts to the IMF itself. The value of SDRs was originally
expressed in terms of gold (hence their  former name paper gold). SDRs provide a
credit facility for IMF members in addition to their existing credit facilities (hence the
spot currency market A market in which currencies are traded for delivery within
two days, as opposed to the forward dealing exchange market in which deliveries are
arranged for named months in the future. The rate of exchange for spot currency is
the spot rate.
spot rate Exchange rate which applies to on the sport delivery of the currency; in
practice it means delivery two days after the day of trade.
spread The difference between the buying and selling price (rates).
stale cheque A cheque that has not been presented for payment within six months
of its date. The bank will return it marked ‘out of date’/’stale’.
standby credit  A  letter  of  credit  that  guarantees  a  loan  or  other  form  of  credit
facility. The bank that issues it promises to refund the amount borrowed if the
borrower defaults on repayment. It calls for a certificate of default by the applicant. 46
A standby credit is third-party guarantee  to honour an investor promise who may
have a low credit rating.
state financial corporations State level financial institutions catering mainly to the
needs of the small and medium scale industries.
statute of limitation Statute that bars suits upon valid claims after the expiration
of a specified period.
stock exchange 1) An organised, regulated marketplace, where officials of
brokerage firms meet physically to buy and sell shares/securities as directed by their
customers, the investors. 2) The association of brokerage firms and broker-dealers
that provides such a marketplace and whose officials trade in it.
stock option A document that gives the bearer the right to buy a specific stock at a
stated price during a specified period, regardless of the prevailing market price.
Stock options are traded in the same manner as other securities.
subordinated debt Debt obligations not in the first (senior) (secured) tier of
obligations. In the event of default, subordinated debt holders are paid after all
senior obligations have been discharged.
subpoena (Latin: under penalty) An order made by a court instructing a person to
appear in court on a specific date to  give evidence, or to produce specified
documents. The party calling for the witness must pay any reasonable expenses.
Failure to comply with a subpoena is contempt of court.
subsidy A payment by a government to producers of certain goods to enable them
to sell the goods to the public at a low price, to compete with foreign competition, to
avoid making redundancies and creating  unemployment, making available to the
consumer cheaper, etc. In general, subsidies distort trade and are unpopular.
sunk capital The amount of an organisation’s  funds that has been spent and is
therefore no longer available to the organisation, frequently because it has been
spent on either unrealisable or valueless assets.
surrender value The amount of a life insurance policy paid to a policy holder when
he or she surrenders the policy. The surrender value is also the maximum amount of
loan that will be given against the policy.
SWAP The purchase of foreign exchange for  spot delivery, with the simultaneous
sale of the equivalent exchange for forward delivery, vice versa.
syndicated loan A very large loan made to one borrower by a group of banks
headed by one lead bank, which usually takes a percentage of the loan itself,
syndicating the rest to other banks and financial institutions.
take-out finance take-out finance structure is essentially a mechanism designed to
enable to avoid asset-liability maturity mismatches that may arise out of extending
long tenor loans to infrastructure projects. Under the arrangements, banks financing
the infrastructure projects will have an arrangement with any other financial
institution for transferring to the latter  the outstandings in their books on a predetermined basis. 47
tangible net worth Ordinarily, the total capital (owned capital) less intangibles.
(Total Net Worth).
tax haven A country or independent area that has a low rate of tax and therefore
offers advantages to retired wealthy individuals or to companies that can arrange
their affairs so that their tax liability falls at least partly in the low-tax haven. In the
case of individuals, the cost of the tax saving is usually residence in the tax haven
for a major part of the year.
telegraphic transfer (TT) A method of transmitting money overseas by means of a
transfer between banks by cable or telephone. The transfer is usually made in the
currency of the payee and may be credited to the payee’s account at a specific bank
or paid to the payee on application and identification.
telephone banking A facility enabling customers to use banking services by means
of telephoning rather than by visiting  the bank’s premises. Enquiries and cerain
transactions can be made this way, often on a 24-hour, 7 day service. Oral
instructions for payments, account movements, and other operations can be made
using a personal identification number (PIN).
teller Who actually handles reasonable cash  transactions of depositors and other
bank customers. The teller receives deposits, pays out withdrawals, issues drafts,
etc., within specified limits.
term liabilities The liabilities that will not mature during the next accounting period.
term loan Usually a long-term loan with a tenure running up to ten years. These
loans are made generally by financial institutions, commercial banks and insurance
companies to well-established business enterprise for capital expenditures such as
plant, equipment, etc. An amortisation programme is worked out in the loan
agreement for the liquidation of the loan over its tenure, based on the cash profits
and the debt/service coverage be maintained at an agreed-upon level.
test key A code customarily established between banks and affixed, authenticating 
for transferring funds by cable, telex,  or telephone so that the recipient may
authenticate the message and act.
testate Having made and left a valid will. Compare with Intestate.
testator A person who makes a will. The feminine form is testatrix.
tom next Literally, tomorrow next, Banks use this term for foreign exchange
transactions to mean delivery on the next business day.
trading profit The profit of an organisation before deductions for such items as
interest, directors’ fees, auditors’ remuneration, etc.
transferable Denoting a deed or other document the ownership of which can be
transferred freely, e.g. a negotiable instrument.
traveller’s cheque A special fixed amount cheque issued by a well-known bank,
travel agent, etc., and sold at many franchise locations. It enables travellers to carry 48
money without threat of loss or theft. The purchaser of these cheques pays a fee for
the convenience of guaranteed rapid replacement in the event of loss or theft. They
may be encashed at banks, exchange bureaux, authorised restaurants, hotels,
shops, on proof of identity. The traveller has to sign the cheque twice, once in
presence of the issuer and again in the presence of the paying bank, agent, etc.
trust 1) An arrangement enabling property to be held by a person or persons (the
trustees) in a fiduciary capacity for the benefit of some other person or persons (the
beneficiaries). The trustee is the legal owner of the property but the beneficiary has
an equitable interest in it. A trust may be intentionally created or it may be imposed
by law.  Trusts are commonly used to provide for the families, philanthropy and in
commercial situations (e.g. pensions trusts). 2) A trustee is subject to an obligation,
enforceable in a court, to keep or use the property for the benefit of the beneficiary.
Trustees may be personally liable to beneficiaries for loss of trust property.
trust deed The document creating and setting out the terms of a trust, it will usually
contain the names of the trustees, the identity of the beneficiaries, and the nature of
the trust property, as well as the powers and duties of the trustees.
trustee investments Investments in which trustees are authorised to invest the
trust property. The Indian Trust Act,  1882, regulate the investments of trust
property that may be made by trustees. The Act applies unless excluded by a trust
deed executed after the Act was passed.
ultra vires (Latin: beyond the powers) Denoting an act of an official or a company
for which there is no authority. The powers of officials exercising administrative
duties and of companies are limited by the instrument from which their powers are
derived. If they act outside these powers, their action is ultra vires, may be
challenged in the courts. A company’s powers are limited by the objects clause in its
memorandum of association. If it enters into an agreement outside these objects,
the agreement may be unenforceable, although a third party may have a legal
remedy, if acted in good faith.
unclaimed balances Account balances that have not been legally debited or
credited for a specific period.
under writer A financial institution, usually merchant bank, that guarantees to buy
a proportion of any unsold shares when  a new issue is offered to the public.
Underwriters usually work for a commission.
uniform customs and practice for documentary credits A standard code issued
by the International Chamber of Commerce. This code is the primary guide used in
handling documentary letters of credit.
unincorporated business A privately owned business, that is not legally registered
or recognised as a company. The owner has unlimited liability for any debts he or
she may incur.
unit trust A trust formed to manage a portfolio of stock exchange securities, in
which small investors can buy units. This gives the small investor access to a
diversified portfolio of securities, chosen and managed by professional fund
managers, who seek either high capital gains or high yields, within the parameters of
reasonable security. Unit trusts are called mutual funds.  49
unit trust of india (UTI) An investment company, UTI aims at mobilising the
savings of the public and channelises them into productive corporate investments.
Now it stands spilt into two.
unlisted security Security/share which is not listed on a recognised Stock
unquoted securities Securities/shares that are not dealt in on any stock exchange.
usury 1) An excessively higher  rate of  interest  than  is allowed by  law. 2) The act of
charging a higher rate of interest for the use of funds than is legally allowed.
utmost good faith (uberrima fides) The fundamental principal of insurance
practice, requiring that a person wishing to take out an insurance cover must provide
all the information the insurer needs to calculate the correct premium for the risk
involved. Nothing must be withheld from the insurers, even if they do not actually
ask for the information on an application form. The principle is essential because an
insurer usually has no knowledge of the facts involved in the risk they are being
asked to cover; the only source of information is the person requiring the insurance.
If an insured person is found to have withheld information or given false information,
the insurer can treat the policy as void.
value date 1) The date on which specified funds become available for use. 2) The
date on which a transaction actually takes place.  3) The date on which foreign
exchange is due to be delivered.
visibles Earnings from exports and payments  for imports of goods, as opposed to
services (such as banking and insurance). The balance of trade is made up of visibles
and is sometimes called the visible balance.
warranty A statement made clearly in a contract (express warranty) or, if not
stated clearly, understood between the parties to the contract (implied warranty). An
unfulfilled warranty does not invalidate the  contract (as it would in the case of an
unfulfilled condition) but could lead to the payment of damages.
weighed average (weighed mean) An arithmetic average that takes into account
the importance of the items making up the average. For example, if a person buys a
commodity on three occasions, 100 tonnes at Rs.70/- per tonne, 300 tonnes at
Rs.80/- per tonne, and 50 tonnes at Rs.95/- per tonne, he purchases total 450
tonnes; the simple average price would be (70+80+95)/3 = Rs.81.70. The weighted
average taking into account the amount purchased on each occasion, would be
[(100x70) + (300x80) + (50x95)]/450=Rs.79.40 per tonne.
will A legally enforceable document in writing giving directions as to the disposal of,
usually, but not always, a person’s property after death. It has no effect until death
and may be altered many times (by means of  codocil)  as  the  person  (the  testator)
wishes until, the testator’s death and applies to the situation that exists when the
death of the testator. To be binding, it must be executed in accordance with
statutory formalities. It must be in writing, signed by the testator or at the testator’s
direction and in the testator’s presence.  It must appear that the signature was
intended to give effect to the will (usually it is signed close to the last words dealing 50
with the property). The will must be witnessed by two persons, who must also sign
the will. The witnesses must not be beneficiaries.
window dressing An attempt to improve the appearance of a company’s financial
position or operating results by using such techniques as not accounting for all
expenses, anticipating sales, concealing liabilities, delaying write-offs, or under
providing for depreciation. In a bank, window dressing might also include soliciting
deposits just before year end.
with recourse A bill of exchange that does not have a without recourse
endorsement or that specifically states that it is ‘with recourse’. Such a bill gives the
bank a right to claim the full value of the bill from the customer who has asked the
bank to discount it, if it is not paid.
withholding tax A tax collected by the source originating the income as opposed to
one paid by the recipient  of the income after the funds are received. Thus a
withholding tax on interest payments to foreigners means that the tax proceeds are
deducted from the payment made and collected by the source on behalf of the tax
without recourse (sans recours) Words that appear on a bill of exchange to
indicate that the holder has no recourse to the person from whom it was bought, if it
is not paid. It may be written on the face of the bill or as an endorsement. If these
words do not appear, the holder does have recourse to the drawer or endorser if the
bill is dishonoured.
work in progress (WIP) Partly manufactured goods (goods-in-process/semifinished goods) or partly completed contracts. For accounting purposes, work in
progress is normally valued at its cost (cost of the materials and labour), together
with some estimated percentage of overheads.
working capital The difference between a firm’s current assets and current
liabilities. Working capital represents the  amount of money available for operating
the firm. The ability of a firm to meet its obligations, expand its volume, and take
advantage of favourable business opportunities depends partially on its volume of
working capital.
working capital loan A short-term loan to provide money to purchase incomegenerating assets, such as inventory.
world trade organisation (WTO) The world trading system founded at the
Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994, to
supersede GATT and to implement the measures agreed at the Uruguay round.
WTO’s aims are to continue the work of GATT in agreeing international trading rules
and furthering the liberalisation of international trade. WTO has wider and more
permanent powers than GATT and extends its jurisdiction into such aspects of
trading as intellectual property rights. The highest authority of WTO is Ministerial
Conference, held at least every two years. Almost all the major countries are
write-off The removal of a bad debt or worthless asset from the books by reducing
its value to zero. A write-off is usually debited to a reserve for bad debts or writtenoff from earned profit. 51
yield to maturity The rate of return, including all interest payments and the
difference between current market price and the face value of an asset, on a loan or
a debt security if held to maturity. Yield to maturity is the discounted present value
of the sum of future interest payments and capital gains by holding a debt security.
In other words, the yield earned on a bond at a given price if held to maturity.
zero coupons Securities (Bonds) with no interest payments. Zero coupons are
offered initially by the issuer at a deep discount from face value. The final repayment
at maturity covers principal and all interest payments for the life of the security. The
discount is taxable as though it were explicit interest payments.
zero-based budgeting A budgeting procedure whereby all expenditures are
justified annually before being included in a budget. Zero-base budgeting strives to
eliminate annual budget increases made habitually without considering whether a
program, should be continued. Budgeting in which figures are developed from
scratch every year.
Access Products  - products that allow consumers to access traditional payment
instruments electronically, generally from remote locations.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)  - a standard-setting
organization; it is the U.S. representative to the International Standards
Organization (ISO).
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)  - a standard
code for representing characters and numbers that is used on most microcomputers,
computer terminals, and printers.
Applet - a small application program that is designed to do a small, specific job.
Application - a computer program or set of programs that perform the processing
of records for a specific function.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)  - method of transmitting bits of data one
after another with a start bit and a stop bit to mark the beginning and end of each
data unit. 52
Auditability - the degree to which transactions can be traced and audited through a
Authentication - the process of proving the claimed  identity of an individual user,
machine, software component or any other entity.
Authorization  - the process of determining what types of activities are permitted.
Usually, authorization is in the context of authentication: once you have
authenticated a user, they may be authorized different types of access or activity.
Bandwidth  - the transmission capacity of a  computer channel or communications
Bastion Host  - a system that has been hardened to resist attack, and which is
installed on a network in such  a  way  that  it  is  expected  to  potentially  come  under
attack. Bastion hosts are often components of firewalls, or may be "outside" web
servers or public access systems.
Biometrics  - a method of verifying an individual’s identity by analyzing a unique
physical attribute.
Browser  - a computer program that enables the  user to retrieve information that
has been made publicly available on the Internet; also permits multimedia (graphics)
applications on the World Wide Web.
Chip - an electronic device consisting of circuit elements on a single silicon chip. The
most complex circuits are microprocessors, which are single chips that contain the
complete arithmetic and logic units of computers.
Chip Card - also known as an integrated circuit (IC) card. A card containing one or
more computer chips or integrated circuits for identification, data storage or specialpurpose processing used to validate personal identification numbers, authorize
purchases, verify account balances and store personal records.
Client-Server Network - a method of allocating resources in a local area network
so that computing power is distributed among computer workstations in the network
but some shared resources are centralized in a file server.
Closed Network - a telecommunications network that is used for a specific purpose,
such as a payment system, and to which access is restricted (also referred to as a
private network).
Closed Stored Value System - a system in which value is issued and accepted by
either a relatively small group of merchants, or in which the system is limited
geographically (i.e., university programs and fare cards for mass transit systems).
Code  - computer programs, written in machine language (object code) or
programming language (source code).
Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)  - located at Carnegie-Mellon
University, this incident response team  offers advisories, which contain enormous
amounts of useful, specific security information. 53
Cracker - a computer operator who breaks through a system’s security. This can be
legitimate activity, such as to test system security measures.
Cryptography  - the principles, means, and methods for rendering information
unintelligible and for restoring encrypted information to intelligible form (i.e.,
scrambling a message).
Cyber Mall - a set of electronic or digital storefronts linked through a common web
Database Administrator (DBA) - the individual with authority to control the data
base management system.
Data Encryption Standard (DES) - U.S. government standard for data encryption
method published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the
encryption of sensitive U.S. government data which does not fall under the category
of national security related information. The DES uses a 64-bit key.
Data Integrity - the property that data meet with a priority expectation of quality.
Dedicated - assigned to only one function.
Dial-up  - the ability of a remote user to access a system by using private or
common carrier telephone lines.
Digital - referring to communications processors, techniques, and equipment where
information is encoded as a binary "1" or "0".
Digital Certification  - a process to authenticate (or certify) a party’s digital
signature; carried out by trusted third parties.
Digital Signatures - a mathematical encryption technique that associates a specific
person with a given computer file and indicates that the file has not been altered
since that person signed it; should not be confused with making an electronic
representation of a written signature.
Distributed Transaction Processing - application processing that involves multiple
users requiring concurrent access to a single shared resource.
Domain Name - an alphanumeric name for a web site that includes both the online
address and online name.
Download  - to transmit a file or program from a central computer to a smaller
computer or a remote site.
Electronic Cash  - the digital equivalent of dollars and cents (also referred to as
digital cash).
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)  - the transfer of information between
organizations in machine-readable form.
Electronic Document - the digital or computer equivalent of paper documents. 54
Electronic Money - monetary value measured in currency units stored in electronic
form on an electronic device in the consumer’s possession. This electronic value can
be purchased and held on the device until reduced through purchase or transfer.
Electronic Purse - a stored value device that can be used to make purchases from
more than one vendor.
E-mail - messages people send to one another electronically from one computer to
Encryption (Cryptography)  - the process of scrambling data by a device or
encoding principle (mathematical algorithms) so that the data cannot be read
without the proper codes for unscrambling the data.
End-to-end Encryption  - the protection of information passed in a
telecommunications system by cryptographic means, from point of origin to point of
Ethernet  - a type of local area network originally developed by Xerox,
communication takes place by means of radio frequency signals carried over coaxial
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)  - a standard way of transferring files from one
computer to another on the Internet.
Firewall - a system or combination of hardware and software solutions that enforces
a boundary between two or more networks.
Flowchart -  a programming tool to graphically present a procedure by using
symbols to designate the logic of how a problem is solved.
Gateway - a computer that performs protocol conversion between different types of
networks or applications.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)  - a way of communicating with a computer by
manipulating icons (pictures) and windows with a mouse.
Groupware  - software that allows a group of people to work on the same data
through a network, by facilitating file sharing and other forms of communication.
Hacker  - a computer operator who breaks into a computer without authorization,
either for malicious reasons or just to prove it can be done.
Home Banking - banking services that allow a customer to interact with a financial
institution from a remote location by using a telephone, television set, terminal,
personal computer, or other device to access a telecommunication system which
links to the institution’s computer center.
Home Page - a screen of information made available to users through the Internet
or a private intranet; it is the "main page"  that users are expected to read first in
order to access the other pages that comprise the web site. 55
Host - also known as a host computer that is the primary or controlling computer in
a computer network, generally involving data communications or a local area
Hypertext  - electronic documents that present  information that can be connected
together in many different ways, instead of sequentially.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)  - a set of codes that can be inserted into
text files to indicate special typefaces, inserted images, and links to other hypertext
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)  - a standard method of publishing
information as hypertext in HTML format on the Internet.
Incident Response Team  - a team of computer experts (internal or external)
organized to protect an organization’s data, systems, and other assets from attack
by hackers, viruses, or other compromise.
Integrated Circuit Card (IC Card) - a plastic card in which one or more integrated
circuits are embedded (also called a chip card).
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)  - a type of all-digital telephone
service. ISDN lines provide a connection that can transmit digital data as well as
voice, without a modem.
International Organization for  Standardization/Open Systems
Interconnection (ISO/OSI) – an international standard-setting organization. ANSI
is the U.S. representative.
Internet - a worldwide network of computer networks (commonly referred to as the
Information Superhighway).
Internet Service Provider (ISP)  - an entity that provides access to the Internet
and related services, generally for a fee.
Interoperability - the compatibility of distinct applications, networks, or systems.
Intranet  - a private network that uses the infrastructure and standards of the
Internet and World Wide Web, but is cordoned off from the public Internet through
firewall barriers.
Issuer  - in a stored value or similar prepaid electronic money system, the entity
which receives payment in exchange for value distributed in the system and which is
obligated to pay or redeem transactions or balances presented to it.
Key - A secret value or code used in an encrypting algorithm known by one or both
of the communicating parties.
Local Area Network (LAN) - a network that connects several computers that are
located nearby (in the same  room  or  building),  allowing  them  to  share  files  and
devices such as printers. 56
Lock and Key Protection System - a protection system that involves matching a
key or password with a specific access requirement.
Logging  - the storing of information about events that occurred on the firewall or
Magnetic Stripe  - used on debit, credit, and identification cards to store encoded
information read by card readers; less secure than computer chip cards.
Memory Card - an integrated circuit (IC) card capable of storing information only.
Middleware  - facilitates the client/server connections over a network and allows
client applications to access and update remote databases and mainframe files.
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)  – an established US
agency, within the Department of Commerce to develop technical, management,
physical and administrative standards and guidelines for the cost effective security
and privacy of sensitive information in Federal computer systems. NIST issues the
Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS).
Navigation - moving through a complex system of menus or help files.
Network  - a group of computers connected by cables or other means and using
software that enables them to share equipment and exchange information. A system
of software and hardware connected in a manner to support data transmission.
Node  - any device, including servers and workstations, connected to a network.
Also, the point where devices are connected.
Non-repudiable Transactions - transactions that cannot be denied after the fact.
Offline - equipment or devices that are not in direct communication with the central
processor of a computer system, or connected only intermittently.
Online  - equipment or devices that communicate with a computer network.
Connections can be direct (as in a LAN using dedicated connections) or indirect (as in
using the Internet).
Online Scrip - debit accounts on the Internet or other major computer network.
Online Service Providers (OSP) - closed network services that provide access to
various computer sites or networks for a fee.
Open Network - a telecommunications network to which access is not restricted.
Open Stored Value System  - a system that may be comprised of one or more
electronic cash issuers of stored value that is accepted by multiple merchants or
Operating System - a program that controls a computer and makes it possible for
users to enter and run their own programs. 57
Packet Switching - a data transmission method that routes packets along the most
efficient path and allows  a communication channel to  be shared by multiple
Password  - a unique word or string of characters that a programmer, computer
operator, or user must supply to satisfy security requirements before gaining access
to the system or data.
Password Cracker - a software program designed  to conduct an automated brute
force attack on the password security controls of an information system by
"guessing" user passwords.
Password Sniffer  - a software program that is illicitly inserted somewhere on a
network to capture user passwords as they pass through the system.
Payment System  - a financial system that establishes the means for transferring
money between suppliers and users of funds, usually by exchanging debits or credits
between financial institutions.
Personal Identification Number (PIN)  - a sequence of digits used to verify the
identity of a device holder.
Piggyback (Between-the-lines Entry)  - a means of gaining unauthorized access
to a system via another user’s legitimate connection.
Point of Sale (POS)  - a system of terminals that debits or charges a customer’s
account and credits or pays a merchant’s account to effect payment for purchases at
retail establishments.
Prepaid Card - a card on which value is stored, and for which the holder has paid
the issuer in advance.
Privacy  - in the context of a payment system, the property that no information
which might permit determination of transactions may be collected without the
consent of the counterparties involved.
Protocols - a standardized set of rules that define how computers communicate with
each other.
Proximity Cards  - cards that can be read from a  short distance; mainly used for
security and vehicle identification.
Public Key Cryptography - type of cryptography in which the encryption process is
publicly available and unprotected, but in which a part of the decryption key is
protected so that only a party with knowledge of both parts of the decryption process
can decrypt the cipher text.
Remote Payment - a payment carried out through the sending of payment orders
or payment instruments.
Repudiation - the denial by one of the parties to a transaction of participation in all
or part of that transaction or of the content of the communication. 58
Router  - a computer system in a network that stores and forwards data packets
between local area networks and wide area networks.
Scattering  - the process of mixing the integrated circuit (IC) chip components so
that they cannot be analyzed easily.
Search Engines  - software programs that are  capable of locating specified
information or web sites on the Internet.
Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)  - a set of standards jointly developed by
Visa, MasterCard, and several technologies companies to facilitate secure credit card
transactions over the Internet.
Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (SHTTP)  - provides secure communication
mechanisms between an HTTP client-server pair.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL)  - a protocol for providing data security during
transmission using data encryption, server authentication, and message integrity.
Server - a computer that provides services to another computer (the client).
Settlement  - an act that discharges obligations with respect to funds or securities
transfers between two or more parties.
Settlement system  - a system used to facilitate the settlement of transfers of
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)  - a protocol used to transfer electronic
mail between computers on the Internet. 
Smart Card  - a card with a computer chip embedded, on which financial, health,
educational, and security information can be stored and processed.
Specification - documents that contain basic detailed data.
Spoofing - an attempt to gain access to a system by posing as an authorized user.
Standards  - the rules under which analysts, programmers, operators, and other
personnel in an information service organization work.
Stored Value Card  - a card that stores prepaid  value via magnetic stripe or
computer chip.
Structured Query Language (SQL)  - a query language used to manipulate large
System Integrity  - the quality that a system has when it performs its intended
function in an unimpaired manner, free from deliberate or inadvertent manipulation
of the system.
System Specification  - a baseline specification containing all the essential
computer-based business system documentation. It is completed at the end of the
Development Phase. 59
Systemic Risk  - the risk that the failure of one participant in a funds transfer
system, or in financial markets generally, to meet its required obligations will cause
other participants or financial institutions to be unable to meet their obligations when
Systems Analysis - the performance, management, and documentation of the four
phases of the life cycle of a business system: study, design, development, and
Tamper-evident - the capacity of devices to show evidence of physical attack.
Tamper-proof - the proven capacity of devices to resist all attacks.
Tamper resistant - the capacity of devices to resist physical attack up to a certain
Telecommunications  - data transmission between a computing system and
remotely located devices via telephone lines, cable, or wireless technology.
Telnet  - a protocol that permits users to  access a remote terminal or another
computer through a network; widely used on the Internet.
Threat Monitoring - the analysis, assessment, and review of audit trails and other
data collected for the purpose of searching out system events that may constitute
violations or attempted violations of system security.
Throughput  - the total amount of useful work performed by a data processing
system during a given period of time.
Topology  - the arrangement of nodes usually  forming a star, ring, tree, or bus
Traceability  - the degree to which transactions can be traced to the originator or
recipient (also referred to as auditability).
Transferability  - in electronic money systems, the degree to which an electronic
balance can be transferred between devices without interaction with a central
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) - a standard format
for transmitting data in packets from one computer to another, on the Internet and
within other networks. TCP deals with the construction of the data packets while IP
routes them from machine to machine.
Trap Door  - a concealed and unauthorized entrance into a computer operating
system, designed by the programmer.
Trojan Horse - a program that appears to perform a useful function and sometimes
does so quite well but also includes an  unadvertised feature, which is usually
malicious in nature. 60
Truncation  - dropping off part of a character string either to conserve space or
because of limited space.
Trusted Computer System - a system that employs sufficient assurance measures
to allow its use for simultaneous processing of a range of sensitive or classified
Trusted Third Party - a reputable entity that authenticates one or more parties to
an electronic transaction. The authentication process generally involves the issuance
and administration of digital certificates.
Uniform Resource Locator or Universal Resource Locator (URL)  - a way of
specifying the location of available information on the Internet.
Upload  - to transmit a file to a central computer from a smaller computer or a
remote location.
Usenet - a set of many newsgroups distributed via the Internet.
Virtual Corporations - corporations that have no official physical site presence and
are made up of diverse geographically dispersed or mobile employees.
Virus  - a program with the ability to reproduce by modifying other programs to
include a copy of itself. It may contain destructive code that can move into multiple
programs, data files, or devices on a system and spread through multiple systems in
a network.
Vulnerability  - a weakness in system security procedures, system design,
implementation, internal controls, etc., that could be exploited to violate system
Web Page - a screen of information supporting the home page of a web site.
Web Site  - the collection of an entity’s home page and other proprietary pages
located on the World Wide Web.
Wide Area Network (WAN)  - a communications network that covers a wide
geographic area, such as state or country,  using high speed long distance lines or
satellites provided by a common carrier.
World Wide Web (web, www)  - a sub network of the Internet through which
information is exchanged via text, graphics, audio, and video.
Worm - a program that scans a system or an entire network for available, unused
space in which to run. Worms tend to tie up all computing resources in a system or
on a network and effectively shut it down. 

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