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Knowledge Centre - investment glossary

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Investment glossary

Our easy-to-understand explanations of useful investment terms.

Accumulation unit

A type of unit in a unit trust where the income is reinvested automatically, increasing the unit price.

Active fund

An individual fund manager or team make investment decisions for the fund, trying to outperform stock market indices by skilfully selecting winning stocks.

Alternative Investment Market (AIM)

A sub-market of the London Stock Exchange that gives much smaller companies access to cash. Also known as the ‘junior market’.

ADR

An American Depository Receipt, or ADR, represents ownership in the shares of a non-US company that trades in the financial markets. ADRs allow US investors to buy shares in foreign companies without engaging in the risk and expense that come with cross border and cross currency transactions.

Amortisation

The gradual repaying of a loan or asset (such as a trademark or intellectual property) over time.

Annual management charge

You pay this to a fund manager, stockbroker or financial adviser for managing your investments. Annual charges can vary according to the type of investment and advice.

Annual percentage rate (APR)

An interest rate figure that indicates the total cost of borrowing, including any charges. It is mostly used for credit cards, personal loans and mortgages.

Annual report and accounts

Every year, companies that trade on the main market and AIM must provide a report outlining profits and losses, and the directors' salaries and pay increases for the previous year’s business.

Annuity

When a retiree uses their pension fund to buy an annual amount paid to them for the rest of their lives.

Annuity share

Another term for an income share within a split-capital investment trust. It is not worth much at the end of the trust term because the capital value has been distributed as income to the investor.

Approved investment trust company

A company that does not have to pay capital gains tax on profits it makes from sales of investments within its portfolio.

Arbitrage

The art of buying something cheap in one place and selling it at a profit somewhere else. It exploits often small pricing differences either in the same or similar assets.

Ask price

The lowest price at which someone will sell an investment at a given moment.

Asset class

Groups of investments. The main ones are shares, bonds, property, commodities, cash and, more recently, cryptocurrencies.

Association of Investment Companies (AIC)

The main trade body for the closed-ended investment company industry. Visit theaic.co.uk.

B share

Instead of paying income in the form of a dividend, B shares pay holders in extra shares instead.

Balance sheet

Part of a company's annual report and accounts. It lists everything the company owns and owes.

Bank base rate

The Bank of England sets a basic rate of interest to determine the cost of borrowing. When it rises, the cost of borrowing increases, but savers usually benefit from higher interest on their savings.

Base currency

The first currency listed in a currency pair.

Basis point

Also known as a pip, this is one hundredth of one per cent (0.01%). Even tiny increases or decreases in interest rates can make a massive difference when dealing in chunks of several million at a time.

Bear market

A term for the stock market when share prices are falling consistently over a period time. The opposite of a 'bear' is a 'bull' market.

Bid/offer spread

If you want to buy an investment, you pay the offer price. If you want to sell, you receive the (lower) bid price. The difference between the two is known as the spread.

Big Bang

When the London Stock Exchange went fully electronic in 1986 and consigned all those noisy, blazer-wearing characters on the stock market floor to history.

Blue chip

Large, often very well-established stock market quoted companies, usually in the FTSE 100 index. 

Bonds

Like an IOU. You effectively loan money to a company or government in return for a fixed level of income.

Bonus issue

Also known as a scrip issue, this is when new shares are given to all shareholders, as a sign a company is in good health. They can be more tax efficient for investors than a special dividend.

Book value

A theoretical figure representing how much a company is actually worth once all its debts and other liabilities have been subtracted from its assets.

Broker

Usually short for stockbroker but can refer to any intermediary selling financial products.

Bull market

A sustained period of rising share prices. The opposite of a 'bull' is a 'bear' market.

Buy-back

When a company buys back its own shares on the open market and then deletes them. This usually increases the share price because there are fewer shares in circulation.

Buy-out

When a company's management team decides to buy all the company's shares and take complete control of the business.

C shares

A class of share issued by investment trusts, which allows them to increase the number of shares in issue and funds under management without reducing the value of the existing shares.

CAC 40

An index of the largest 40 companies listed on the French stock market.

Call option

The right, but not obligation, to buy shares at a specified price at a specified date in the future. If the share price has risen above the specified price on the future date, you can buy the shares at the lower price and then sell at an immediate profit. This is called exercising the option. If the share price has not risen, there is no point exercising the option and it expires. All you lose is the premium.

Capital

The name for a company's cash or physical assets, or the lump sum an investor has available to invest.

Capital at risk

Products where there is the chance of losing money.

Capital expenditure

What a company spends on the stuff it needs to develop its business e.g. office space, stationery.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

The tax you pay on the increase in value of an asset – including shares – when you sell it compared with its value when you bought it. Each year you're allowed to make a certain level of capital gains before becoming liable for CGT.

Capital growth

The increase in value of assets, shares, or cash.

Capital protected

A full or partial guarantee on the capital you have invested, regardless of what happens during the term of the product, such as decreases in value.

Capital share

A type of share within a split-capital investment trust that receives the lion's share of the fund's increase in value.

Charting

The art of analysing share price graphs to spot investment opportunities by looking for patterns and user indicators to attempt to predict future trends.

Closed-end fund

A name for a fund – usually an investment trust – that issues a fixed number of shares when it launches. The share price rises and falls according to the demand for those shares in the market.

Commission

The charge made by a stockbroker for dealing on your behalf, or the fee a financial adviser gets from a product provider for selling you one of its products.

Commodities

Usually goods that have been mined, produced or harvested, such as gold or coffee beans. These are then bought and sold in dedicated commodities markets.

Company share option scheme

The right to buy shares in a company in the future, usually at a discount. This type of scheme is usually reserved for company directors to encourage better performance. 

Compound interest

Interest that takes into account the effect of interest already earned and added to the capital amount. It has a snowball-like effect and can account for most investment growth.

Consolidation

Used to reduce the number of shares a company has in issue, commonly where the share price has fallen substantially. Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, did this in the wake of the financial crisis.

Contracts for Difference (CFD)

A form of derivative designed for traders who want extra leverage in share trading. The investor places a deposit with their broker - perhaps 20% of the total purchase value - to open and hold a position. But that margin goes up and down in line with the rise and fall in value of the share. If an investment performs well, the returns will be higher; if they perform badly, the broker will require more margin payments, which must be paid in cash.

Contract note

Confirmation of your share deal.

Corporate bond

The name for a bond issued by a public company.

Corporation tax

A tax charged on the profits of a UK company. 

Currency pair

A quotation of two currencies, with the value of one quoted against the other.

DAX 30

The index of the biggest 30 companies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany.

Day trading

Buying and selling shares during the day in the hope of making a quick profit from short-term fluctuations in share prices. Most day traders do not hold shares overnight.

Debenture stock

A type of bond that is secured on the company's assets. This means that if the company goes bust, debenture holders are more likely to get their money back as any assets will go to them first.

Deferred shares

A class of ordinary share that receives no dividend either for a set period or until the ordinary share dividend reaches a certain level.

Deflation

The opposite of inflation. Intense competition in the high street and other economic forces can lead to lower prices in the shops, which can lead to deflation.

Depreciation

The fall in the value of a fixed asset over time.

Derivative

A financial contract, such as futures and options, whose value is derived from the value of some underlying asset, rate or index. You are not buying anything tangible, just the right to do so at a set price in the future.

Discount rate

Applied to a future stream of income to work out how much it is worth now. The discount rate is closely linked to long-term interest rates.

Discount to net asset value

If the share price of an investment trust is less than the value per share of the assets it has invested in (net asset value or NAV), the trust is said to be trading at a discount. The discount is expressed as a percentage of net asset value. A big discount can mean the shares are relatively cheap. If the share price is higher than the NAV, the trust is trading at a premium.

Distribution

Alternative term for the paying out of share dividends and fund income to investors.

Dividend

The income from a share investment, usually paid to shareholders twice a year.

Dividend cover

Measures the number of times a company can pay its dividend out of its earnings. It is one gauge of the financial strength of a company. Investors typically prefer dividend cover of 1.5 times. Anything below 1 implies a company is borrowing to pay the dividend.

Dividend yield

The dividend per share divided by the current share price, expressed as a percentage.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The oldest stock market index in the US, measuring the performance of 30 blue-chip companies.

Dual capital trust

An investment trust that offers different types of share. High-income shares that provide no capital growth, for example, or pure capital growth shares that provide no income.

Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA)

Used to measure a company’s profitability.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)

Used to measure a company’s operating performance before certain financial aspects are considered. 

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rent (EBITDAR)

Used to measure a company’s operating performance, especially airlines whose aircraft rent and ownership costs differ from company to company.

Earnings per share (EPS)

The amount of profit a company manages to make per ordinary share, expressed in pence. The figure is reached by dividing pre-tax profits by the number of shares in issue.

Emerging markets

Markets based in developing economies, such as those of Latin America and many countries in the Far East that have not had a long history of equity investment.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

A series of generous tax reliefs designed to encourage investment in unlisted companies.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG)

An investment strategy that focuses on ethics, such as how a company considers its impact on the environment and society, as well as how it is run.

Equities

The industry name for ordinary company shares.

Equity capital

The capital provided by shareholders, who collectively own the company and benefit from capital growth if the share price rises, as well as dividends.

Ethical investing

Investing in companies with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Exchange-traded fund (ETF)

A collective investment designed to track an index.

Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)

A meeting of shareholders usually called by a company's board to discuss special business, such as a proposed takeover or merger.

Execution-only

A type of service, like interactive investor, that simply carries out a transaction rather than providing advice about it.

Exit charge

A fee imposed on investors selling an investment.

Exposure

Describes how much of your portfolio is invested in a particular sector or geographical area. If your portfolio is largely in technology stocks, it has a high exposure to technology. 

FAANG

A collective term for top five US tech companies - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (Google's parent company).

Face value

The value of a bond when it matures, also known as the 'nominal' or 'par' value.

Fill

An executed order. Part of the phrase ‘fill or kill’, which means to carry out a transaction at the investor's chosen price, or not at all.

Final dividend

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

Final salary scheme

An increasingly rare pension scheme. The size of the pot on retirement is based on a percentage of your final salary multiplied by the number of years you have been in the scheme.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The regulator for the financial services industry – interactive investor is regulated by the FCA. Visit fca.org.uk.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Protects customers when authorised financial services firms go bust – interactive investor is FSCS protected.

Fixed-interest security

An investment, such as a gilt (government bond), debenture or corporate bond, that provides a fixed level of income, known as a coupon.

Flotation

When a company offers its shares on the stock market for the first time, also known as a new issue or initial public offering (IPO).

FTSE 100

Often called ‘the Footise’, it is the main UK stock market index measuring the performance of the UK's 100 largest companies by market capitalisation (the number of shares times the share value).

FTSE 250

The UK index that measures the performance of the 250 companies below (by market capitalisation) the FTSE 100 companies.

FTSE All-Share

Known simply as the 'All-Share', this is the broadest of the UK indices, measuring the performance of hundreds of quoted companies.

FTSE SmallCap Index

This is the All-Share index minus the top 350 companies.

FTSE4Good

A series of indexes introduced in July 2001 to measure the performance of funds, products and companies in the socially responsible investing arena.

Fully invested

When an investment trust, or indeed any investor, has invested all their capital in shares or other investments, rather than holding some of it as cash.

Fundamental analysis

The analytical method used to decide whether a particular share is a good investment, primarily analysing only sales, earnings and the value of assets.

Fundamentals

The theory that stock market activity may be predicted by looking at the relative data and statistics of a stock as well as the management of the company in question and its earnings.

Future

A type of derivative that is a contract to buy or sell shares or commodities in the future at a pre-agreed price. Futures are generally considered too risky for ordinary investors.

Gearing

The ratio of a company's borrowing to its assets. A highly geared company is one that has a lot of debt as a proportion of its total assets.

General / generalist trust

A unit or investment trust that has a wide spread of investments and look to provide income as well as capital growth for investors. They are generally less risky than more specialised trusts.

Gilt

Gilt funds invest in UK Government debt securities. They are seen as extremely low-risk investments, as the Government is very unlikely to default on its debts, so tend to be popular amid market volatility. Investor demand and a historically low base rate means they currently pay very low yields, below inflation. 

Guaranteed income bond

A single premium investment offered by insurance companies that pays a fixed amount of income annually and returns the original sum invested at the end of a specified period.

Hedging

A way of reducing the risk of losses that may occur if interest rates, share prices or foreign exchange rates move in the wrong direction. This usually involves the use of futures contracts.

Illiquidity

Describes assets that are not easily converted to cash, such as property.

Income share

A class of share within a split-capital investment trust that receives all or most of the trust's income.

Income unit

A type of unit within a unit trust that automatically pays out an income to holders.

Index tracker

A fund that tries to replicate the performance of a particular stock market index by buying all or a representative proportion of the stocks within that index.

Index-linked investment

These increase in value each year by the rate of inflation or by a fixed percentage above inflation.

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

A tax-efficient basket in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance.

Inflation

The general increase in prices over time. The most common measure of inflation is the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

Initial charge

A charge made by a fund manager to cover administration and sales costs.

Initial public offering (IPO)

A term for what we generally call a ‘new issue’, it is the share offering from a company coming to the stock market for the first time.

Investment trust

A public limited company listed on the UK stock exchange that invests in the shares of other companies.

Joint life annuity

Annual pensions payment that continues after the death of the first partner and ends after the death of the second partner.

Junior market

Another name for the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Kill

Letting a share order lapse because the price the investor wanted to buy or sell at could not be achieved at the time of the order. Part of the phrase 'fill or kill'.

Krugerrand

A highly tradeable coin minted in South Africa containing one ounce of pure gold and originally intended as an investment item.

Liabilities

Everything that a company owes.

Limit order

An order to buy or sell a share at a specific price. The order will only be carried out by the broker at that price, or a better one. If the broker cannot fulfil the limit order, it lapses.

Limited-life trust

A trust that has a fixed date by which it must be wound up.

Liquidation

When a company is wound up and its assets distributed to its creditors.

Liquidity

Describes the ease with which an asset can be converted into cash. A liquid market is one where there is lots of demand for what you want to sell and an abundant supply of what you want to buy.

Listed company

A public limited company (plc) listed on a stock exchange.

Loan stock

Bonds issued by companies that are not secured on its assets, unlike debentures.

London Stock Exchange (LSE)

The UK's main exchange for buying and selling shares in public limited companies.

Long-dated bond

A bond or gilt with 15 years or more to go to redemption.

Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)

A European Union rulebook to regulate investment services across the European Economic Area members, which, following Brexit, does not include the UK.

Margin

The deposit required to open and maintain a position.

Margin call

Notification that the market has moved against you and more margin deposit, or money) is required to keep the position open.

Market capitalisation

Sometimes shortened to ‘market cap’, this is the value of a company, calculated by multiplying the number of shares in issue by the current price of the shares.

Market maker

City dealers who are obligated to provide a price at which they will both buy and sell shares in a particular company from investors, a two-way price. This provides liquidity, which is especially useful when trading shares in smaller companies.

Maturity

Another word for redemption, when an investment period ends and, in the case of bonds, the nominal value is repaid to the holder.

Mid-market price

The price halfway between the offer and bid price at which shares are bought and sold. It is used to calculate investment trust performance statistics.

Momentum

An investment strategy that aims to capitalise on existing trends in the market, capturing the value of so-called 'hot' stocks.

Monetary Policy Committee

The Bank of England’s committee of financial experts, which meets each month to decide whether or not to raise interest rates.

Money market fund

A mutual fund that invests in very safe and very liquid short-term assets, such as cash. They pay paltry returns below inflation, so your money loses value over time, in real terms. Some investors use them as an alternative to a bank savings account because they offer diversification and the money is easily accessed.

Money purchase scheme

A type of pension scheme that builds up a pot of cash used to buy an annuity on retirement. Personal pensions work on this basis as do many company pension schemes.

Mutual funds

Collective investments that pool investors' money which the fund manager uses to buy shares in other companies. Unlike investment trusts, they are not quoted on the stock exchange and cannot borrow money for further investment.

NASDAQ

The National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations system is the second-largest stock exchange in the US, specialising in high-tech and internet-related companies.

Net asset value (NAV)

The market value of an investment trust's underlying assets, i.e. the investments it has made in other companies. This is usually different from the share price, which can trade at a discount or premium to NAV, depending on the level of investor demand for those shares.

Net yield

The return on an investment after tax has been deducted.

Net tangible asset value (NTAV)

A company’s value based on tangible assets, such as property and equipment, but minus liabilities and intangible assets, such as copyrights and patents.

New issue

A company that is floated on the stock market for the first time, also known as an initial public offering (IPO).

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The largest and oldest US stock exchange.

Nominal value

Bonds are given a nominal value when they are issued, which is the value they will have when they mature/are redeemed at the end of their lives.

Nominee account

An account that a stockbroker sets up to hold shares on your behalf.

Occupational pension scheme

Another term for a workplace pension, in which you and your employer contribute.

Offer price

The price at which you buy shares or units.

Ongoing charges figure (OCF)

The annual cost of investing in a fund, expressed as a percentage of the value of your investment. Trading costs are not included, so the true annual cost will be higher than the stated OCF.

Open-ended fund

Investment funds, such as unit trusts, that have a variable number of units in issue each day. An investment trust, on the other hand, is closed-ended, meaning it has a fixed number of shares.

Open-Ended Investment Company (OEIC)

A type of investment fund gradually replacing unit trusts. The main differences are that they quote a single price rather than a bid/offer spread, and they have a company structure.

Operating profit

A company’s profit, before interest and tax have been deducted.

Option

The contractual right, but not obligation, to buy or sell an investment for a specified price within a set period of time in the future. The right to buy is a 'call' and the right to sell is called a 'put'.

Order

An intent to buy or sell a security.

Passive fund

A style of management associated with mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) where a fund's portfolio mirrors a market index rather than being actively managed by a fund manager.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending

A method of lending that cuts out the middleman, i.e. the bank. P2P websites match people or companies looking to borrow with those who have money to lend for a good return. As ever, it has risks but is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Penny shares

Shares in companies that have a low market capitalisation, whose price is usually just a few pence.

Pooled funds

Another name for collective or mutual funds.

Portfolio

Your collection of investments, regardless of whether they are shares, bonds or funds.

Position

The amount of a particular share, commodity or currency owned by an investor or company. Short positions are borrowed then sold, long positions are owned then sold.

Preliminary results

A report to the Stock Exchange on the company's annual results in advance of the publication of the report and accounts.

Premium

If the share price of an investment trust is higher than the net asset value, the trust is said to trade at a premium. The premium is shown as a percentage of the share price.

Price/earnings ratio (PE)

The share price divided by the earnings per share is a measurement of how highly a share is valued. High PE ratios are typically associated with high growth companies. Slow-growth companies like utilities tend to trade on lower PE ratios.

PTM levy

A flat rate charge of £1 on all trades over £10,000, collected by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, (PTM), which oversees all takeovers and mergers within the UK.

Public limited company (plc)

A company that offers a proportion of its share capital to the public. Only plcs can be listed on stock exchanges.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

A key indicator of market conditions in the manufacturing and service sectors. 

Quote currency

The second currency listed in a currency pair.

Quote

Shorthand for share price. A quoted company is one that is listed on a stock exchange.

Rally

A swift rise in the value of the stock market or of a particular share.

Rated list

A selection of investment options, considered by the provider to be the best available to investors, e.g. interactive investor’s ACE 30 and Super 60.

Real estate investment trust (REIT)

A listed company that owns property, such as hotels, shopping centres and warehouses, and provides private investors with a tax-efficient income. REITs work in a similar way to mutual funds, trade on exchanges and must, by law, pass on 90% of their profits to shareholders.

Redemption

The date at which a bond becomes repayable, also known as the maturity date.

Redemption yield

A dividend or interest rate figure of a bond that takes into account its capital value if held to maturity.

Reinvestment of dividends

If you save regularly into an investment trust savings scheme, you can ask for any dividends earned to be reinvested to buy more shares.

Relative strength

A comparison of an individual stock’s performance to that of a market index such as the FTSE 100 index.

Retail Prices Index (RPI)

The most common monthly indicator of inflation and the cost of living. It measures the prices of a representative sample of household goods and services.

Return

The amount by which your investment increases in value after interest/dividend income and capital growth have been taken into account.

Reversal

A change in the price of a share. After a downward trend, a reversal would see the price rise; after an upward trend, it would drop.

Rights issue

When a company issues more shares to existing shareholders, usually at a discount to raise more funds.

Running yield

Current level of income/dividend payments made by a fund or bond.

S&P 500

Standard and Poor's 500 index is the US equivalent of the FTSE 100, though much bigger. It is a market cap-weighted index of 500 stocks.

Santa rally

A seasonal occurrence where, in the run-up to Christmas and over the festive period, share prices may rise, causing a stock market 'rally'.

Secondary market

When a company floats on the stock market, the initial scrabble for its shares is known as the primary market. After all the shares have been allocated to the investors who applied for shares, they can then be traded on the secondary market.

Securities

The term used to cover all stocks and shares.

Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)

A type of pension that gives the holder the freedom to choose where it is invested.

Settlement

The process of transferring ownership of assets and paying for them.

Share

A security that represents part-ownership of a company.

Share buyback

When a company buys back and cancels some of its shares. The result is that the number of shares in issue falls so the earnings and dividends will be divided between a smaller number of investors.

Share exchange

A scheme offered by a fund manager to take your shares and convert them into shares or cash, invested in their own fund.

Share split

The opposite of consolidation, a share split can be used when the price of a share has increased so much that buying just one share is very expensive.

Shareholder

Someone who owns shares in a company.

Sharpe ratio

The classic return/risk measure. Both the Sharpe and the Sterling Ratio methods compare returns with variability of returns, as opposed to the risk of loss of the original investment.

Short sell

A transaction by an investor who believes a security will decline and sells it, even though he does not own it.

Socially responsible investing (SRI)

See ethical investing.

Special dividend

A one-off dividend paid to all shareholders, usually made when a company has a large amount of cash and retained earnings, which it does not need for investment.

Split-capital trust

An investment trust that offers different types of share, such as high-income shares that provide no capital growth, for example, or pure capital-growth shares that provide no income.

Spot market

A market in the underlying investment type on which a futures or options contract is based.

Spot price

The price of a currency, index or commodity share for immediate settlement or delivery as traded on a spot market.

Spread

The difference between the buy price (offer) and the sell price (bid).

Spread betting

A high-risk bet on the future direction of a financial index, share price, commodity or other asset. You can go long (buy) or go short (sell). The size of profit or loss will depend on the amount bet ‘per point’. In the UK, this has the advantage of being tax-free, since it is essentially a bet.

Stepped preference shares

A type of share in a split-capital investment trust that provides dividends that rise at a pre-set rate and a fixed-capital value when the trust is wound up.

Stock exchange

A place where stocks and shares are bought and sold.

Stockbroker

A member of the London Stock Exchange who buys and sells shares on your behalf.

Stop-loss order

Used to limit an investor’s losses by automatically buying or selling a share once it hits a specified price. For example, a stop-loss order of 5% below the purchase price will limit any losses to 5%. While it protects against excessive losses on the one hand, it can also mean missing out on profits if shares are sold too soon.

Sub-scale funds

Smaller funds that contain vulnerable levels of shares, leaving them open to sudden outflows.

10-bagger

A stock that has ‘bagged’ you a 10x profit.

Tax year

The 12-month period beginning 6 April and ending the following 5 April applied to annual tax and investment allowances.

Tax-efficient investments

The collective name for investments that offer some form of tax relief on contributions, income, and/or capital gains.

TechMARK

A FTSE index launched by the London Stock Exchange in 1999 to reflect the growth of internet and technology stocks at that time. To be included, a company must be committed to technological innovation and be listed on the exchange.

Total return

The return from an investment calculated by combining dividends or interest received with any capital gain or loss. Investment trusts quote two total return figures: one on its net asset value performance and the other on its share price performance.

Tracker fund

Investment fund that tries to match the performance of a stock market index by investing in all or a representative sample of the companies listed in that index.

Tracking error

The gap between the return produced by a passive fund and that produced by the index it follows.

Transfer value

The value given to the pensions benefits you have built up in a pension scheme if you decide to transfer them to another pension manager.

Treasury stock

Shares, formerly outstanding, repurchased by the issuing company.

Undertaking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS)

A European Union term for a mutual fund that can be marketed in every EU country.

Underperformance

Failure of an investment to grow as fast as its relevant stock market index.

Underweight

If a company represents 10% of the stock market by market capitalisation, but only 5% of your portfolio, you would be described as being underweight in that stock.

Unit trust

A mutual fund or collective investment that pools investors’ cash and invests it on their behalf. You buy units whose value rises and falls each day. See Open-Ended Investment Company (OEIC).

Unlisted investments

Investment in companies which have no stock market listing.

Valuation

The attempt to assess a fair value for a security.

Venture capital

The business of making high-risk investments in small and young companies, often with a high technology bias, which may already be trading or at the planning stage.

Venture capital trust (VCT)

A quoted investment trust that invests in AIM and unlisted companies. VCTs are designed to attract risk capital from higher rate taxpayers by giving them tax concessions on investments.

Volatility

How quickly the price of a share rises and falls over time. A highly volatile share can generate either large gains or large losses for short-term investors, unable or unwilling to ride out market swings.

Volume

The number of shares bought and sold on a stock exchange or individual stock. This is a useful measure of the popularity of a share on a given day.

Voting right

The right of a shareholder to take part in a company’s decision-making process. Most common shares entitle the holder to one vote each.

Warrant

A risky investment that gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying stock of the issuing company at a pre-determined price within a set period.

Warrant gearing

Calculated by dividing the original share price by the original warrant price. It is used to determine the exposure you have to the underlying shares via the warrant compared with if you had bought them via a market.

Warrant premium

The percentage by which the current warrant price, when added to the exercise price, exceeds the underlying share price into which the warrant can be exercised.

Yield

The annual dividend or income on an investment expressed as a percentage of the purchase price.

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