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Definition of M&A

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Abbreviation for mergers and acquisitions.

Related Terms:

ABM (automated banking machine)

A bank machine, sometimes referred to as an automated teller machine (ATM).

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)

A federal Act shielding employers from liability if they have made
a good-faith effort to verify a new employee’s identity and employment eligibility.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

A federal Act requiring all employers having at least four employees to verify the identity and employment
eligibility of all regular, temporary, casual, and student employees.

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.

Risk premium approach

The most common approach for tactical asset allocation to determine the relative
valuation of asset classes based on expected returns.

Tax Reform Act of 1986

A 1986 law involving a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

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Accounting earnings

Earnings of a firm as reported on its income statement.


A method of accounting in which you record expenses when you incur them and sales as you make them—not when you pay bills or receive checks in the mail.

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.

activity analysis

the process of detailing the various repetitive actions that are performed in making a product or
providing a service, classifying them as value-added and
non-value-added, and devising ways of minimizing or eliminating
non-value-added activities


a budgeted maximum allowable expenditure


The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on
another market in order to profit from a price or currency discrepancy.

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.


Assuris is a not for profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders in the event that their life insurance company should become insolvent. Their role is to protect policyholders by minimizing loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company where their benefits will continue to be honoured. Assuris is funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, and you purchased a product from a member life insurance company in Canada, you are protected by Assuris.
All life insurance companies authorized to sell in Canada are required, by the federal, provincial and territorial regulators, to become members of Assuris. Members cannot terminate their membership as long as they are licensed to write business in Canada or have any in force business in Canada.
If your life insurance company fails, your policies will be transferred to a solvent company. Assuris guarantees that you will retain at least 85% of the insurance benefits you were promised. Insurance benefits include Death, Health Expense, Monthly Income and Cash Value. Your deposit type products will also be transferred to a solvent company. For these products, Assuris guarantees that you will retain 100% of your Accumulated Value up to $100,000. Deposit type products include accumulation annuities, universal life overflow accounts, premium deposit accounts and dividend deposit accounts. The key to Assuris protection is that it is applied to all benefits of a similar type. If you have more than one policy with the failed company, you will need to add together all similar benefits before applying the Assuris protection. The Assuris website can be found at

Automatic Benefits Payment

Automatic payment of moneys derived from a benefit.

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Banker's acceptance

A short-term credit investment created by a non-financial firm and guaranteed by a
bank as to payment. Acceptances are traded at discounts from face value in the secondary market. These
instruments have been a popular investment for money market funds. They are commonly used in
international transactions.


This is the person who benefits from the terms of a trust, a will, an RRSP, a RRIF, a LIF, an annuity or a life insurance policy. In relation to RRSP's, RRIF's, LIF's, Annuities and of course life insurance, if the beneficiary is a spouse, parent, offspring or grand-child, they are considered to be a preferred beneficiary. If the insured has named a preferred beneficiary, the death benefit is invariably protected from creditors. There have been some court challenges of this right of protection but so far they have been unsuccessful. See "Creditor Protection" below. A beneficiary under the age of 18 must be represented by an individual guardian over the age of 18 or a public official who represents minors generally. A policy owner may, in the designation of a beneficiary, appoint someone to act as trustee for a minor. Death benefits are not subject to income taxes. If you make your beneficiary your estate, the death benefit will be included in your assets for probate. Probate filing fees are currently $14 per thousand of estate value in British Columbia and $15 per thousand of estate value in Ontario.
Another way to avoid probate fees or creditor claims against life insurance proceeds is for the insured person to designate and register with his/her insurance company's head office an irrevocable beneficiary. By making such a designation, the insured gives up the right to make any changes to his/her policy without the consent of the irrevocable beneficiary. Because of the seriousness of the implications, an irrevocable designation should only be made for good reason and where the insured fully understands the consequences.
NoteA successful challenge of the rules relating to beneficiaries was concluded in an Ontario court in 1996. The Insurance Act says its provisions relating to beneficiaries are made "notwithstanding the Succession Law Reform Act." There are two relevent provisions of the Succession Law Reform Act. One section of the act gives a judge the power to make any order concerning an estate if the deceased person has failed to provide for a dependant. Another section says money from a life insurance policy can be considered part of the estate if an order is made to support a dependant. In the case in question, the deceased had attempted to deceive his lawful dependents by making his common-law-spouse the beneficiary of an insurance policy which by court order was supposed to name his ex-spouse and children as beneficiaries.

Best-efforts sale

A method of securities distribution/ underwriting in which the securities firm agrees to sell
as much of the offering as possible and return any unsold shares to the issuer. As opposed to a guaranteed or
fixed price sale, where the underwriter agrees to sell a specific number of shares (with the securities firm
holding any unsold shares in its own account if necessary).

Big Bang

The term applied to the liberalization in 1986 of the London Stock Exchange in which trading was
automated with the use of computers.

Blend off

The reintroduction of a faulty product into a process production flow by
adding it back in small increments.
1Copied with permission from Appendix B of Bragg, Inventory Best Practices, John Wiley
& Sons, 2004.

Bond equivalent yield

Bond yield calculated on an annual percentage rate method. Differs from annual
effective yield.

Borrower (Credit Insurance)

A consumer who borrows money from a lender.

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 expenditures

Amount used during a particular period to acquire or improve long-term assets such as
property, plant or equipment.

capital investment analysis

Refers to various techniques and procedures
used to determine or to analyze future returns from an investment
of capital in order to evaluate the capital recovery pattern and the
periodic earnings from the investment. The two basic tools for capital
investment analysis are (1) spreadsheet models (which I strongly prefer)
and (2) mathematical equations for calculating the present value or
internal rate of return of an investment. Mathematical methods suffer
from a lack of information that the decision maker ought to consider. A
spreadsheet model supplies all the needed information and has other
advantages as well.

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.

CARs (cumulative abnormal returns)

a measure used in academic finance articles to measure the excess returns an investor would have received over a particular time period if he or she were invested in a particular stock.
This is typically used in control and takeover studies, where stockholders are paid a premium for being taken over. Starting some time period before the takeover (often five days before the first announced bid, but sometimes a longer period), the researchers calculate the actual daily stock returns for the target firm and subtract out the expected market returns (usually calculated using the firm’s beta and applying it to overall market movements during the time period under observation).
The excess actual return over the capital asset pricing model-determined expected return market is called an ‘‘abnormal return.’’ The cumulation of the daily abnormal returns over the time period under observation is the CAR. The term CAR(-5, 0) means the CAR calculated from five days before the
announcement to the day of announcement. The CAR(-1, 0) is a control premium, although Mergerstat generally uses the stock price five days before announcement rather than one day before announcement as the denominator in its control premium calculation. However, the CAR for any period other than (-1, 0) is not mathematically equivalent to a control premium.

Cash commodity

The actual physical commodity, as distinguished from a futures contract.

Cash conversion cycle

The length of time between a firm's purchase of inventory and the receipt of cash
from accounts receivable.

Cash Flow Provided or Used from Investing Activities

Cash receipts and payments involving
long-term assets, including making and collecting loans and acquiring and disposing of
investments and productive long-lived assets.


A statement that shows where a company’s cash came from and where it went for a period of time, such as a year.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

A not-for-profit corporation owned by its members. Its primary
functions are to provide a location for trading futures and options, collect and disseminate market information,
maintain a clearing mechanism and enforce trading rules.


A pledge of property or other assets by a customer who is borrowing from a financial institution. Financial institutions require collateral as security in the event that the customer defaults on his/her loan.


A party shipping goods to a consignee. The consignee then makes an effort to sell
the goods for the account of the consignor.
Consignee A party to whom goods are shipped under a consignment agreement from a consignor.
Until ultimate sale, the goods remain the property of the consignor.


The combining of two or more firms to form an entirely new entity.

Corporate processing float

The time that elapses between receipt of payment from a customer and the
depositing of the customer's check in the firm's bank account; the time required to process customer

cost-benefit analysis the analytical process of comparing the

relative costs and benefits that result from a specific course
of action (such as providing information or investing in a

Cost of capital

The blended cost of a company’s currently outstanding debt instruments
and equity, weighted by the comparative proportions of each one. During a capital
budgeting review, the expected return from a capital purchase must exceed this cost
of capital, or else a company will experience a net loss on the transaction.


Detachable certificate attached to a bond that shows the amount of
interest payable at regular intervals, usually semi-annually.Originally
coupons were actually attached to the bonds and had to be cut off or “clipped”
to redeem them and receive the interest payment.


The ability of the bankruptcy court to confirm a plan of reorganization over the objections of
some classes of creditors.


On your bank statement, 'credit' represents funds that you have deposited into your account. The opposite of a credit is a debit.
However, ‘credit’ also means money that you borrow from a financial lender, like a bank. A credit card, for example, is a card that allows you to access funds which you then have to repay.

Credit scoring

A statistical technique wherein several financial characteristics are combined to form a single
score to represent a customer's creditworthiness.

Current Account

That part of the balance of payments accounts that records demands for and supplies of a currency arising from activities that affect current income, namely imports, exports, investment income payments such as interest and dividends, and transfers such as gifts, pensions, and foreign aid.

Dealer loan

Overnight, collateralized loan made to a dealer financing his position by borrowing from a
money market bank.

Debt Capacity

An assessment of ability and willingness to repay a loan from anticipated future cash flow or other sources.

debt-to-equity ratio

A widely used financial statement ratio to assess the
overall debt load of a business and its capital structure, it equals total liabilities
divided by total owners’ equity. Both numbers for this ratio are
taken from a business’s latest balance sheet. There is no standard, or
generally agreed on, maximum ratio, such as 1:1 or 2:1. Every industry
is different in this regard. Some businesses, such as financial institutions,
have very high debt-to-equity ratios. In contrast, many businesses
use very little debt relative to their owners’ equity.


A non-cash expense that provides a source of free cash flow. Amount allocated during the
period to amortize the cost of acquiring Long term assets over the useful life of the assets.

discounted cash flow (DCF)

Refers to a capital investment analysis technique
that discounts, or scales down, the future cash returns from an
investment based on the cost-of-capital rate for the business. In essence,
each future return is downsized to take into account the cost of capital
from the start of the investment until the future point in time when the
return is received. Present value (PV) is the amount resulting from discounting
the future returns. Present value is subtracted from the entry
cost of the investment to determine net present value (NPV). The net
present value is positive if the present value is more than the entry cost,
which signals that the investment would earn more than the cost-ofcapital
rate. If the entry cost is more than the present value, the net
present value is negative, which means that the investment would earn
less than the business’s cost-of-capital rate.

Discounting of Accounts Receivable

Short-term financing in which accounts receivable are used as collateral to secure a loan. The lender does not buy the accounts receivable but simply uses them as collateral for the loan. Also called pledging of accounts receivable.

discretionary cost

a cost that is periodically reviewed by a
decision maker in a process of determining whether it continues
to be in accord with ongoing policies; a cost that
arises from a management decision to fund an activity at
a specified cost amount for a specified period of time, generally
one year; a cost that can be reduced to zero in the
short run if necessity so dictates


Withdrawal of funds from a financial institution in order to invest them directly.


As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.

DLOC (discount for lack of control)

an amount or percentage deducted from a pro rata share of the value of 100% of an equity interest in a business, to reflect the absence of some or all of the powers of control.

DLOM (discount for lack of marketability)

an amount or percentage deducted from an equity interest to reflect lack of marketability.

Documented discount notes

Commercial paper backed by normal bank lines plus a letter of credit from a
bank stating that it will pay off the paper at maturity if the borrower does not. Such paper is also referred to as
LOC (letter of credit) paper.

Dollar-weighted rate of return

Also called the internal rate of return, the interest rate that will make the
present value of the cash flows from all the subperiods in the evaluation period plus the terminal market value
of the portfolio equal to the initial market value of the portfolio.

EBBS - Earnings before the bad stuff

An acronym attributed to a member of the Securities and
Exchange Commission staff. The reference is to earnings that have been heavily adjusted to
remove a wide range of nonrecurring, nonoperating, and noncash items.

Embedded option

An option that is part of the structure of a bond that provides either the bondholder or
issuer the right to take some action against the other party, as opposed to a bare option, which trades
separately from any underlying security.

Equivalent loan

Given the after-tax stream associated with a lease, the maximum amount of conventional
debt that the same period-by-period after-tax debt service stream is capable of supporting.

Expected Return

The total amount of money (return) an investor anticipates to receive from an investment.

Financial Covenant

A feature of a debt or credit agreement that is designed to protect the lender or creditor. It is common to characterize covenants as either positive or negative covenants.
A positive covenant might require that the debtor maintain a minimum amount of working capital.
A negative covenant might limit dividend payments that may be made.

Five Cs of credit

Five characteristics that are used to form a judgement about a customer's creditworthiness:
character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions.

flexible manufacturing system (FMS)

a production system in which a single factory manufactures numerous variations
of products through the use of computer-controlled
focused factory arrangement
an arrangement in which a
vendor (which may be an external party or an internal corporate
division) agrees to provide a limited number of
products according to specifications or to perform a limited
number of unique services to a company that is typically
operating on a just-in-time system

Foreign exchange

Currency from another country.

Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC)

A special type of corporation created by the Tax Reform Act of 1984 that
is designed to provide a tax incentive for exporting U.S.-produced goods.

Freight in

The transportation cost associated with the delivery of goods from a supplier
to a company.

Freight out

The transportation cost associated with the delivery of goods from a company
to its customers.

Future investment opportunities

The options to identify additional, more valuable investment opportunities
in the future that result from a current opportunity or operation.

Futures contract

Agreement to buy or sell a set number of shares of a specific stock in a designated future
month at a price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. The contracts themselves are often traded on the futures
market. A futures contract differs from an option because an option is the right to buy or sell, whereas a
futures contract is the promise to actually make a transaction. A future is part of a class of securities called
derivatives, so named because such securities derive their value from the worth of an underlying investment.

Geographic risk

Risk that arises when an issuer has policies concentrated within certain geographic areas,
such as the risk of damage from a hurricane or an earthquake.

Gestation repo

A reverse repurchase agreement between mortgage firms and securities dealers. Under the
agreement, the firm sells federal agency-guaranteed MBS and simultaneously agrees to repurchase them at a
future date at a fixed price.


Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) on which registered holders receive an aggregate principal and
interest payment from a central paying agent on all of their certificates. Principal and interest payments are
disbursed on the 20th day of the month. GNMA-II MBS are backed by multiple-issuer pools or custom pools
(one issuer but different interest rates that may vary within one percentage point). Multiple-issuer pools are
known as "Jumbos." Jumbo pools are generally longer and offer certain mortgages that are more
geographically diverse than single-issuer pools. Jumbo pool mortgage interest rates may vary within one
percentage point.

GNMA Midget

A GNMA pass-through certificate backed by fixed rate mortgages with a 15 year maturity.
GNMA Midget is a dealer term and is not used by GNMA in the formal description of its programs.


When the Fed offers to buy securities, to sell securities, to do repo, or to do reverses, it solicits
competitive bids or offers from all primary dealers.

Gold standard

An international monetary system in which currencies are defined in terms of their gold
content and payment imbalances between countries are settled in gold. It was in effect from about 1870-1914.

Graham-Harvey Measure 1

Performance measure invented by John Graham and Campbell Harvey. The
idea is to lever a fund's portfolio to exactly match the volatility of the S and P 500. The difference between the
fund's levered return and the S&P 500 return is the performance measure.

Graham-Harvey Measure 2

Performance measure invented by John Graham and Campbell Harvey. The
idea is to lever the S&P 500 portfolio to exactly match the volatility of the fund. The difference between the
fund's return and the levered S&P 500 return is the performance measure.

High-Risk Small Business

Firm viewed as being particularly subject to risk from an investors perspective.

Historical cost

The original cost required to perform a service or purchase an asset.


Net earnings after all expenses for an accounting period are subtracted from all
revenues recognized during that period.

Income beneficiary

One who receives income from a trust.

Income Smoothing

A form of earnings management designed to remove peaks and valleys
from a normal earnings series. The practice includes taking steps to reduce and “store” profits
during good years for use during slower years.

income statement

Financial statement that summarizes sales revenue
and expenses for a period and reports one or more profit lines for the
period. It’s one of the three primary financial statements of a business.
The bottom-line profit figure is labeled net income or net earnings by
most businesses. Externally reported income statements disclose less
information than do internal management profit reports—but both are
based on the same profit accounting principles and methods. Keep in
mind that profit is not known until accountants complete the recording
of sales revenue and expenses for the period (as well as determining any
extraordinary gains and losses that should be recorded in the period).
Profit measurement depends on the reliability of a business’s accounting
system and the choices of accounting methods by the business. Caution:
A business may engage in certain manipulations of its accounting methods,
and managers may intervene in the normal course of operations for
the purpose of improving the amount of profit recorded in the period,
which is called earnings management, income smoothing, cooking the
books, and other pejorative terms.

incremental revenue

the revenue resulting from an additional contemplated sale


A series of numbers measuring percentage changes over time from a base period. The index number for the base period is by convention set equal to 100.
Linking money payments to a price index to hold the real value of those money payments constant.

Individual Retirement Account

A personal savings account into which a defined
maximum amount may be contributed, and for which any resulting interest
is tax deferred.


bits of knowledge or fact that have been carefully
chosen from a body of data and arranged in a meaningful way


The cost of a loan or the compensation paid for the use of money. For example, you are paid interest for deposits you make into a savings account, and you pay interest for money that you borrow from a low-cost borrowing account.

Interest-only strip (IO)

A security based solely on the interest payments form a pool of mortgages, Treasury
bonds, or other bonds. Once the principal on the mortgages or bonds has been repaid, interest payments stop
and the value of the IO falls to zero.

Interest rate agreement

An agreement whereby one party, for an upfront premium, agrees to compensate the
other at specific time periods if a designated interest rate (the reference rate) is different from a predetermined
level (the strike rate).

Internal rate of return (IRR)

A discounted cash flow technique used for investment appraisal that calculates the effective cost of capital that produces a net present value of zero from a series of future cash flows and an
initial capital investment.

internal rate of return (IRR)

The precise discount rate that makes the
present value (PV) of the future cash returns from a capital investment
exactly equal to the initial amount of capital invested. If IRR is higher
than the company’s cost-of-capital rate, the investment is an attractive
opportunity; if less, the investment is substandard from the cost-ofcapital
point of view.

internal rate of return (IRR)

the expected or actual rate of
return from a project based on, respectively, the assumed
or actual cash flows; the discount rate at which the net
present value of the cash flows equals zero

Inventory issue

A transaction used to record the reduction in inventory from a location,
because of its release for processing or transfer to another location.

Inventory receipt

The arrival of an inventory delivery from a supplier or other
company location.

Inventory returns

Inventory returned from a customer for any reason. This receipt
is handled differently from a standard inventory receipt, typically into an inspection
area, from which it may be returned to stock, reworked, or scrapped.

Investment bank

Financial intermediaries who perform a variety of services, including aiding in the sale of
securities, facilitating mergers and other corporate reorganizations, acting as brokers to both individual and
institutional clients, and trading for their own accounts. Underwriters.

Investment income

The revenue from a portfolio of invested assets.
Investment management Also called portfolio management and money management, the process of
managing money.







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