When starting out in financial services or moving across from another sector, the sheer number of acronyms and terms can be confusing. Here is an A to Z of some of the more common terms you may encounter:

Financial services definitions.

Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, a European Union directive that regulates fund managers that manage alternative investment funds

The ‘Alternative Investment Market’ – a stock market in London for small, new companies.

Anti Money Laundering is a term that describes the legal controls that require financial institutions and other regulated entities to prevent, detect and report money laundering activities

Analyst Often an entry position for graduates in investment banks. This involves the study of companies and markets and making recommendations.

Anti Bribery and Corruption
Anti Bribery and Corruption Legislation under The Bribery Act 201, came into effect in 2011 to deal with crimes of bribery, being bribed, the bribery of foreign public officials, and the failure of a commercial organisations to prevent bribery on their behalf

Back Office
Back Office Where the accounting is done and the settlements made for stock trading firms.

Basel I / II / III
The Basel Accords refer to the banking supervision accords issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS)

Big Bang
The name given to the de-regulation of the UK stock exchange in October 1986.

Bond A certificate issued by a borrower as a receipt for a loan longer than 12 months, indicating rate of interest and repayment date.

Broker An intermediary who buys or sells securities, foreign exchange or other financial instruments.

Capital Markets
The markets for long and medium term securities.

CF10 Control Function 10
Compliance Oversight, is essential certification for all compliance officers to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence

CF11 Control Function 11
Anti Laundering Reporting, is essential certification for all compliance officers to demonstrate an appropriate level of competence

The UK institution for the settlement of GBP payments.

Chinese Wall
Chinese Wall Commonly employed in investment banks, this information barrier is designed to prevent exchanges of information within an organisation that could cause a conflict of interest or insider trading.

Collective Investment Scheme is a way of investing money together with other investors to allow for more diversification, the hiring of a manager and other benefits of achieving economies of scale

Clearing House
A 'central' body guaranteeing contracts in options and futures on behalf of its members.

COBs Conduct of Business Sourcebooks published by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority

Collective Investment Schemes, replaced CIS

Goods such as oil, petrol and metal traded on commodity markets.

Terminology to describe ethical best practice in banking and financial services (conforming to regulatory and legislative standards)

Corporate Finance
The department of an investment bank that deals with take-overs, mergers and specialist advice to clients.

CREST Co.The paperless London Stock Exchange settlement system introduced in July 1996.

Financial products whose price is derived from another product.

The process of buying or selling a security at less than its face value.

Dodd Frank
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to promote the financial stability of the US by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system

European Market Infrastructure Regulation, created to increase the stability of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivative markets throughout the EU

The generic word used for stocks and shares. Can also be used as a substitute word for 'total shareholders funds'.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires reporting to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), of financial accounts held overseas by US persons. It was designed to combat offshore tax evasion and recoup federal tax revenues

Financial Conduct Authority, one of the successors to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to regulate both retail and wholesale financial firms providing services to consumers

Fixed Income
Securities that will only pay a fixed rate of interest. Due to the element of certainty, they will never yield the high returns of shares that do well.

Front Office
The 'dealing' room system involved in buying/selling of securities.

Financial Services Authority. The now-defunct regulatory body in the UK that once assumed responsibility for control of all markets in the UK - FX, MM, insurance etc.

Fund Management
Advising on investments and managing money for corporate and private clients.

The contract which fixes a price and date in the future for two parties to buy/sell a commodity or security.

Hedge Fund
A high risk investment managed to obtain maximum returns.

High-frequency trading uses sophisticated technological tools to trade securities

Investment Banking
The term used to describe a range of activities including trading, corporate finance, fund management, private equity and mergers & acquisitions.

Investment Trust
A company whose core business is investing in equities. Known as a 'closed' fund.

Joint Money Laundering Steering Group, made up of leading UK trade associations in the financial services industry, provides industry guidance on countering money laundering practices and interpreting UK regulations

Key Investor Information Document must be provided to anyone who invests in a fund which comes under the UCITS regulatory directive

London International Financial Futures Exchange. MARGIN The deposit required from a broker by a Clearing House that determines the amount of business that the broker can conduct.

Market Abuse Directive is one of the main measures in the EU Financial Services Action Plan, which is designed to help complete a single market in financial services for the EU

Merchant Banks
The UK term for Investment banks. MLR Minimum Lending Rate. Rate of interest that the Bank of England will lend to discount houses.

Markets in Financial Instruments Directive is an EU law that provides harmonised laws across all member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, to increase competition and consumer protection in investment services

Mutual Funds
The generic term for 'pooled' investment institutions such as unit trust funds. Unit trust funds are known in the USA as mutual funds.

North American Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. A highly computerised dealing system for US technology stocks outside the recognised exchanges.

AIFs which are not UCITS schemes or Qualified Investor Schemes, their investment powers are less restricted than UCITS schemes and can be marketed to retail investors

Open-ended investment company, the preferred legal form of new open-ended investment over the older unit trust. Developed to be similar to European SICAVs and U.S. mutual funds.

Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations, and individuals

The right but not the obligation to sell or buy equities, bonds, foreign exchange or interest rate contracts at a future date but at a price to be agreed now.

Prudential Regulation Authority, one of the successors to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), is responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms

Primary Market
The market where securities are first issued.

Private Equity
Investment in shares in new companies. This is high risk yet can offer high returns.

Retail Distribution Review was carried out by the FSA to enhance consumer confidence in the retail investment market through changes to the way financial services are delivered to consumers

Risk Management
The analysis of factors that could cause loss to a company and how to avoid or minimise them.

Securities and Exchange Commission is a federal agency primarily responsible for enforcing federal securities laws and regulating the securities industries, stock and options exchanges and other electronic securities markets in the US.

Seconday markets
Buying and selling of securities after their first issue.

A generic term for equities, bonds and gilts.

A fixed interest security traded on the Stock Exchange.

Takeover Panel
The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (or PTM) is a regulatory body charged to ensure that all shareholders are treated equally during takeover bids

Treating Customers Fairly is focused on ensuring consumer protection in the context of retail financial services

UK based computerised stock trading system started in September 1996.

Buys and sells bonds, shares and other financial products.

The system into which all bond transactions have to be entered within 30 minutes of execution to allow confirmation to take place.

Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directives, EU directives that aim to allow collective investment schemes to operate freely throughout the EU on the basis of a single authorisation from one member state

Where a financial institution(s) agrees to purchase any unsold shares which have not been purchased in a new issue situation. This ensures that the issue is fully subscribed.

Venture Capital
Funding that is provided for high risk activities where conventional loans may not be available

Volcker Rule
A specific section of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to restrict US banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments that do not benefit their customers