Financial Terms
Absolute Advantage

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Definition of Absolute Advantage

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Absolute Advantage

The ability to produce a good or service with fewer resources than competitors. See also comparative advantage.

Related Terms:

Comparative Advantage

A country has a comparative advantage over another country in the production of good A if to produce a unit of A it forgoes more of the production of good B than would the other country when it produces a unit of good A. Its efficiency in the production of good A relative to its efficiency in the production of good B is greater than is the case for the other country. See also absolute advantage.

Absolute priority

Rule in bankruptcy proceedings whereby senior creditors are required to be paid in full
before junior creditors receive any payment.

Absolute Right of Return

Goods may be returned to the seller by the purchaser without restrictions.

Competitive Advantage

The strategies, skills, knowledge, resources or competencies that differentiate a business from its competitors.

Net advantage of refunding

The net present value of the savings from a refunding.

Net advantage to leasing

The net present value of entering into a lease financing arrangement rather than
borrowing the necessary funds and buying the asset.

Net advantage to merging

The difference in total post- and pre-merger market value minus the cost of the merger.

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Mortgage Insurance

Commonly sold in the form of reducing term life insurance by lending institutions, this is life insurance with a death benefit reducing to zero over a specific period of time, usually 20 to 25 years. In most instances, the cost of coverage remains level, while the death benefit continues to decline. Re-stated, the cost of this kind of insurance is actually increasing since less death benefit is paid as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases while the cost remains the same. Lending institutions are the most popular sources for this kind of coverage because it is usually sold during the purchase of a new mortgage. The untrained institution mortgage sales person often gives the impression that this is the only place mortgage insurance can be purchased but it is more efficiently purchased at a lower cost and with more flexibility, directly from traditional life insurance companies. No matter where it is purchased, the reducing term insurance death benefit reduces over a set period of years. Most consumers are up-sizing their residences, not down-sizing, so it is likely that more coverage is required as years pass, rather than less coverage.
The cost of mortgage lender's insurance group coverage is based on a blended non-smoker/smoker rate, not having any advantage to either male or female. Mortgage lender's group insurance certificate specifies that it [the lender] is the sole beneficiary entitled to receive the death benefit. Mortgage lender's group insurance is not portable and is not guaranteed. Generally speaking, your coverage is void if you do not occupy the house for a period of time, rent the home, fall into arrears on the mortgage, and there are a few others which vary by institution. If, for example, you sell your home and buy another, your current mortgage insurance coverage ends and you will have to qualify for new coverage when you purchase your next home. Maybe you won't be able to qualify. Not being guaranteed means that it is possible for the lending institution's group insurance carrier to cancel all policy holder's coverages if they are experiencing too many death benefit claims.
Mortgage insurance purchased from a life insurance company, is priced, based on gender, smoking status, health and lifestyle of the purchaser. Once obtained, it is a unilateral contract in your favour, which cannot be cancelled by the insurance company unless you say so or unless you stop paying for it. It pays upon the death of the life insured to any "named beneficiary" you choose, tax free. If, instead of reducing term life insurance, you have purchased enough level or increasing life insurance coverage based on your projection of future need, you can buy as many new homes in the future as you want and you won't have to worry about coverage you might loose by renewing or increasing your mortgage.
It is worth mentioning mortgage creditor protection insurance since it is many times mistakenly referred to simply as mortgage insurance. If a home buyer has a limited amount of down payment towards a substantial home purchase price, he/she may qualify for a high ratio mortgage on a home purchase if a lump sum fee is paid for mortgage creditor protection insurance. The only Canadian mortgage lenders currently known to offer this option through the distribution system of banks and trust companies, are General Electric Capital [GE Capital] and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC]. The lump sum fee is mandatory when the mortgage is more than 75% of the value of the property being purchased. The lump sum fee is usually added onto the mortgage. It's important to realize that the only beneficiary of this type of coverage is the morgage lender, which is the bank or trust company through which the buyer arranged their mortgage. If the buyer for some reason defaults on this kind of high ratio mortgage and the value of the property has dropped since being purchased, the mortgage creditor protection insurance makes certain that the bank or trust company gets paid. However, this is not the end of the story, because whatever the difference is, between the disposition value of the property and whatever sum of unpaid mortgage money is outstanding to either GE Capital or CMHC will be the subject of collection procedures against the defaulting home buyer. Therefore, one should conclude that this kind of insurance offers protection only to the bank or trust company and absolutely no protection to the home buyer.

Comparative credit analysis

A method of analysis in which a firm is compared to others that have a desired
target debt rating in order to infer an appropriate financial ratio target.

Priority-based budget

A budget that allocates funds in line with strategies.

48-hour rule

The requirement that all pool information, as specified under the PSA Uniform Practices, in a
TBA transaction be communicated by the seller to the buyer before 3 p.m. EST on the business day 48-hours
prior to the agreed upon trade date.

Absolute Right of Return

goods may be returned to the seller by the purchaser without restrictions.

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.


The process of satisfying stakeholders in the organization that managers have acted in the best interests of the stakeholders, a result of the stewardship function of managers, which takes place through accounting.

Accounts receivable turnover

The ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, a measure of how
quickly customers pay their bills.

accounts receivable turnover ratio

A ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by the year-end balance of accounts receivable. Technically
speaking, to calculate this ratio the amount of annual credit sales should
be divided by the average accounts receivable balance, but this information
is not readily available from external financial statements. For
reporting internally to managers, this ratio should be refined and finetuned
to be as accurate as possible.

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Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income

Cumulative gains or losses reported in shareholders'
equity that arise from changes in the fair value of available-for-sale securities, from the
effects of changes in foreign-currency exchange rates on consolidated foreign-currency financial
statements, certain gains and losses on financial derivatives, and from adjustments for underfunded
pension plans.

acid test ratio (also called the quick ratio)

The sum of cash, accounts receivable, and short-term marketable
investments (if any) is divided by
total current liabilities to compute this ratio. Suppose that the short-term
creditors were to pounce on a business and not agree to roll over the
debts owed to them by the business. In this rather extreme scenario, the
acid test ratio reveals whether its cash and near-cash assets are enough
to pay its short-term current liabilities. This ratio is an extreme test that
is not likely to be imposed on a business unless it is in financial straits.
This ratio is quite relevant when a business is in a liquidation situation
or bankruptcy proceedings.

Additional paid-in capital

Amounts in excess of the par value or stated value that have been paid by the public to acquire stock in the company; synonymous with capital in excess of par.

Additional paid-in capital

any payment received from investors for stock that exceeds
the par value of the stock.

additional paid-in capital

Difference between issue price and par value of stock. also called capital surplus.

Administrative pricing rules

IRS Rules used to allocate income on export sales to a foreign sales corporation.

Aggregate Production Function

An equation determining aggregate output as a function of aggregate inputs such as labor and capital.

applied overhead

the amount of overhead that has been assigned to Work in Process Inventory as a result of productive activity; credits for this amount are to an overhead account

Asian currency units (ACUs)

Dollar deposits held in Singapore or other Asian centers.

Asset Coverage

Extent to which a company's net assets cover a particular debt obligation, class of preferred stock, or equity position.

Asset-coverage test

A bond indenture restriction that permits additional borrowing on if the ratio of assets to
debt does not fall below a specified minimum.

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Asset/liability management

also called surplus management, the task of managing funds of a financial
institution to accomplish the two goals of a financial institution:
1) to earn an adequate return on funds invested, and
2) to maintain a comfortable surplus of assets beyond liabilities.

Asset turnover

The ratio of net sales to total assets.

asset turnover

a ratio measuring asset productivity and showing the number of sales dollars generated by each dollar of assets

asset turnover ratio

A broad-gauge ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by total assets. It is a rough measure of the sales-generating
power of assets. The idea is that assets are used to make sales, and the
sales should lead to profit. The ultimate test is not sales revenue on
assets, but the profit earned on assets as measured by the return on
assets (ROA) ratio.

Attribution Rules

Legislation under which interest, dividends, or capital gains earned on assets you transfer to your spouse will be treated as your own for tax purposes. Interest or dividends relating to property transferred to children under 18 also will be attributed back to you. The exception to this Rule is that capital gains relating to property transferred to children under 18 will not be attributed back to you.

Automatic Benefits Payment

Automatic payment of moneys derived from a benefit.

Availability float

Checks deposited by a company that have not yet been cleared.

availability float

Checks already deposited that have not yet been cleared.

Balance of payments

A statistical compilation formulated by a sovereign nation of all economic transactions
between residents of that nation and residents of all other nations during a stipulated period of time, usually a
calendar year.

Balance of Payments

The difference between the demand for and supply of a country's currency on the foreign exchange market.

Balance of Payments Accounts

A statement of a country's transactions with other countries.

Bank overdraft

Money owed to the bank in a cheque account where payments exceed receipts.


State of being unable to pay debts. Thus, the ownership of the firm's assets is transferred from
the stockholders to the bondholders.


The reorganization or liquidation of a firm that cannot pay its debts.

Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other
benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt finaning.

Bankruptcy risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to meet its debt obligations. also referred to as default or insolvency risk.

Bankruptcy view

The argument that expected bankruptcy costs preclude firms from being financed entirely
with debt.

Bargain-purchase-price option

Gives the lessee the option to purchase the asset at a price below fair market
value when the lease expires.

Base probability of loss

The probability of not achieving a portfolio expected return.

Basic IRR rule

Accept the project if IRR is greater than the discount rate; reject the project is lower than the
discount rate.

Before-tax profit margin

The ratio of net income before taxes to net sales.

Best-interests-of-creditors test

The requirement that a claim holder voting against a plan of reorganization
must receive at least as much as he would have if the debtor were liquidated.

Blue-chip company

Large and creditworthy company.

Break-even lease payment

The lease payment at which a party to a prospective lease is indifferent between
entering and not entering into the lease arrangement.

Break-even payment rate

The prepayment rate of a MBS coupon that will produce the same CFY as that of
a predetermined benchmark MBS coupon. Used to identify for coupons higher than the benchmark coupon
the prepayment rate that will produce the same CFY as that of the benchmark coupon; and for coupons lower
than the benchmark coupon the lowest prepayment rate that will do so.

Capital market efficiency

Reflects the relative amount of wealth wasted in making transactions. An efficient
capital market allows the transfer of assets with little wealth loss. See: efficient market hypothesis.

capital recovery

Refers to recouping, or regaining, invested capital over
the life of an investment. The pattern of period-by-period capital recovery
is very important. In brief, capital recovery is the return of capital—
not the return on capital, which refers to the rate of earnings on the
amount of capital invested during the period. The returns from an
investment have to be sufficient to provide for both recovery of capital
and an adequate rate of earnings on unrecovered capital period by
period. Sorting out how much capital is recovered each period is relatively
easy if you use a spreadsheet model for capital investment analysis.
In contrast, using a mathematical method of analysis does not
provide this period-by-period capital recovery information, which is a
major disadvantage.

Cash flow coverage ratio

The number of times that financial obligations (for interest, principal payments,
preferred stock dividends, and rental payments) are covered by earnings before interest, taxes, rental
payments, and depreciation.

Cash Turnover

The number of cash cycles completed in one year.

Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS)

A computerized clearing system for sterling funds
that began operations in 1984. It includes 14 member banks, nearly 450 participating banks, and is one of the
clearing companies within the structure of the Association for payment Clearing services (APACS).

Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)

An international wire transfer system for high-value
payments operated by a group of major banks.

Closing purchase

A transaction in which the purchaser's intention is to reduce or eliminate a short position in
a stock, or in a given series of options.

Common stock/other equity

Value of outstanding common shares at par, plus accumulated retained
earnings. also called shareholders' equity.

Company Acquisitions

Assets acquired to create money. May include plant, machinery and equipment, shares of another company etc.

company cost of capital

Expected rate of return demanded by investors in a company, determined by the average risk of the company’s assets and operations.

Company-specific risk

Related: Unsystematic risk

Companyspecific Risk

See asset-specific risk

Competitive Advantage

The strategies, skills, knowledge, resources or competencies that differentiate a business from its competitors.

Concentration services

Movement of cash from different lockbox locations into a single concentration
account from which disbursements and investments are made.

Contingent Liability

An obligation that is dependent on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of
one or more future events to confirm the existence of an obligation, the amount owed, the payee,
or the date payable.

Contingent pension liability

Under ERISA, the firm is liable to the plan participants for up to 39% of the net
worth of the firm.

Cost company arrangement

Arrangement whereby the shareholders of a project receive output free of
charge but agree to pay all operating and financing charges of the project.

cost of goods manufactured (CGM)

the total cost of the
goods completed and transferred to Finished goods Inventory
during the period

Cost of goods sold

The cost of merchandise that a company sold this year. For manufacturing companies, the cost of raw
materials, components, labor and other things that went into producing an item.

Cost of goods sold

See cost of sales.

Cost of goods sold

The cost of the items that were sold during the current period.

Cost of goods sold

The accumulated total of all costs used to create a product or service,
which is then sold. These costs fall into the general sub-categories of direct
labor, materials, and overhead.

Cost of goods sold

The charge to expense of the direct materials, direct labor, and
allocated overhead costs associated with products sold during a defined accounting

cost of production report

a process costing document that
details all operating and cost information, shows the computation
of cost per equivalent unit, and indicates cost assignment
to goods produced during the period

Country beta

Covariance of a national economy's rate of return and the rate of return the world economy
divided by the variance of the world economy.

Country financial risk

The ability of the national economy to generate enough foreign exchange to meet
payments of interest and principal on its foreign debt.

Country risk General

Level of political and economic uncertainty in a country affecting the value of loans or
investments in that country.

Country selection

A type of active international management that measures the contribution to performance
attributable to investing in the better-performing stock markets of the world.

Coupon payments

A bond's interest payments.


The purchase of a contract to offset a previously established short position.

Coverage ratios

Ratios used to test the adequacy of cash flows generated through earnings for purposes of
meeting debt and lease obligations, including the interest coverage ratio and the fixed charge coverage ratio.

Coverdell Education IRA

A form of individual retirement account whose earnings
during the period when funds are stored in the IRA will be tax free at the
time when they are used to pay for the cost of advanced education.

Covered call

A short call option position in which the writer owns the number of shares of the underlying
stock represented by the option contracts. Covered calls generally limit the risk the writer takes because the
stock does not have to be bought at the market price, if the holder of that option decides to exercise it.

Covered call writing strategy

A strategy that involves writing a call option on securities that the investor
owns in his or her portfolio. See covered or hedge option strategies.

Covered interest arbitrage

A portfolio manager invests dollars in an instrument denominated in a foreign
currency and hedges his resulting foreign exchange risk by selling the proceeds of the investment forward for

Covered or hedge option strategies

Strategies that involve a position in an option as well as a position in the
underlying stock, designed so that one position will help offset any unfavorable price movement in the other,
including covered call writing and protective put buying. Related: naked strategies

Covered Put

A put option position in which the option writer also is short the corresponding stock or has
deposited, in a cash account, cash or cash equivalents equal to the exercise of the option. This limits the
option writer's risk because money or stock is already set aside. In the event that the holder of the put option
decides to exercise the option, the writer's risk is more limited than it would be on an uncovered or naked put


Purchases of goods or services from suppliers on credit to whom the debt is not yet paid. Or a
term used in the Balance Sheet to denote current liabilities.

Crossover rate

The return at which two alternative projects have the same net present value.

Cumulative probability distribution

A function that shows the probability that the random variable will
attain a value less than or equal to each value that the random variable can take on.

Current liability

This is typically the accounts payable, short-term notes payable, and
accrued expense accounts on the balance sheet, or any other liabilities that are
expected to be liquidated within a short time interval.

Current Tax Payment Act of 1943

A federal Act requiring employers to withhold income taxes from employee pay.

Date of payment

Date dividend checks are mailed.

Debt service

Interest payment plus repayments of principal to creditors, that is, retirement of debt.

Debt-service coverage ratio

Earnings before interest and income taxes plus one-third rental charges, divided
by interest expense plus one-third rental charges plus the quantity of principal repayments divided by one
minus the tax rate.

Debt service parity approach

An analysis wherein the alternatives under consideration will provide the firm
with the exact same schedule of after-tax debt payments (including both interest and principal).

defective unit

a unit that has been rejected at a control inspection
point for failure to meet appropriate standards of
quality or designated product specifications; can be economically
reworked and sold through normal distribution channels

Deferred Tax Liability

Future tax obligation that results from the origination of a temporary
difference that causes pretax book income to exceed taxable income.

Delivery versus payment

A transaction in which the buyer's payment for securities is due at the time of
delivery (usually to a bank acting as agent for the buyer) upon receipt of the securities. The payment may be
made by bank wire, check, or direct credit to an account.

Depository Trust Company (DTC)

DTC is a user-owned securities depository which accepts deposits of
eligible securities for custody, executes book-entry deliveries and records book-entry pledges of securities in
its custody, and provides for withdrawals of securities from its custody.

design for manufacturability (DFM)

a process that is part of the project management of a new product; concerned with finding optimal solutions to minimizing product failures
and other adversities in the delivery of a new product
to customers

Direct stock-purchase programs

The purchase by investors of securities directly from the issuer.


Inability to work due to injury or sickness.

Disability Insurance

Insurance that pays you an ongoing income if you become disabled and are unable to pursue employment or business activities. There are limits to how much you can receive based on your pre-disability earnings. Rates will vary based on occupational duties and length of time in a particular industry. This kind of coverage has a waiting period before you can begin collecting benefits, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. The benefit paying period also varies from 2 years to age 65. A short waiting period will cost more that a longer waiting period. As well, a long benefit paying period will cost more than a short benefit paying period.

Disability Insurance (Credit Insurance)

Group Insurance designed to cover monthly obligations due to a borrower being unable to work due to sickness or injury.







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