Glossary of Terms


“Administration Fee” is a fee payable to a financial services company for a service or product. All regulated firms must provide details of administration and other fees payable by consumers in advance

“Advisory Service” is a service where regulated firms provide financial advice to consumers in return for a fee

“Allocation Rate” is the amount of money that is used to buy units in a pension or other type of investment fund. For example, an allocation rate of 97% means that for every €100 invested, €97 (97%) is actually used to buy units and €3 (3%) is taken in charges

“American Option” an option that can be exercised at any time during its life

“Amortizing Swap” a swap where the notional principal decreases in a predetermined way as time passes

“Annual Equivalent Rate” (AER) is the interest on a savings account expressed as what it would be if the interest was compounded and paid out each year (instead of monthly or other period of time). Compound Annual Rate (CAR) is normally used for investment products

“Annual Percentage Rate” (APR) is the annual rate of interest charged on a loan. It takes account of all the costs involved over the term of the loan, such as any set-up charges and the interest rate. The APR is used to facilitate a comparison between different loan rates

“Annuity” means a contract with a life assurance company that will pay a guaranteed, regular pension income for life in return for a pension fund on retirement

“Approved Retirement Fund (ARF)” is a personal pension fund that continues to be invested as a lump sum after retirement

“Arbitrage” a trading strategy that takes advantage of two or more securities being mispriced relative to each other

“Arbitrageur” is an individual engaging in arbitrage

“Asset Class” is a classification of securities that have similar characteristics

“ATM” means automated teller machine

“At-The-Money Option” is an option where the strike price equals the price of the underlying asset

“Average Clause” describes a condition included in insurance policies that limits a potential claim where the asset is under-insured

“Back Testing” is a risk model calculation using historical data

“Balance of Payments” total receipts less total costs of ALL economic activity

“Balance of Trade” total exports less total imports of merchandise trade

“Balance Transfer” means the transfer of debt from one credit card to another

“Balloon Payment” means a material final payment due at the end of hire purchase or mortgage agreements

“Benefit Statement” means a document giving details of the benefits accruing under a pension plan

“Bank Identifier Code” (BIC) means the unique identification code given to all banks – internationally it is known as a SWIFT code

“Barrier Option” an option where the payoff depends on whether or not the direction of the price in the underlying asset has reached a certain pre-determined level)

“Basis” the difference between the spot price and the futures price of a commodity

“Basis Point” when used to reference an interest rate, a basis point is one hundredth of one percent (= 0.01 percent)

“Bermudan Option” an option that can be exercised on specified dates during its term

“Beta” a measure of the systematic risk of an asset

“Bid-offer Spread” the amount by which the offer price exceeds the bid price

“Bid Price” the price that the market is prepared to pay for an asset

“Bill of Exchange” a generic term for bank bills, trade bills, note issuance facilities (NIFS) and promissory notes

“Black Scholes” a model for pricing European options on stocks, developed by Fischer Black, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton

“Bridging Loan” means a loan that acts as a link between the time taken to sell an existing asset and the purchase of a new one

“Building Insurance” means insurance that pays the cost of repairing or rebuilding a property if it is damaged or destroyed

“Buy-Out Bond” (also known as a personal retirement bond) is a pension contract that can be purchased by a former member of an occupational scheme on leaving service or where the occupational pension scheme is being wound up

“Call Option” an option (not an obligation) to buy an asset at a certain price by a certain date

“Capital” means the original amount invested or borrowed

“Capital Gains” refers to any profit from the sale of an asset

“Capital Gains Tax” (CGT) refers to the tax that must paid on profits arising from capital gains; see above

“Carry Trade” practice of ‘carrying’ a short position in a low-interest rate currency and holding a long position in a high-interest rate currency

“Chargeback” is the reversal of a disputed sales transaction on a credit or debit card

“Collateral” is security that a lender accepts as insurance for a loan

“Commission” is the remuneration received by a financial adviser for selling the products of a financial   that a financial services company gives to a financial intermediary, such as a broker or financial advisor for selling their financial product

“Compound Annual Rate” (CAR) is a measure of the annualised rate of return on a deposit or investment

“Contents Insurance” covers for the loss or damage of property within a property

“Contingency Fund” is a fund or an amount of money put aside to cover unexpected expenses

“Contango” a situation where the futures price is above the expected future spot price

“Conveyancing” is the term describing the legal process of transferring the ownership of property from seller to buyer

“Cost of Carry” the storage costs plus the cost of financing an asset minus the income earned on the asset

“Cost of Credit” demonstrates the real cost of borrowing. It is the difference between the amount borrowed and the total repayments including the interest by the end of the loan period

“Counterparty” the opposite participant in a financial transaction

“Coupon” interest payment made on a bond

“Covered Call” a short position in a call option on an asset combined with a long position in the asset

“CPI” the Consumer Price Index of retail prices

“Credit Default Swap” an instrument that gives the holder the right to sell a bond for its face value in the event of a default by the insurer

“Credit Derivative” a derivative where the payoff depends on the creditworthiness of one or more entities

“Credit History” is a register of a borrower’s repayment record; including arrears and/or gaps in the repayment schedule

“Credit Scoring” is a measure (complied by a lender) of the borrower’s credit capacity having regard for the credit history.

“Credit Rating” a measure of the creditworthiness of a counterparty or assets class

“Credit Risk” the risk that a loss will be experienced because of the default of a counterparty

“Crest” is the electronic settlement system used to buy and sell shares traded on the London and Irish stock exchanges

“Critical Illness Insurance” is insurance cover that pays out a lump sum on the diagnosis of a specified critical illness

“Cross-Border Handling Fee” is a fee that may be charged for transactions outside the Republic of Ireland and/or in the non-euro area

“Currency Swap” a swap where interest and principal in one currency are exchanged for interest and principal in another currency

“Death-in-Service Benefit” is an amount of money payable to dependants where an employee dies in the service of the employer

“Debt Consolidation” means taking out a single loan to pay off a number of other loans

“Deeds” are the documents evidencing the legal ownership of a property

“Deflation” occurs when prices decline over time. It is the opposite of inflation

“Delta” the rate of change of the price of a derivative relative to the price of the underlying asset

“Deposit Interest Retention Tax” (DIRT) is a tax payable on interest earned for money deposited with a bank

“Deposit Protection Scheme” is an arrangement designed to compensate depositors, subject to certain limits, when a bank, building society or credit union fails

“Derivative” an instrument where price depends on, or is derived from, the price of another asset

“Dividend” a cash payment made to a shareholder

“Dividend Yield” the dividend as a percentage of the share price

“Dormant Account” is an account on which there has been no transaction for 15 years or more

“Duration” a measure of the average life of a bond

“Efficient Market Hypothesis” a hypothesis that asset prices reflect known information

“Embedded Option” an option that is an inseparable part of another instrument

“Emergency Fund” is a sum of money set aside in an accessible account for unexpected events such as unemployment, medical bills, etc.

“EURIBOR” the cost of borrowing money on the Euro Interbank Market

“European Central Bank” (ECB) the ECB is the central bank for Europe’s single currency, the euro

“European Option” an option that can be exercised only at the end of its term

“European Union” means any and all member state of the European Union and or any other country to which Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 applies

“Ex-Dividend Period” where a dividend is not payable

“Exchange-Traded Fund” (ETF) is an investment fund that tracks the prices of components of assets such as shares; commodities; bonds; etc.

“Execution-Only” is where a financial institution is instructed by a consumer to arrange a financial transaction in which the consumer receives and seeks no financial advice

“Exit Penalty” is an early encashment or exit charge usually applying to an investment

“Exit Tax” is applicable to any growth payable in an investment product established through an insurance policy

“Expiration Date” the end of the life of a derivative contract

“Financial Intermediary” a financial institution that facilitates the flow of funds between different participants in the economy

“Financial Services Ombudsman” is an independent statutory office which deals with consumer complaints in relation to financial products and services

“Fixed Rate” means an interest rate is fixed at a particular rate for a predetermined term

“Fixed Rate Penalty” is a calculation of the amount payable where a loan is repaid early in whole or in part

“Floating Rate” means a non-fixed interest rate

“Forward Contract” a contract that obligates the holder to buy or sell an asset for a predetermined delivery price at a predetermined future date

“Forward Exchange Rate” the forward price of one unit of a foreign currency

“Forward Interest Rate” the interest rate for a future period of time implied by the prevailing market rates

“Forward Price” the delivery price in a forward contract that causes the contract to be worth zero

“Forward Rate Agreement” (FRA) an agreement that a certain interest rate will apply to a certain principal amount for a certain time period in the future

“Fund Management Charge” is a charge payable (usually annually) to a fund manager for managing an investment.

“Futures Contract” a contract that obligates the holder to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined delivery price during a specified future time period on a futures exchange

“Futures Exchange” a centralised exchange where traders can trade futures contracts

“Futures Price” the prevailing delivery price applicable to a futures contract

“Gamma” the rate of change of delta with respect to the asset price

“GNP” Gross National Product is a measure of the latest market values of all goods and services sold to end-users

“Grant of Probate” is the document that allows the assets of a deceased person to be gathered and distributed

“Guarantor” is a person who agrees to pay off a loan if the borrower fails to pay

“Hedge” a trade designed to reduce risk

“Historic Volatility” estimated from historical data

“IBAN” means International Bank Account Number. It was developed by the EU to standardise cross-border banking transactions

“Implied Volatility” suggested from an option price using the Black Scholes or a similar model

“Initial Margin” the cash required by the Futures Exchange at the time of a trade

“Inflation” is the term used to describe rising consumer prices

“Insolvency” describes a person’s situation when they are no longer in a position to meet their financial obligations

“Insolvency Service of Ireland” (ISI) the ISI is an independent government body which helps people to deal with their financial debts and to restore them to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way

“Interest-Rate Cap” an option that provides a payoff when a specified interest rate is above a predetermined level

“Interest-Rate Collar” a combination of an interest-rate cap and an interest-rate floor

“Interest-Rate Derivative” a derivative where the payoffs are dependent on future interest rates

“Interest-Rate Floor” an option that provides a payoff when an interest rate is below a pre-determined level

“Interest-Rate Option” an option where the payoff is dependent on the level of interest rates

“Interest-Rate Swap” an exchange of a fixed rate of interest on a certain notional principal in return for a floating rate of interest on the same notional principal

“Interest on Loans” is the amount payable by consumers on borrowed funds

“Interest on Investments” is the amount payable to consumers on savings and investments

“Interest Relief” is a refund of tax that may be due on mortgage repayments

“In-The-Money Option” either (a) a call option where the asset price is greater than the strike price or (b) a put option where the asset price is less than the strike price

“Intrinsic Value” for a call option, this is the greater of the excess of the asset price over the strike price and zero. For a put option, it is the greater of the excess of the strike price over the asset price and zero

“Investor Compensation Scheme” pays compensation, subject to certain limits, to eligible consumers if a regulated investment firm fails

“Irish Credit Bureau” is a credit reference agency that maintains information about the credit histories of individual borrowers

“Irish Stock Exchange” is where stocks and other securities are bought and sold

“Joint Accounts” are bank accounts opened in the names of more than one person

“Leading Indicators” anticipate changes in overall economic activity

“Letter of Offer” is a formal statement by a lender of the conditions (including the amount) attaching to the loan

“LIBOR” London interbank offer rate. The interest rates offered by banks in the inter-bank markets

“Liquidity” is the term used to describe the ability to convert an investment into cash within a short timeframe

“Loading” is a charge added to an insurance premium because of some specific risk factor such as the health of the insured

“Loan-to-Value” (LTV) is the ratio of the amount owing on a loan relative to the market value of the asset

“Market Segmentation Theory” a theory that short interest rates are determined independently of long interest rates by the market

“Market Value Adjustment” (MVR) is a reduction in the value of an investment fund where withdrawals are sought in difficult market conditions. An actuary will apply an MVA having due regard for all investors in the investment fund

“Mark-to-Market” the practice of revaluing an instrument to reflect the prevailing values of the relevant market variables

“Mean Reversion” the tendency of a market variable (such as an interest rate) to revert back to its long-run average level

“Money Supply” the amount of ‘money’ percolating through the economy – money may be loosely defined as cash, deposit accounts, current accounts, credit cards, overdrafts, etc.

“Monte Carlo Simulation” a procedure for randomly sampling changes in market variables in order to value a derivative

“Mortgage-Backed Security” a security that entitles the owner to a share in the cash flows realised from a pool of mortgages

“Mortgage Contract” is the document (usually running to tens of pages) that contains all the terms and conditions of a mortgage

“Mortgage Protection” is a life insurance policy that is designed to pay off the outstanding balance of a mortgage on the untimely death of the borrower

“Mortgage Term” is the number of years over which a mortgage is extended

“Mortgagee” is the lender that extends the mortgage

“Mortgagor” is the borrower of the mortgage

“National Treasury Management Agency” (NTMA) is a Government agency that manages the national debt and administers the national pension reserve fund

“Negative Equity” is the term is used to describe the scenario where the market value of the property is lower that the outstanding amount of the mortgage

“Netting” the ability to offset contracts with positive and negative values in the event of the default by a counterparty

“Normal Backwardation” a situation where the futures price is below the expected future spot price

“Normal Distribution” the standard bell-shaped distribution of statistical data

“Note Issuance Facilities” a term for issuing and selling notes or bills

“Notional Principal” the principal used to calculate payments in an interest-rate swap. The principal is “notional” because it is neither paid nor received

“Occupational Pension Scheme” is a pension scheme set up by an employer to provide retirement benefits for employees

“Offer Price” the price at which the market is offering to sell an asset

“Option” the right to buy or sell an asset

“Out-Of-The-Money Option” either (a) a call option where the asset price is less that the strike price or (b) a put option where the asset price is greater than the strike price

“Over-The-Counter Market” a market where traders do not deal on a regulated exchange

“Overdraft” is the term used to describe a debit (minus) balance on a bank account. It also describes the upper limit of the debit balance that might be approved by the bank

“Participating Forward” a product that combines a forward foreign exchange trade with a put or call option

“Par Value” the principal amount of a bond

“Par Yield” the coupon on a bond that makes its price equal to the principal

“Payment protection insurance” (PPI) pays a regular payment to policyholders who are unable to work for health reasons or redundancy

“Payoff” the cash realised by the holder of an option or other derivative at the end of its term

“Pay-Related Social Insurance” (PRSI) is a contribution toward the cost of social welfare and pension benefits. It is payable by employers, employees and the self-employed. It is calculated as a percentage of earnings and is deducted at source

“Pensions Ombudsman” investigates complaints and disputes involving members of occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)

“Permanent Total Disablement” (PTD) is an insurance policy that pays out a lump sum in the event that the policyholder is considered permanently and totally unable to work

“Personal Identification Number” (PIN) is a unique code number that is used to authorise electronic transactions

“Personal Retirement Savings Account” (PRSA) is a type of pension savings scheme introduced in Ireland in the early 2000s

“Personal Retirement Bond” – see Buy-Out Bond

“Plain Vanilla” a term used to describe a standard financial contract

“Pooled Investment” (also called a collective investment) is one where many people invest into the same investment fund

“Portfolio Insurance” entering into trades to ensure that the value of a portfolio will not fall below a certain level

“Position Limit” the maximum position a trader is permitted to hold

“PPI” the Producer Price Index of wholesale prices

“Premium” the cost of purchasing a financial instrument

“Primary Residence” means a property which is a) the residential property that a borrower occupies as primary residence in this state or b) a residential property which is the only residential property in this state owned by the borrower

“Principal” the par or face value of a debt instrument

“Promissory Notes” promising to pay an agreed amount on a future date

“Put Option” an option (not an obligation) to sell an asset for a certain price by a certain date

“Quanto” a derivative where the payoff is defined by variables associated with one currency but is paid in another currency

“Reduction in Yield” (RIY) is a calculation used to compare the charges on competing investment products

“Regulated Financial Advisor” is a financial advisor authorised by the Central Bank to give financial advice to consumers

“Repo” (Repurchase Agreement) a process for borrowing money by selling securities to a counterparty and agreeing to buy them back later at a slightly higher price

“Repo Rate” the rate of interest in a repo transaction

“Rights Issue” an issue to existing shareholders of securities giving them the right to buy new shares at a certain price

“Securities” fungible, negotiable financial instruments issued by a financial institution or government agency; e.g. shares; bonds; futures contracts; derivatives, commodities, etc.

“Shareholders’ Funds” the difference between assets and liabilities – an alternative definition is capital plus reserves

“Short Selling” selling shares that have been borrowed from another investor

“Spot Price” the price for immediate delivery of a commodity or security

“Standing Orders“ are instructions given by a consumer to a bank to make regular payments out of the consumer’s bank  account to another account

“Stock Dividend” a dividend paid in the form of additional shares

“Stock Split” the conversion of each existing share into more than one new share

“Stress Testing” the impact of extreme market moves on the value of a portfolio

“Strike Price” (Exercise Price) the price at which the asset may be bought or sold in an option contract

“Sum Assured” is the amount of money that is payable following an insurance claim

“Surcharge Interest” is the additional interest charged by banks where the consumer succeeds approved limits

“Surrender Value” is the term used to describe the amount payable when an investment is withdrawn early

“Swap” an agreement to exchange cash flows in the future according to a predetermined calculation

“Swap Rate” the fixed rate of an interest-rate-swap that causes the swap to have a value of zero

“Swaption” an option to enter into an interest rate swap where a specified fixed rate is exchanged for a floating rate

“Term” the life of a contract to the maturity or expiry date

“Term Insurance Policy” is an insurance policy that pays a fixed benefit on death

“Terminal Illness Cover” is an insurance policy that pays a fixed benefit on the diagnosis of a terminal illness

“Term Structure of Interest Rates” the relationship between interest rates and their maturity dates

“Theta” the rate of change of the price of an option or other derivative with the passing of time

“Tracker Mortgage” is a mortgage that is set with reference to the ECB base rate (or similar benchmark). The interest rate on a tracker mortgage responds to movements in the ECB rate and not to general market rates

“Transaction Costs” the cost of carrying out a trade (commission plus the difference between the price obtained and the midpoint of the bid-offer spread)

“Treasury Bill” a short-term non-coupon-bearing instrument issued by the government to finance its debt

“Treasury Bond” a long-term coupon-bearing instrument issued by the government to finance its debt

“Trustee” is appointed to oversee and manage all occupational pension schemes

“Underlying Variable” a variable upon which that the price of an option or other derivative is dependent

“Uptick” an increase in the price of an asset

“Value at Risk” an estimation of the potential losses arising from inherent risks

“Variable Rate” is an interest rate that rises and falls depending on general market conditions

“Vega” the rate of change in the price of an option or other derivative with volatility

“Vendor” is the person selling the property

“Volatility” a measure of the uncertainty of the return realisable on an asset

“Warrant” an option issued by a financial institution

“Whole of Life Policy” is a life insurance policy that provides cover until death – without time limitation

“Yield” a return (growth) provided by a financial instrument

“Yield Curve” – see Term Structure of Interest Rates


MMPI will make reasonable efforts to keep the contents, herein, up-to-date and will post any and all changes to its website- The document can be found in the Terms of Business section at the foot of the home page of MMPI Limited.  MMPI is not soliciting any investment actions based upon this document. Specific professional advice, offered by MMPI in private consultation, should be sought in relation to individual circumstances – where costs and charges are discussed in more detail.                                                                                                                                                         

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