Investment jargon explained.


  • Annuity

    A fixed-income financial product that is designed to increase in value for a specific period in time, then make a series of payments to the investor.

  • Assets Under Management

    Assets Under Management (AUM) is a measurement of the total market value of the assets that a financial institution or investment company manages on behalf of investors.

  • Bank of England

    The central bank of the United Kingdom of Great Britain was created in 1694 and has since undertaken everything from issuing bonds to governing the country’s interest rates. The UK’s monetary policy authority, the Bank of England has acted “independently” from the government since 1997.

  • BAT Stocks

    The term BAT stocks refers to the shares of Chinese internet companies Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.

  • Bear Market

    A bear market refers to a sustained period of time during which securities prices are falling, causing widespread pessimism among investors – leading them to sell their securities, which in turn makes prices fall further.

  • Blockchain

    A blockchain is a continuous digital ledger that records transaction data, contracts and other information on a secure, decentralised public network of peer-to-peer computers known as nodes. When a new transaction is made on the blockchain, a majority of nodes approve and validate it. The validated transaction is then time-stamped and becomes a new block on the chain that is distributed and stored across the network of nodes. This provides a permanent, transparent record of the transaction. Blockchain technology has a number of practical applications. It is the foundation on which crytocurrencies such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum are built on, the latter of which is embedding the technology into smart contracts known as initial coin offerings (ICOs).

  • Brent Crude

    Also referred to as Brent Blend, Brent Crude is a type of sweet crude oil sourced from the North Sea, which is used as a benchmark for the prices of oil contracts, futures, and derivatives worldwide. Brent crude accounts for more than half of the globally-traded supply of crude oil.

  • Bull Market

    A bull market is a financial market in which asset prices are consistently rising in value over an extended period of time. The term typically refers to a stock market, but may be also used to describe bonds, commodities, currencies, real estate, and other assets that are traded.

    The opposite of a bull market is a bear market, in which asset prices are consistently in a downward trend.

  • Buyback

    When a company chooses to repurchase its shares from the open market. This may have the effect of boosting share prices and creating confidence in the market.

  • CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)

    The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which displays the expected volatility of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days.

  • Cryptocurrency

    A cryptocurrency is a digital currency which utilises encryption techniques for security and anti-counterfeiting purposes – to regulate the creation of new units of currency and ensure smooth and secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies are decentralised, operating independent of central banks.

  • Deflation

    When there is less money circulating within a country’s economy, causing purchasing power to increase.

  • Derivative

    A financial contract between two or more parties that derives its value from an underlying asset such as a bond, commodity, currency, index, or stock.

  • Diversification

    Ensuring that all of your eggs aren’t in one basket. In other words, you have a wide array of investments in your portfolio – which serves to reduce risk.

  • Divestment

    The opposite of investment, divestment (also known as divestiture) refers to the act of selling off an asset – such as a stock, property, or business – to achieve financial, social, or political objectives.

  • Dividend

    Dividends are the share of after-tax profits and retained earnings that a company distributes to shareholders. The amount and timing of distribution is decided by the board of directors, who typically retain sufficient cash reserves for the projected operating and capital needs of the company.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average

    Invented by Charles Dow – a financial journalist and founder of The Wall Street Journal – in 1896, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted stock market index that is based on the average value of 30 large, industrial US companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is widely seen as a leading indicator of the overall condition of the US stock market and economy.

  • e-Commerce

    Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is a type of business that involves the buying or selling of goods and services via the internet.

  • Earnings Per Share (EPS)

    EPS is calculated by the company’s net income divided by the number of ordinary shares issued. It is used as a measure of a company’s performance, and is typically used in valuation metrics to compare and assess the company against its industry peers and to determine if the share price is over or underpriced.

  • Emerging Market

    An emerging market is a term used to describe the economy of a country that is developing through robust, rapid growth and industrialization, and is in the process of transforming into advanced economy. An emerging market nation typically has some form of market exchange and regulatory body as well as a single currency and overarching banking infrastructure. Emerging markets offer investors higher potential returns, but carry higher risks due to the possibility of stock market volatility, political upheaval, currency fluctuations, and regulatory changes.

  • ETF

    Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are securities that track a particular index (such as the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq), sector, commodity, bond, or group of stocks. ETFs are similar in structure to mutual funds as investors own shares of the ETF and do not directly own the fund’s underlying assets. ETFs are different from mutual funds in that they are listed and traded on exchanges just like stocks. ETFs also typically have lower fees than mutual funds.

  • FANG Stocks

    Coined by CNBC commentator Jim Cramer, the term FANG stocks refers to the shares of tech companies Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.

  • Fintech

    A portmanteau of financial technology, fintech is a term that encompasses just about anything relating to technological innovation in the world of finance including areas such as cryptocurrencies and e-payment. Fintech aims to enhance the ability of financial services companies to deliver their products and services to customers.

  • Fixed Income Security

    A fixed income security is an investment that delivers returns in the form of regular payments on a pre-determined schedule and repayments of the principal amount upon maturity. In essence, a fixed income security is a loan made by an investor to a government or corporation to finance their operations. Examples of fixed income securities include corporate and government bonds, Treasury bills, and money market instruments.

  • Frontier Markets

    Frontier markets are markets in countries that are less economically developed and mature than emerging market countries. Frontier markets typically have lower market capitalisation and less liquidity than emerging markets. Although frontier markets give investors the opportunity to reap potentially high returns, they can also expose investors to significant risks.

  • FTSE 100

    The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 index is a share index composed of the 100 largest companies in terms of market capitalisation on the London Stock Exchange. The FTSE 100 is widely regarded as a barometer of the performance of major UK companies as well as the general health of the country’s economy.

  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI

    The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) is a benchmark index made up of the 30 biggest companies – in terms of market capitalisaton – trading on the Bursa Malaysia stock market.

  • FTSE Straits Times Index

    A benchmark, capitalisation-weighted market index made up of the top 30 companies on the Singapore stock exchange. Established in 1966, it is run by the FTSE Group.

  • Futures

    A contract for a financial instrument or a physical commodity to be purchased at a set price at a future date. Traded on a special exchange, futures are typically used by investors to speculate on a future value of an asset or to hedge against losses.

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

    Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total value of all the goods and services produced by a single country within a certain time period. Typically calculated on an annual or quarterly basis, GDP is a measurement of a country’s overall economic activity and an indicator of its economic health.

  • Gross National Income (GNI)

    A measurement of a country’s total income, calculated by adding together the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and any income that has been received from abroad.

  • Hammer Price

    Hammer price refers to the price offered as the winning bid for an item sold at an auction. The hammer price is the price the auctioneer announces when the hammer falls, but is not the final sales price – which may include a buyer’s premium, sales tax, and other charges.

  • Hang Seng Index

    The Hang Seng Index (HSI) is a market capitalisation-weighted index comprising the 40 largest companies on the Hong Kong Exchange. The HSI is widely considered a barometer of the overall market performance in Hong Kong.

  • Hedge Fund

    A hedge fund is an alternative investment vehicle through which capital from accredited individuals or institutions is pooled into a limited partnership and invested in a wide range of assets with the aim of generating high returns and mitigating risk.

  • High Net Worth (HNW) Individual

    High net worth (HNW) individuals are defined as those with at least US$1 million in investable assets – excluding personal assets such as residential property, collectibles, and consumer durables.

  • In The Black

    A term used to describe a company whose income outweighs its expenses, or more generally, is financially solvent. Its name is derived from the common practice of accountants using black ink (as opposed to red ink) to denote positive figures in financial statements.

  • In The Red

    A term generally used to describe a company that is generating a net loss or is in debt. The opposite of being “In the Black”, its name is derived from the common practice of accountants using red ink to denote losses or debt in financial statements.

  • Index Fund

    An index fund is a passive investment vehicle designed to track the performance of a particular stock market index, such as the Dow Jones or S&P 500. In theory, this is achieved by constructing a fund portfolio that is comprised of the underlying basket of stocks that are included in that index.

  • Inflation

    The rate at which the cost of purchasing goods or services increases versus the value of money used to purchase them. This should be taken into account when looking at the value of a particular investment over a period of time.

  • Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

    An unregulated mechanism through which funding for a new cryptocurrency venture is raised.

  • Initial Public Offering (IPO)

    An initial public offering (IPO), also known as “going public”, refers to the first time a private company offers its stock for sale to the public on a stock exchange. IPOs are typically IPO to get an influx of cash to finance growth. In order to initiate the IPO process, the issuing company must first engage an underwriting firm to help determine the amount and type of securities to issue, the optimal offering price, and the right time to launch the IPO.

  • Interest Rate

    The interest rate is the proportion of a loan charged by a lender to a borrower, typically expressed as a percentage of the sum borrowed. The interest rate usually refers to the amount being paid by the borrower on a yearly basis – known as the annual percentage rate (APR).

  • International Monetary Fund

    Commonly referred to as the IMF, its main goal is to ensure the global economy and trade are running smoothly.

  • Investment Bank

    A bank that works with its clients in a number of different areas including advising on investments, underwriting projects, and acting as a broker or intermediary.

  • Jakarta Composite Index

    The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) is a benchmark, capitalisation-weighted index made up of all of the stocks listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange.


    The Korean Composite Stock Price Indexes (KOSPI) is a group of indexes that track the overall performance of the Korean Stock Exchange. The most widely-recognised KOSPI index is the benchmark KOSPI 200, which is made up of the 200 biggest publicly-traded companies on the exchange.

  • Large Cap

    A company with a large market capitalisation, typically totalling more than US$10 billion.

  • Market Capitalisation

    Market capitalisation (also known as “market cap”) is the value of a company’s outstanding shares on the stock market. You can calculate the market capitalisation of a company by multiplying the total number of shares outstanding by the company’s current stock price.

  • Market Correction

    A market correction occurs when a stock market drops more than 10%. Market corrections, which can happen in any asset class, are typically temporary price declines that halt an upward trend in prices.

  • Market Exposure

    The ratio of an individual’s investment portfolio that is invested in a particular market.

  • Market Risk

    When there is risk to the entire market that an investor is exposed to. Market risk can be caused by factors such as recession or natural disasters.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

    When two companies merge, consolidate, tender offers, or purchase or when a company acquires another company’s assets and/or management.

  • MSCI

    MSCI is a US-based financial services company that specialises in providing equity, fixed income, and hedge fund stock indexes. More than 900 exchange-traded funds are based on MSCI indexes. The most widely known MSCI indexes are the MSCI World Index and MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

  • Nasdaq

    Nasdaq is an American securities marketplace that – when it was founded by the National Association of Securities Dealers in 1971 – was the world’s first electronic stock market. The Nasdaq Composite is an index that covers the more than 3,000 companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, including leading tech companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel.

  • Net Worth

    How much an individual or company is worth, after subtracting their liabilities.

  • New York Stock Exchange

    Located on Wall Street in New York City, the New York Stock Exchange (commonly abbreviated NYSE) is the biggest stock exchange in the world in terms of the total market capitalisation of its listed securities – which totalled US$21.3 trillion as of June 2017.

  • Nikkei 225

    The Nikkei 225 – commonly referred to as the Nikkei – is a price-weighted, benchmark stock index, made up of 225 blue-chip companies traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Nikkei 225 has been calculated since 1950.

  • Offshore Fund

    An investment fund set up in a jurisdiction outside of one’s home country. It will typically have lower setup and operating costs as well as a lower tax structure.

  • Offshore Trust

    A conventional trust that is set up outside of one’s home country, under the laws of an offshore jurisdiction. Offshore trusts are typically created for tax reasons and to have an additional layer of ownership to protect an individual’s assets from creditors and governments.

  • Options

    Options are derivatives contract which provide the buyer the right, but not an obligation, to buy (call) or sell (put) a specific financial asset at an agreed upon price (strike price) and date (expiry). There are two types of option contracts; American options can be exercised at any time whereas European options can only be exercised on their expiry date.

  • P/E Ratio

    Also known as the price to earnings ratio, this measurement can be used to determine a company’s share price versus its earnings per share. The P/E ratio can be calculated by dividing the market value per share by the earnings per share.

  • Price Target

    The stock price an investment analyst predicts a stock would rise (or fall) to is known as the “Price Target.” Various valuation models are used, but typically an analyst bases this opinion on factors that include the strength of the company’s balance sheet, profit projections, management strategy, risk considerations as well as technical indicators. This leads to a difference and range price targets from one analyst to another.

  • Private Banking

    Private banking refers to customized banking, investment, and other financial services offered by financial institutions to high net worth (HNW) individuals.

  • Private Equity

    Capital to invest in companies that is sourced from private investors and institutional funds.

  • Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

    The comparison of two different countries’ currencies using a market “basket of goods” approach.
    When a “basket of goods” costs the same in one country as in another country, once the variations in exchange rates have been considered, the countries are said to have purchasing power parity.

  • Quarterly Earnings Report

    The report a public company files every quarter that shows the financial health of its business. Areas typically covered in the report include net income, net sales, earnings-per-share, and earnings from continuing operations.

  • REIT

    A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns and typically operates a portfolio of income-producing, commercial and residential real estate. The assets owned by a REIT may include office buildings, shopping malls, apartments, hotels, resorts, self-storage facilities, warehouses, and mortgages or loans.

    REITs provide an investment structure similar to mutual funds, through which individual investors can earn income through real estate ownership – without having to directly purchase the properties themselves.

  • Return On Investment (ROI)

    Return on Investment (ROI) is a measurement of the gain or loss generated by a particular investment relative to the investment’s cost. ROI is typically expressed as a percentage, and can be calculated by dividing the profit made from an investment by its cost.

  • Revenue

    Total amount of income a company generates prior to deducting costs.

  • Robo-Advisor

    Robo-advisors are automated, algorithm-driven financial advisors that offer financial advice and portfolio management with little or no human intervention.

  • S&P 500

    The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (typically abbreviated as the “S&P 500”) is a stock market index that tracks the value of the 500 largest corporations – in terms of market capitalisation – on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Composite Index. Widely seen as an accurate barometer of the performance of the entire US stock market and economy, the S&P 500 is made up of a basket of companies selected by the S&P Index Committee based on three main factors: their market size, liquidity, and sector.

  • Safe Haven

    A safe haven asset is an investment that typically retains or even increases its value during periods of market turbulence. Gold, the US dollar, US Treasury bills, the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen, and bonds are all widely considered to be safe haven assets.

  • Semiconductor

    A material, often silicon-based, that is used to conduct electricity in many electronic devices.

  • Shanghai Stock Exchange

    Mainland China’s largest stock exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange traces its roots back to 1891 with the formation of the Shanghai Sharebrokers Association.

  • Shenzhen Stock Exchange

    A stock exchange based in Shenzhen, China that lists more than 1,500 companies – many of which are controlled by the Chinese government.

  • Short Selling

    Short selling – also known as “shorting” – is the practice of borrowing a security from an existing owner, subsequently selling that security at the prevailing market price, and pocketing the proceeds of the sale. If the price of the security declines, the short seller profits as he/she is able to buy back the security from the original owner at a lower price and keep the difference.

  • Small Cap

    A company with a relatively small market capitalisation – typically between US$300 million and US$2 billion.

  • Sovereign Wealth Fund

    A state-owned investment fund that utilises a country’s central bank’s reserves to invest in financial assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, or in alternative investments in an effort to increase the wealth and financial security of that country’s citizens and economy.

  • Stock Market Bubble

    A stock market bubble occurs when prices for stocks rise far above their intrinsic value, driven by investor enthusiasm. Typically the bubble bursts when investors realise the value of those stocks is inflated, leading to a massive sell off of shares and a sudden and sharp decline in prices.

  • Stock Market Crash

    When stock prices suddenly drop in value, typically by double digits and often without warning. Large-scale crashes have occurred in 1929, 1987, and 2008.


    The Taiwan Stock Exchange Capitalization Weighted Stock Index (TAIEX) tracks the performance of all stocks listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE). Created in 1967, the TAIEX index is widely considered to be a benchmark and a barometer for the Taiwan securities market.

  • Takeover Bid

    When one company makes an offer to acquire another company by means of purchasing their shares. Takeover bids can be friendly or hostile.

  • Tax Haven

    A country or area that offers foreign companies and individuals the ability to have a stable business environment with minimal tax requirements and typically low tax rates.

  • Ultra High Net Worth Individual

    Ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals are defined as those with at least US$30 million in investable assets – excluding personal assets such as residential property, collectibles, and consumer durables.

  • Unicorn

    The term “unicorn” in finance refers to a startup company that is valued at over US$1 billion.

  • US Federal Reserve

    The central bank of the United States of America. Created by Congress in 1913 to act as a separate entity to implement monetary policies and create stability in financial markets, the US Federal Reserve consists of seven governors, appointed by the US President, called the Board of Governors as well as 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks.

  • Venture Capital

    Startup company funding or expertise that is provided by investors.

  • Volatility

    The degree of variation in the price of a security over a given period of time. If the price of a security fluctuates rapidly over a short period of time, it is said to have high volatility. If the price fluctuates only slightly over a longer period of time, it is said to have low volatility.

  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI)

    West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is a grade of crude oil that is commonly used as a benchmark (along with Brent and Dubai/Oman) to determine oil pricing. WTI is the underlying asset of the New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts.

  • World Bank

    An organisation based in Washington DC whose primary purpose is to provide loans to developing countries.

  • Xenocurrency

    A currency that is traded and circulated in a foreign country outside its country of issue.

  • Year-To-Date (YTD)

    The timeframe spanning from the beginning of the fiscal year or calendar year to the present date.

  • Zakat

    A term used in Islamic finance, zakat refers to the obligation of each Muslim individual to donate a percentage of his or her earnings to charity in the form of an annual tax. Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.