Financial Terms
Asset/liability management

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Definition of Asset/liability management

Asset/liability Management Image 1

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.

Related Terms:

Abusive Earnings Management

The use of various forms of gimmickry to distort a company's true financial performance in order to achieve a desired result.

Abusive Earnings Management

A characterization used by the Securities and Exchange
Commission to designate earnings management that results in an intentional and material misrepresentation
of results.

Acquisition of assets

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the selling firm's assets.

activity-based management (ABM)

a discipline that focuses on the activities incurred during the production/performance process as the way to improve the value received
by a customer and the resulting profit achieved by providing
this value


Any possession that has value in an exchange.


A resource, recorded through a transaction, that is expected to yield a benefit to a


Something that is owned; a financial claim or a piece of property that is a store of value.

Asset/liability Management Image 2


Probable future economic benefit that is obtained or controlled by an entity as a result of
a past transaction or event.


Anything owned by, or owed to, an individual or business which has commercial or exchange value (e.g., cash, property, etc.).


All things of value owned by an individual or organization.

Asset activity ratios

Ratios that measure how effectively the firm is managing its assets.

Asset allocation decision

The decision regarding how an institution's funds should be distributed among the
major classes of assets in which it may invest.

Asset-Backed Securities

Bond or note secured by assets of company.

Asset-backed security

A security that is collateralized by loans, leases, receivables, or installment contracts
on personal property, not real estate.

Asset-based financing

Methods of financing in which lenders and equity investors look principally to the
cash flow from a particular asset or set of assets for a return on, and the return of, their financing.

Asset-Based Financing

Loans granted usually by a financial institution where the asset being financed constitutes the sole security given to the lender.

Asset classes

Categories of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and foreign securities.

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.

Asset/equity ratio

The ratio of total assets to stockholder equity.

Asset for asset swap

Creditors exchange the debt of one defaulting borrower for the debt of another
defaulting borrower.

asset mix

The weighting of assets in an investment portfolio among different asset classes (e.g. shares, bonds, property, cash, overseas investments.

Asset pricing model

A model for determining the required rate of return on an asset.

Asset pricing model

A model, such as the Capital asset Pricing Model (CAPM), that determines the required
rate of return on a particular asset.

Asset-specific Risk

The amount of total risk that can be eliminated by diversification by
creating a portfolio. Also known as company-specific risk or
unsystematic risk.

Asset substitution

A firm's investing in assets that are riskier than those that the debtholders expected.

Asset substitution problem

Arises when the stockholders substitute riskier assets for the firm's existing
assets and expropriate value from the debtholders.

Asset swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's assets so as to
provide a better match with its iabilities.

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.


A firm's productive resources.


Anything of value that a company owns.


Things that the business owns.


Items owned by the company or expenses that have been paid for but have not been used up.

Assets requirements

A common element of a financial plan that describes projected capital spending and the
proposed uses of net working capital.

Bottom-up equity management style

A management style that de-emphasizes the significance of economic
and market cycles, focusing instead on the analysis of individual stocks.

capital asset

an asset used to generate revenues or cost savings
by providing production, distribution, or service capabilities
for more than one year

Capital asset

A fixed asset, something that is expected to have long-term usage within
a company, and which exceeds a minimum dollar amount (known as the capitalization
limit, or cap limit).

Capital asset pricing model (CAPM)

An economic theory that describes the relationship between risk and
expected return, and serves as a model for the pricing of risky securities. The CAPM asserts that the only risk
that is priced by rational investors is systematic risk, because that risk cannot be eliminated by diversification.
The CAPM says that the expected return of a security or a portfolio is equal to the rate on a risk-free security
plus a risk premium.

Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

A model for estimating equilibrium rates of return and values of
assets in financial markets; uses beta as a measure of asset risk
relative to market risk

capital asset pricing model (CAPM)

Theory of the relationship between risk and return which states that the expected risk
premium on any security equals its beta times the market risk premium.

Capitalized Cost An expenditure or accrual that is reported as an asset to be amortized against

future-period revenue.

Cash management bill

Very short maturity bills that the Treasury occasionally sells because its cash
balances are down and it needs money for a few days.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

a professional designation in the area of management accounting that
recognizes the successful completion of an examination,
acceptable work experience, and continuing education requirements

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.

Contra-asset account

An offset to an asset account that reduces the balance of the asset account.

Corporate financial management

The application of financial principals within a corporation to create and
maintain value through decision making and proper resource management.

cost management system (CMS)

a set of formal methods
developed for planning and controlling an organization’s
cost-generating activities relative to its goals and objectives
cost object anything to which costs attach or are related

Current asset

Typically the cash, accounts receivable, and inventory accounts on the
balance sheet, or any other assets that are expected to be liquidated within a short
time interval.

Current assets

Value of cash, accounts receivable, inventories, marketable securities and other assets that
could be converted to cash in less than 1 year.

Current assets

Cash, things that will be converted into cash within a year (such as accounts receivable), and inventory.

Current assets

Amounts receivable by the business within a period of 12 months, including bank, debtors, inventory and prepayments.

current assets

Current refers to cash and those assets that will be turned
into cash in the short run. Five types of assets are classified as current:
cash, short-term marketable investments, accounts receivable, inventories,
and prepaid expenses—and they are generally listed in this order in
the balance sheet.

Current Assets

Cash and other company assets that can be readily turned into cash within one year.

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.

Deferred Tax Asset

Future tax benefit that results from (1) the origination of a temporary difference
that causes pretax book income to be less than taxable income or (2) a loss, credit, or other
carryforward. Future tax benefits are realized on the reversal of deductible temporary differences
or the offsetting of a loss carryforward against taxable income or a tax-credit carryforward against
the current tax provision.

Deferred Tax Liability

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

Demand Management Policy

Fiscal or monetary policy designed to influence aggregate demand for goods and services.

Dynamic asset allocation

An asset allocation strategy in which the asset mix is mechanistically shifted in
response to -changing market conditions, as in a portfolio insurance strategy, for example.

Earnings Management

The active manipulation of earnings toward a predetermined target.
That target may be one set by management, a forecast made by analysts, or an amount that is consistent
with a smoother, more sustainable earnings stream. Often, although not always, earnings
management entails taking steps to reduce and “store” profits during good years for use during
slower years. This more limited form of earnings management is known as income smoothing.

Exchange of assets

Acquisition of another company by purchase of its assets in exchange for cash or stock.

Financial assets

Claims on real assets.

financial assets

Claims to the income generated by real assets. Also called securities.

Fixed asset

Long-lived property owned by a firm that is used by a firm in the production of its income.
Tangible fixed assets include real estate, plant, and equipment. Intangible fixed assets include patents,
trademarks, and customer recognition.

Fixed asset

An item with a longevity greater than one year, and which exceeds a company’s
minimum capitalization limit. It is not purchased with the intent of immediate
resale, but rather for productive use within a company.

Fixed asset turnover ratio

The ratio of sales to fixed assets.

Fixed assets

Things that the business owns and are part of the business infrastructure – fixed assets may be
tangible or intangible.

fixed assets

An informal term that refers to the variety of long-term operating
resources used by a business in its operations—including real
estate, machinery, equipment, tools, vehicles, office furniture, computers,
and so on. In balance sheets, these assets are typically labeled property,
plant, and equipment. The term fixed assets captures the idea that the
assets are relatively fixed in place and are not held for sale in the normal
course of business. The cost of fixed assets, except land, is depreciated,
which means the cost is allocated over the estimated useful lives of the

Fixed Assets

Land, buildings, plant, equipment, and other assets acquired for carrying on the business of a company with a life exceeding one year. Normally expressed in financial accounts at cost, less accumulated depreciation.

Fixed Assets Turnover Ratio

A measure of the utilization of a company's fixed assets to
generate sales. It is calculated by dividing the sales for the period
by the book value of the net fixed assets.

Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

an organization composed of individuals interested in the field of management accounting; it coordinates the Certified management
Accountant program through its affiliate organization
(the Institute of Certified management Accountants)

Intangible asset

A legal claim to some future benefit, typically a claim to future cash. Goodwill, intellectual
property, patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of intangible assets.

Intangible asset

A nonphysical asset with a life greater than one year. Examples are
goodwill, patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Intangible assets

assets owned by the company that do not possess physical substance; they usually take the form of rights and privileges such as patents, copyrights, and franchises.

Intangible fixed assets

Non-physical assets, e.g. customer goodwill or intellectual property (patents and trademarks).


A financial obligation, or the cash outlay that must be made at a specific time to satisfy the
contractual terms of such an obligation.


A dollar amount of obligation payable to another entity.


A probable future sacrifice of economic benefits arising from present obligations of
a particular entity to transfer assets or provide services to other entities in the future as a result of
past transactions or events.

Liability funding strategies

Investment strategies that select assets so that cash flows will equal or exceed
the client's obligations.

Liability swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's liabilities so
as to provide a better match with its assets.

Limitation on asset dispositions

A bond covenant that restricts in some way a firm's ability to sell major assets.

Limited liability

Limitation of possible loss to what has already been invested.

limited liability

The owners of the corporation are not personally responsible for its obligations.

limited liability company

an organizational form that is a hybrid of the corporate and partnership organizational
forms and used to limit the personal liability of the owners;
it is typically used by small professional (such as accounting) firms

Limited-liability instrument

A security, such as a call option, in which the owner can only lose his initial

Limited-liability instrument

A security, such as a call option, in which the owner can only lose his initial investment.

limited liability partnership

an organizational form that is a hybrid of the corporate and partnership organizational
forms and used to limit the personal liability of the owners;
it is typically used by large professional (such as accounting) firms

Liquid asset

asset that is easily and cheaply turned into cash - notably cash itself and short-term securities.

Long-term assets

Value of property, equipment and other capital assets minus the depreciation. This is an
entry in the bookkeeping records of a company, usually on a "cost" basis and thus does not necessarily reflect
the market value of the assets.

Longer-Term Fixed Assets

assets having a useful life greater than one year but the duration of the 'long term' will vary with the context in which the term is applied.


management refers to the individuals in an entity that have the authority and the responsibility to manage the entity. The positions of these individuals, and their titles, vary from one entity to another and, to some extent, from one country to another depending on the local laws and customs. Thus, when the context requires it, the term includes the board of directors or committees of the board which are designated to oversee certain matters (e.g., audit committee).

Management accounting

The production of financial and non-financial information used in planning for the future; making decisions about products, services, prices and what costs to incur; and ensuring that plans are implemented and achieved.

management accounting

a discipline that includes almost
all manipulations of financial information for use by managers
in performing their organizational functions and in
assuring the proper use and handling of an entity’s resources;
it includes the discipline of cost accounting

Management Accounting Guidelines (MAGs)

pronouncements of the Society of management Accountants of
Canada that advocate appropriate practices for specific
management accounting situations

Management buyout (MBO)

Leveraged buyout whereby the acquiring group is led by the firm's management.

management buyout (MBO)

Acquisition of the firm by its own management in a leveraged buyout.

Management/closely held shares

Percentage of shares held by persons closely related to a company, as
defined by the Securities and exchange commission. Part of these percentages often is included in
Institutional Holdings -- making the combined total of these percentages over 100. There is overlap as
institutions sometimes acquire enough stock to be considered by the SEC to be closely allied to the company.







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