Financial Terms
Agency theory

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Definition of Agency theory

Agency Theory Image 1

Agency theory

The analysis of principal-agent relationships, wherein one person, an agent, acts on behalf of
anther person, a principal.

Related Terms:


A grouping of sales producers according to region. Compare with Branch.

Agency bank

A form of organization commonly used by foreign banks to enter the U.S. market. An agency
bank cannot accept deposits or extend loans in its own name; it acts as agent for the parent bank.

Agency basis

A means of compensating the broker of a program trade solely on the basis of commission
established through bids submitted by various brokerage firms. agency incentive arrangement. A means of
compensating the broker of a program trade using benchmark prices for issues to be traded in determining
commissions or fees.

Agency cost view

The argument that specifies that the various agency costs create a complex environment in
which total agency costs are at a minimum with some, but less than 100%, debt financing.

Agency costs

The incremental costs of having an agent make decisions for a principal.

Agency pass-throughs

Mortgage pass-through securities whose principal and interest payments are
guaranteed by government agencies, such as the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae"), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") and Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae").

Agency problem

Conflicts of interest among stockholders, bondholders, and managers.

Agency Theory Image 2

agency problems

Conflicts of interest between the firm’s owners and managers.

Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT)

An alternative model to the capital asset pricing model developed by
Stephen Ross and based purely on arbitrage arguments.

Bubble theory

Security prices sometimes move wildly above their true values.

expectations theory of exchange rates

theory that expected spot exchange rate equals the forward rate.

Federal agency securities

Securities issued by corporations and agencies created by the U.S. government,
such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and Ginnie Mae.

Fiscal agency agreement

An alternative to a bond trust deed. Unlike the trustee, the fiscal agent acts as an
agent of the borrower.

Liquidity theory of the term structure

A biased expectations theory that asserts that the implied forward
rates will not be a pure estimate of the market's expectations of future interest rates because they embody a
liquidity premium.

Local expectations theory

A form of the pure expectations theory which suggests that the returns on bonds
of different maturities will be the same over a short-term investment horizon.

Market segmentation theory or preferred habitat theory

A biased expectations theory that asserts that the
shape of the yield curve is determined by the supply of and demand for securities within each maturity sector.

Agency Theory Image 3

Modern portfolio theory

Principles underlying the analysis and evaluation of rational portfolio choices
based on risk-return trade-offs and efficient diversification.

Normal backwardation theory

Holds that the futures price will be bid down to a level below the expected
spot price.

pecking order theory

Firms prefer to issue debt rather than equity if internal finance is insufficient.

Preferred habitat theory

A biased expectations theory that believes the term structure reflects the
expectation of the future path of interest rates as well as risk premium. However, the theory rejects the
assertion that the risk premium must rise uniformly with maturity. Instead, to the extent that the demand for
and supply of funds does not match for a given maturity range, some participants will shift to maturities
showing the opposite imbalances. As long as such investors are compensated by an appropriate risk premium
whose magnitude will reflect the extent of aversion to either price or reinvestment risk.

Pure expectations theory

A theory that asserts that the forward rates exclusively represent the expected
future rates. In other words, the entire term structure reflects the markets expectations of future short-term
rates. For example, an increasing sloping term structure implies increasing short-term interest rates. Related:
biased expectations theories

Quantity Theory of Money

theory that velocity is constant, and so a change in money supply will change nominal income by the same percentage. Formalized by the equation Mv = PQ.

random walk theory

Security prices change randomly, with no predictable trends or patterns.

Real Business Cycle Theory

Belief that business cycles arise from real shocks to the economy, such as technology advances and natural resource discoveries, and have little to do with monetary policy.

Static theory of capital structure

theory that the firm's capital structure is determined by a trade-off of the
value of tax shields against the costs of bankruptcy.

theory of constraints (TOC)

a method of analyzing the bottlenecks
(constraints) that keep a system from achieving
higher performance; it states that production cannot take
place at a rate faster than the slowest machine or person
in the process

trade-off theory

Debt levels are chosen to balance interest tax shields against the costs of financial distress.







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