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Definition of Rule

Rule Image 1


See monetarist rule.

Related Terms:

Administrative pricing rules

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

Basic IRR rule

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

Discounted payback period rule

An investment decision rule in which the cash flows are discounted at an
interest rate and the payback rule is applied on these discounted cash flows.

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.

Multirule system

A technical trading strategy that combines mechanical rules, such as the CRISMA
(cumulative volume, relative strength, moving average) Trading System of Pruitt and White.

Net present value rule

An investment is worth making if it has a positive NPV. Projects with negative NPVs
should be rejected.

Rule 144a

SEC rule allowing qualified institutional buyers to buy and trade unregistered securities.

Rule Image 2

Rule 415

rule enacted in 1982 that permits firms to file shelf registration statements.

Tick-test rules

SEC-imposed restrictions on when a short sale may be executed, intended to prevent investors
from destabilizing the price of a stock when the market price is falling. A short sale can be made only when either
1) the sale price of the particular stock is higher than the last trade price (referred to as an uptick trade) or
2) if there is no change in the last trade price of the particular stock, the previous trade price must be
higher than the trade price that preceded it (referred to as a zero uptick).

Variance rule

Specifies the permitted minimum or maximum quantity of securities that can be delivered to
satisfy a TBA trade. For Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, and Feddie Mac pass-through securities, the accepted
variance is plus or minus 2.499999 percent per million of the par value of the TBA quantity.

Monetarist Rule

Proposal that the money supply be increased at a steady rate equal approximately to the real rate of growth of the economy. Contrast with discretionary policy.

Policy Rule

A formula for determining policy. Contrast with discretionary policy.

Rules-versus-Discretion Debate

Argument about whether policy authorities should be allowed to undertake discretionary policy action as they see fit or should be replaced by robots programmed to set policy by following specific formulas. See discretionary policy, policy rule.

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.

Rule of 72

This is a very important rule to know. The rule is that the number 72 divided by the rate of return of your investment equals the number of years it takes for your investment to double.
For example
* At 1% your money will double in 72 years.
* At 2% your money will double in 36 years.
* At 3% your money will double in 24 years.
* At 4% your money will double in 18 years.
* At 5% your money will double in 14.4 years.
* At 6% your money will double in 12 years.
* At 7% your money will double in 10.3 years.
* At 8% your money will double in 9 years.
* At 9% your money will double in 8 years.
* At 10% your money will double in 7.2 years.

Absolute priority

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

Annual report

Yearly record of a publicly held company's financial condition. It includes a description of the
firm's operations, its balance sheet and income statement. SEC rules require that it be distributed to all
shareholders. A more detailed version is called a 10-K.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

An international bank headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, which
serves as a forum for monetary cooperation among several European central banks, the Bank of Japan, and the
U.S. Federal Reserve System. Founded in 1930 to handle the German payment of World War I reparations, it
now monitors and collects data on international banking activity and promulgates rules concerning
international bank regulation.

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.

Concession agreement

An understanding between a company and the host government that specifies the
rules under which the company can operate locally.

Conversion factors

rules set by the Chicago Board of Trade for determining the invoice price of each
acceptable deliverable Treasury issue against the Treasury Bond futures contract.

Cumulative Translation Adjustment (CTA) account

An entry in a translated balance sheet in which gains
and/or losses from translation have been accumulated over a period of years. The CTA account is required
under the FASB No. 52 rule.

Double-dip lease

A cross-border lease in which the disparate rules of the lessor's and lessee's countries let
both parties be treated as the owner of the leased equipment for tax purposes.


A rule that stipulates when a security should be bought or sold according to past price action.

Futures commission merchant

A firm or person engaged in soliciting or accepting and handling orders for
the purchase or sale of futures contracts, subject to the rules of a futures exchange and, who, in connection
with such solicitation or acceptance of orders, accepts any money or securities to margin any resulting trades
or contracts. The FCM must be licensed by the CFTC. Related: commission house , omnibus account

Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP)

A technical accounting term that encompasses the
conventions, rules, and procedures necessary to define accepted accounting practice at a particular time.

Last trading day

The final day under an exchange's rules during which trading may take place in a particular
futures or options contract. Contracts outstanding at the end of the last trading day must be settled by delivery
of underlying physical commodities or financial instruments, or by agreement for monetary settlement
depending upon futures contract specifications.

Law of one price

An economic rule stating that a given security must have the same price regardless of the
means by which one goes about creating that security. This implies that if the payoff of a security can be
synthetically created by a package of other securities, the price of the package and the price of the security
whose payoff it replicates must be equal.

Legal investments

Investments that a regulated entity is permitted to make under the rules and regulations
that govern its investing.

Margin account (Stocks)

A leverageable account in which stocks can be purchased for a combination of
cash and a loan. The loan in the margin account is collateralized by the stock and, if the value of the stock
drops sufficiently, the owner will be asked to either put in more cash, or sell a portion of the stock. Margin
rules are federally regulated, but margin requirements and interest may vary among broker/dealers.

Maximum price fluctuation

The maximum amount the contract price can change, up or down, during one
trading session, as fixed by exchange rules in the contract specification. Related: limit price.

Organized exchange

A securities marketplace wherein purchasers and sellers regularly gather to trade
securities according to the formal rules adopted by the exchange.

Separation theorem

The value of an investment to an individual is not dependent on consumption
preferences. All investors will want to accept or reject the same investment projects by using the NPV rule,
regardless of personal preference.

Stockholder's books

Set of books kept by firm management for its annual report that follows Financial
Accounting Standards Board rules. The tax books follow IRS tax rules.

Tax books

Set of books kept by a firm's management for the IRS that follows IRS rules. The stockholder's
books follow Financial Accounting Standards Board rules.

Technical analysts

Also called chartists or technicians, analysts who use mechanical rules to detect changes
in the supply of and demand for a stock and capitalize on the expected change.

12b-1 funds

Mutual funds that do not charge an upfront or back-end commission, but instead take out up to
1.25% of average daily fund assets each year to cover the costs of selling and marketing shares, an
arrangement allowed by the SEC's rule 12b-I (passed in 1980).

Uptick trade

Related:Tick-test rules

Zero uptick

Related: tick-test rules.

Economic Value Added (EVA)

Operating profit, adjusted to remove distortions caused by certain accounting rules, less a charge
to cover the cost of capital invested in the business.

current ratio

Calculated to assess the short-term solvency, or debt-paying
ability of a business, it equals total current assets divided by total current
liabilities. Some businesses remain solvent with a relatively low current
ratio; others could be in trouble with an apparently good current ratio.
The general rule is that the current ratio should be 2:1 or higher, but
please take this with a grain of salt, because current ratios vary widely
from industry to industry.

financial reports and statements

Financial means having to do with
money and economic wealth. Statement means a formal presentation.
Financial reports are printed and a copy is sent to each owner and each
major lender of the business. Most public corporations make their financial
reports available on a web site, so all or part of the financial report
can be downloaded by anyone. Businesses prepare three primary financial
statements: the statement of financial condition, or balance sheet;
the statement of cash flows; and the income statement. These three key
financial statements constitute the core of the periodic financial reports
that are distributed outside a business to its shareowners and lenders.
Financial reports also include footnotes to the financial statements and
much other information. Financial statements are prepared according to
generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which are the authoritative
rules that govern the measurement of net income and the reporting
of profit-making activities, financial condition, and cash flows.
Internal financial statements, although based on the same profit
accounting methods, report more information to managers for decision
making and control. Sometimes, financial statements are called simply

generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

This important term
refers to the body of authoritative rules for measuring profit and preparing
financial statements that are included in financial reports by a business
to its outside shareowners and lenders. The development of these
guidelines has been evolving for more than 70 years. Congress passed a
law in 1934 that bestowed primary jurisdiction over financial reporting
by publicly owned businesses to the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC). But the SEC has largely left the development of GAAP to the
private sector. Presently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is
the primary (but not the only) authoritative body that makes pronouncements
on GAAP. One caution: GAAP are like a movable feast. New rules
are issued fairly frequently, old rules are amended from time to time,
and some rules established years ago are discarded on occasion. Professional
accountants have a heck of time keeping up with GAAP, that’s for
sure. Also, new GAAP rules sometimes have the effect of closing the barn
door after the horse has left. Accounting abuses occur, and only then,
after the damage has been done, are new rules issued to prevent such
abuses in the future.

inventory write-down

Refers to making an entry, usually at the close of a
period, to decrease the cost value of the inventories asset account in
order to recognize the lost value of products that cannot be sold at their
normal markups or will be sold below cost. A business compares the
recorded cost of products held in inventory against the sales value of the
products. Based on the lower-of-cost-or-market rule, an entry is made to
record the inventory write-down as an expense.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The federal agency that
oversees the issuance of and trading in securities of public businesses.
The SEC has broad powers and can suspend the trading in securities of a
business. The SEC also has primary jurisdiction in making accounting
and financial reporting rules, but over the years it has largely deferred to
the private sector for the development of generally accepted accounting
principles (GAAP).

times interest earned

A ratio that tests the ability of a business to make
interest payments on its debt, which is calculated by dividing annual
earnings before interest and income tax by the interest expense for the
year. There is no particular rule for this ratio, such as 3 or 4 times, but
obviously the ratio should be higher than 1.

economic integration

the creation of multi-country markets
by developing transnational rules that reduce the fiscal and
physical barriers to trade as well as encourage greater economic
cooperation among countries

Pareto principle

a rule which states that the greatest effects
in human endeavors are traceable to a small number of
causes (the vital few), while the majority of causes (the
trivial many) collectively yield only a small impact; this
relationship is often referred to as the 20:80 rule

Generally accepted accounting principles

The rules that accountants follow when processing accounting transactions and creating financial reports. The rules are primarily
derived from regulations promulgated by the various branches of the AICPA Council.

Lower of cost or market

An accounting valuation rule that is used to reduce the
reported cost of inventory to its current resale value, if that cost is lower than its
original cost of acquisition or manufacture.

Discretionary Policy

A policy that is a conscious, considered response to each situation as it arises. Contrast with policy rule.

Goodhart's Law

Whatever measure of the money supply is chosen for application of the monetarist rule will soon begin to misbehave.


School of economic thought stressing the importance of the money supply in the economy. Adherents believe that the economy is inherently stable, so that policy is best undertaken through adoption of a policy rule.

Defined Benefit Plan

A pension plan that pays out a predetermined dollar
amount to participants, based on a set of rules that typically combine the number
of years of employment and wages paid over the time period when each
employee worked for the company.

Family and Medical Leave Act

A federal Act containing the rules for offering
health insurance to employees who are on leave.

Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act of 1936

A federal Act that forces government contractors to comply with the government’s minimum wage and hour rules.

Antifraud Provisions

Specific sections and rules of the 1933 Act and 1934 Act that are
designed to reduce fraud and deceit in financial filings made with the SEC. The antifraud provisions
are Section 17(a) of the 1933 Act and Section 10(b) and rule 10b-5 of the 1934 Act.

Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees

A committee formed in response to SEC chairman Arthur Levitt's initiative to improve the financial
reporting environment in the United States. In a report dated February 1999, the committee
made recommendations for new rules for regulation of financial reporting in the United States that
either duplicated or carried forward the recommendations of the Treadway Commission.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

A common set of standards and procedures
for the preparation of general-purpose financial statements that either have been established
by an authoritative accounting rule-making body, such as the Financial Accounting
Standards Board (FASB), or over time have become accepted practice because of their universal

Litigation Release

Official SEC record of a settlement or a hearing scheduled before a civil
court judge of an alleged violation of one or more sections or rules of the securities laws. Typically,
a litigation release entails a more serious violation of the securities laws than an administrative


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.

Creditor Proof Protection

The creditor proof status of such things as life insurance, non-registered life insurance investments, life insurance RRSPs and life insurance RRIFs make these attractive products for high net worth individuals, professionals and business owners who may have creditor concerns. Under most circumstances the creditor proof rules of the different provincial insurance acts take priority over the federal bankruptcy rules.
The provincial insurance acts protect life insurance products which have a family class beneficiary. Family class beneficiaries include the spouse, parent, child or grandchild of the life insured, except in Quebec, where creditor protection rules apply to spouse, ascendants and descendants of the insured. Investments sold by other financial institutions do not offer the same security should the holder go bankrupt. There are also circumstances under which the creditor proof protections do not hold for life insurance products. Federal bankruptcy law disallows the protection for any transfers made within one year of bankruptcy. In addition, should it be found that a person shifted money to an insurance company fund in bad faith for the specific purpose of avoiding creditors, these funds will not be creditor proof.

Deemed Disposition

Under certain circumstances, taxation rules assume that a transfer of property has occurred, even though there has not been an actual purchase or sale. This could happen upon death or transfer of ownership.

Income Splitting

This is a tax planning strategy of arranging for income to be transferred to family members who are in lower tax brackets than the one earning the income, thus reducing taxes. Even though attribution rules limit income splitting, there are still a number of legitimate ways to do so, such as through the use of spousal RRSPs.

Insured Retirement Plan

This is a recently coined phrase describing the concept of using Universal Life Insurance to tax shelter earnings which can be used to generate tax-free income in retirement. The concept has been described by some as "the most effective tax-neutralization strategy that exists in Canada today."
In addition to life insurance, a Universal Life Policy includes a tax-sheltered cash value fund that cannot exceed the policy's face value. Deposits made into the policy are partially used to fund the life insurance and partially grow tax sheltered inside the policy. It should be pointed out that in order for this to work, you must make deposits into this kind of policy well in excess of the cost of the underlying insurance. Investment of the cash value inside the policy are commonly mutual fund type investments. Upon retirement, the policy owner can draw on the accumulated capital in his/her policy by using the policy as collateral for a series of demand loans at the bank. The loans are structured so the sum of money borrowed plus interest never exceeds 75% of the accumulated investment account. The loans are only repaid with the tax free death benefit at the death of the policy holder. Any remaining funds are paid out tax free to named beneficiaries.
Recognizing the value to policy holders of this use of Universal Life Insurance, insurance companies are reworking features of their products to allow the policy holder to ask to have the relationship of insurance to investment growth tracked so that investment growth inside the policy may be maximized. The only potential downside of this strategy is the possibility of the government changing the tax rules to prohibit using a life insurance product in this manner.

Policy Fee

This is an administrative fee which is part of most life insurance policies. It ranges from about $40 to as much as $100 per year per policy. It is not a separate fee. It is incorporated in the regular monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payment that you make for your policy. Knowing about this hidden fee is important because some insurance companies offer a policy fee discount on additional policies purchased under certain conditions. Sometimes they reduce the policy fee or waive it altogether on one or more additional policies purchased at the same time and billed to the same address. The rules are slightly different depending on the insurance company. There could be enormous savings if several people in the same family or business were intending to purchase coverage at the same time.

Registered Pension Plan

Commonly referred to as an RPP this is a tax sheltered employee group plan approved by Federal and Provincial governments allowing employees to have deductions made directly from their wages by their employer with a resulting reduction of income taxes at source. These plans are easy to implement but difficult to dissolve should the group have a change of heart. Employer contributions are usually a percentage of the employee's salary, typically from 3% to 5%, with a maximum of the lessor of 20% or $3,500 per annum. The employee has the same right of contribution. Vesting is generally set at 2 years, which means that the employee has right of ownership of both his/her and his/her employers contributions to the plan after 2 years. It also means that all contributions are locked in after 2 years and cannot be cashed in for use by the employee in a low income year. Should the employee change jobs, these funds can only be transferred to the RPP of a new employer or the funds can be transferred to an individual RRSP (or any number of RRSPs) but in either scenario, the funds are locked in and cannot be accessed until at least age 60. The only choices available to access locked in RPP funds after age 60 are the conversion to a Life Income Fund or a Unisex Annuity.
To further define an RPP, Registered Pension Plans take two forms; Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution (also known as money purchase plans). The Defined Benefit plan establishes the amount of money in advance that is to be paid out at retirement based usually on number of years of employee service and various formulae involving percentages of average employee earnings. The Defined Benefit plan is subject to constant government scrutiny to make certain that sufficient contributions are being made to provide for the predetermined pension payout. On the other hand, the Defined Contribution plan is considerably easier to manage. The employer simply determines the percentage to be contributed within the prescribed limits. Whatever amount has grown in the employee's reserve by retirement determines how much the pension payout will be by virtue of the amount of LIF or Annuity payout it will purchase.
The most simple group RRSP plan is a group billed RRSP. This means that each employee has his own RRSP plan and the employer deducts the contributions directly from the employee's wages and sends them directly to the RRSP plan administrator. Regular RRSP rules apply in that maximum contribution in the current year is the lessor of 18% or $13,500. Generally, to encourage this kind of plan, the employer also agrees to make a regular contribution to the employee's plans, knowing full well that any contributions made immediately belong to the employee. Should the employee change jobs, he/she can take their plan with them and continue making contributions or cash it in and pay tax in the year in which the money is taken into income.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Canada)

Commonly referred to as an RRSP, this is a tax sheltered and tax deferred savings plan recognized by the Federal and Provincial tax authorities, whereby deposits are fully tax deductable in the year of deposit and fully taxable in the year of receipt. The ability to defer taxes on RRSP earnings allows one to save much faster than is ordinarily possible. The new rules which apply to RRSP's are that the holder of such a plan must convert it into income by the end of the year in which the holder turns age 69. The choices for conversion are to simply cash it in an pay full tax in the year of receipt, convert it to a RRIF and take a varying stream of income, paying tax on the amount received annually until the income is exhausted, or converting it into an annuity with guaranteed payments for a chosen number of years, again paying tax each year on moneys received.
If you are currently 69 years of age, you may still contribute to your own RRSP until December 31st of this year and realize a tax deduction on this year's income. You must also, however, make provisions before December 31st of the year for converting your RRSP into either a RRIF or an annuity, otherwise, the full balance of your RRSP becomes taxable on January 1 of the following year. If you are older than age 69, still have earned income, and have a younger spouse, you may continue to contribute to a spousal RRSP until that spouse reaches 69 years of age. Contributions would be based on your own contribution level and are deducted from your taxable income.

Accounting Policies

The principles, bases, conventions, rules and procedures adopted by management in preparing and presenting financial statements.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

GAAP is the term used to describe the underlying rules basis on which financial statements are normally prepared. This is codified in the Handbook of The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

spousal RRSP (Canada)

The RRSP rules allow you to contribute to an RRSP for your spouse and claim the deduction yourself. Your total contribution (to your own and your spouse's plan) is still subject to your normal contribution limits, minus any personal pension adjustment and any past service pension adjustment, plus any unused contribution room from prior years and any pension adjustment reversal. Generally, the advantage is that your spouse will ultimately be the one who reports the income for tax purposes when the funds are withdrawn on retirement or otherwise (certain restrictions apply). If your spouse will have a lower income than you when the funds are withdrawn, significantly lower taxes may be payable on the withdrawn amount.







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