The difference in spread between two bonds.
Accommodative monetary policy
A central bank policy that seeks to stimulate economic growth by increasing access to credit through low or reduced interest rates.
A business decision that enhances a corporation's profitability or potential profitability.
Uses research and analysis to select stocks or other securities with the goal of outperforming a designated index or benchmark.
A measure of active management that conveys, in percentage terms, the degree to which a portfolio is different from its benchmark.
Activist central bankers
Refers to the interventionist central bank practice of using conventional and unconventional monetary policy tools to influence the direction of the economy.
A mortgage-backed security issued by a government agency or affiliated body.
An investment strategy that invests across the entire market capitalization spectrum. Market capitalization refers to the total value of a company's outstanding shares.
An investment return that exceeds the return of the benchmark.
An investment in unconventional asset classes or strategies.
The average amount earned by an investment each year over a specific time period (assumes compounding of annual returns).
Asset-backed security (ABS)
A security backed by assets, such as loans or a company’s receivables.
Asymmetric risk profile
Refers to a case where the level of risk is disproportionately higher than the anticipated reward.
Balance sheet reduction
Refers to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s intention to sell off assets it purchased in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 to stabilize the financial system and economy.
Balance sheet risk
The risk that balance sheet weakness (e.g. high levels of debt) may cause a company to underperform.
Band of +/- 15%
Refers to the ability of the portfolio management team to increase or decrease the allocation to each of the portfolio sleeves by 15%.
See Senior loans, below.
Most commonly refers to a fixed-income investment strategy where 50% of the portfolio is allocated to long-term bonds and 50% to short-term bonds. The term can also refer to any strategy where 50% of the portfolio is in lower-risk securities and 50% is in higher-risk securities.
One one-hundredth of one percent (0.01%).
A market decline of 20% or more over two months.
An approach to asset allocation that is not tied to benchmark weightings.
Combines elements of the capital asset pricing model and mean-variance optimization theory.
A portfolio of bonds with staggered maturity dates, designed to provide a consistent income stream.
A stock with stable, relatively predictable returns, and that offers steady dividend payments.
The yield difference between two types of bond, typically expressed in percentage points or basis points.
The interest earned on a fixed-income security.
A company's net asset value.
The process of analyzing and selecting securities based on their fundamental characteristics.
The upward and downward movement of gross domestic product over time. The business cycle has four main stages: expansion, peak, contraction and trough.
The part of the financial industry involved in purchasing securities. Mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds are part of the industry's buy side.
The purchaser of a call option has the right, but not the obligation, to buy a security at a specified price from the person who sold the option. These investors agree on the terms of the option, including the price and time period during which the option is valid.
Prevents the issuer of a callable security from calling it back for a specified time.
Canadian Dollar Offered Rate
The benchmark rate for bankers' acceptances with a maturity of one year or less.
Refers to the movement of investment dollars in and out of markets.
The profit that results from selling a stock whose price has gone up from the time it was purchased.
A well-capitalized bank or other financial institution has a healthy level of capital on hand relative to its leverage level.
Capital Market Line
Graphically illustrates the attractiveness of asset classes, compared across the capital markets.
Refers to how a company finances its operations; in other words, how debt and equity are allocated on the balance sheet.
Typically refers to the net benefit of holding an asset.
Refers to the negative impact on performance of holding uninvested cash in a portfolio.
The risk that companies that contribute to climate change do not have financially sustainable business models over the long term.
The practice of building a portfolio that follows the benchmark index very closely, while claiming to be an active manager.
Collateralized debt obligation
A securitized pool of income-generating assets, such mortgages. The asset pool serves as collateral for security holders.
Collateralized loan obligation (CLO)
A collection or ‘bundle’ of corporate loans that are offered as an income-generating security. Payments on these loans are the source of the income investors receive.
An economic system in which central planning by the government, rather than market forces, determines outcomes.
Commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS)
Securities backed by mortgages on commercial properties.
The increase in future return potential that can result from reinvesting current returns.
An investment approach that goes against the grain of broad investor sentiment. This typically involves buying high-quality companies undergoing a temporary setback.
Contingent convertible bond (CoCo)
A fixed-income instrument that can, under predefined conditions, be converted into equity.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The predominant measure of inflation, calculated by tracking the price movements of a basket of consumer goods and services.
Core aggregate strategy
A conventional approach to fixed income that tends to make static allocations to various fixed-income sectors and asset classes.
A fixed-income offering from a company.
A measure of how two investments perform in relation to each another. A high positive correlation means the two investments perform very similar to each other (when one goes up, the other goes up to a similar degree, and vice versa), while a high negative correlation means they perform very differently (when one goes up, the other goes down to a similar degree, and vice versa).
Economic or market risk factors that are specific to a particular country.
The coupon rate is the stated interest rate on a fixed-income security, expressed as a percentage of the security's face value.
Covered call strategy
Involves writing call options on securities an investor already owns. Typically, an investor will use this strategy when he or she believes those securities are unlikely to rise meaningfully during the period in which the option is valid.
Credit card receivables
An investment in the anticipated future credit card sales of a business at a discount.
A credit cycle has two phases: expansion and contraction of access to credit. During an expansion, borrowers have easy access to credit, as interest rates are typically lower and borrowers face less stringent qualifications. During a contraction, it is more difficult for borrowers to access credit as interest rates are typically higher and lending requirements are more strict.
Refers to the failure of a company to meet its financial obligations to bondholders.
Issuer credit quality is assigned a rating by rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, usually taking the form of a series of letters (e.g., A, BBB, BBB-, BB+).
The risk that an issuer is unable to pay the interest or principal on bonds it issues or loans it takes on.
The total amount an investment has gained or lost over a period of time.
The risk that an investment’s performance will be reduced by changes in currency exchange rates. This risk is present any time you invest outside of your domestic currency.
An important metric that measures a country’s balance of trade. When a country’s imports exceed its exports, it has a current account deficit. When a country’s exports exceed its imports, it has a current account surplus.
Refers to companies whose earnings tend to go up and down in tandem with the business cycle.
A temporary inflationary trend that is linked to a specific stage of the economic cycle or seasonal pattern.
Securities whose prices are impacted by economic expansions and contractions.
When a bond issuer fails to make interest or principal payments.
An investment posture designed to protect against an event or conditions that could have an adverse impact on an asset class or market.
A stock whose movements are not generally linked to the ups and downs of the business cycle. The opposite of a cyclical stock.
Refers to a drop in a company’s earnings.
Paying off debt or reducing leverage in a business or investment portfolio.
A financial instrument whose value and performance is dependent on the value and performance of an underlying security.
The excess return provided by a floating rate bond relative to a fixed-rate bond.
A payment to shareholders that can be made in cash or stock. Dividends receive preferential tax treatment compared to interest earnings.
A financial ratio that indicates how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its share price. Dividend yield is represented as a percentage and can be calculated by dividing the dollar value of dividends paid in a given year per share of stock by the dollar value of one share of stock.
Represents the long-term interest rate projections of members of the U.S. Federal Reserve Federal Open Market Committee.
The amount of downside a mutual fund experiences relative to a benchmark.
The actual or potential drop in an investment's price.
Measures a portfolio manager takes to minimize loss in the portfolio if markets fall.
The possibility that an investment will lose value.
Refers to a decline in value of a market or security.
Measures the sensitivity of fixed-income securities to changes in interest rates. A higher duration means an investment is more sensitive to interest rate volatility. When interest rates fall (rise) a higher duration means a greater increase (decrease) in the price of the security.
Dynamic asset allocation
An approach that adjusts the portfolio’s asset allocation in response to or in anticipation of changing market conditions.
The acronym for countries in Europe, Australasia and the Far East.
A company's profits or net income.
Earnings per share (EPS)
A company's profits per share of common stock outstanding.
A company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
The upward and downward movement of gross domestic product over time. The business cycle has four main stages: expansion, peak, contraction and trough.
Refers to theoretically optimal investment portfolios that generate the highest returns per unit of risk.
Efficient market/asset class
A market or asset class is said to be efficient when all publicly available information on the securities within that market or asset class is reflected in the prices of those securities.
Emerging market debt universe
The entirety of fixed-income opportunities in emerging markets.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG)
Some portfolio managers will only invest in companies with progressive environmental, social and corporate governance policies.
The risk that an unexpected economic or other event will negatively impact a company’s financial positon.
Refers to a condition in which overall demand in an economy is below the level required to fully utilize that economy's total productive capacity.
Returns beyond those of a benchmark.
Exchange-traded fund (ETF)
An ETF, or exchange traded fund, is a security that trades openly on a stock exchange and represents an underlying basket of securities (frequently an index). The price of an ETF is determined by supply and demand on the stock exchange, and not (as with mutual funds) by daily net asset value.
External (government/sovereign) debt
The total amount owed by a country to foreign creditors.
Fed fund futures
Federal Fund Futures prices illustrate the market's views on the probability of changes to U.S. monetary policy. Market participants use these prices as an indication of the likelihood of interest rate changes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Fed funds rate
Refers to the interest rate set by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
First lien floating rate bonds
Bonds with floating coupons that are reset every three months, maintain the first lien position in the capital structure and are secured by company assets.
Refers to a condition in which a government’s expenditures over a given period exceed its revenues.
Fixed-rate reset preferred share
A type of preferred share that pays a fixed dividend until its reset date.
Fixed-to-floating interest rate swap
A derivative that is used to manage the impact of fluctuating interest rates. Two parties agree to exchange interest rate cash flows, one with a fixed interest rate and the other with a floating rate.
Flight to quality
The tendency for investors to gravitate towards safe assets (e.g. developed country government bonds) during times of market uncertainty or high volatility.
Floating rate note
A debt security with a flexible interest rate. The interest rate moves with a designated benchmark or reference interest rate.
Floating rate preferred shares
A preferred share that pays a dividend that varies in tandem with a reference rate.
Forced sale (of stock)
A requirement, permitted under certain contractual conditions, that a minority shareholder sells his or her stock either to majority shareholders or the company.
A way to minimize currency risk by participating in derivative contracts with parties who have the opposite currency risk.
A company’s projected or expected earnings.
Fragility-based monetary policy
Monetary policy that is driven by an effort to stabilize a fragile banking system and/or economy.
Free cash flow
Refers to the cash a company generates after accounting for capital expenditures.
Free cash flow yield
A ratio that measures free cash flow per share against market price per share.
Full capacity (economic)
An economy that is performing at the limit of its current capabilities.
Refers to the characteristics of a company (or economy) that are analyzed when valuing its worth (or strength).
The risk that a major political event (e.g. war, contentious election or referendum) may have a significant, adverse impact on financial markets.
An increasingly common tendency for employers to seek short-term or contract employees.
A major financial or other event that has a significant negative impact on global financial markets.
Global super trend
An investment theme that is expected to be a key driver of capital markets over the long term.
Global unconstrained fixed-income strategy
An approach that has the flexibility to invest in any fixed-income asset class in any region of the world.
Green bonds are securities whose proceeds are used exclusively to fund projects that contribute to environmental sustainability. These bonds are issued by governments and corporations to fund initiatives such as clean transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
The total dollar value of all goods and services a country produces over a specific time period.
An investment strategy focused on finding stocks with high earnings growth potential. Growth investors typically seek above-average capital gains.
A stock that is expected to have above-average earnings growth. Growth stocks typically do not pay a dividend, but instead reinvest earnings to fuel growth of the company.
Hard currency debt
Bonds issued by emerging market governments that are denominated in a liquid developed market currency, most commonly the U.S. dollar.
Unfavourable conditions for investment markets.
A strategy some portfolio managers use when investing in foreign securities. The goal is to fully or partially negate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on investment performance. An unhedged approach is often used when the portfolio manager believes exchange rate fluctuations will benefit investment performance or be neutral over time.
Hedge fund of funds
An investment fund whose holdings consist of hedge funds.
A fixed-income security with higher risk and higher yield than investment grade bonds. High-yield bonds are rated below BBB (S&P) or Baa (Moody's).
Refers to a company-wide perspective on how to invest and/or the outlook for markets.
ICE BofAML Option-Adjusted Spread (OAS)
The calculated spread in yield between a computed OAS index of all bonds in a given rating category and a spot Treasury curve.
ICE BofAML US High Yield Master II Index
Tracks the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated below investment grade rated corporate debt publicly issued in the U.S. domestic market.
A risk factor that is specific to a particular company, sector, market or region.
A security that is not readily tradeable.
A market or asset that is mispriced due to a relative lack of investor attention or interest.
Fiscal or monetary strategies used by governments or central banks to promote economic expansion, which typically causes higher inflation.
Large investors, such as pension funds, banks, mutual funds, foundations and endowments.
Interest coverage ratio
Shows a company’s capacity to make interest payments on the debt it has issued.
Interest rate risk
The risk that an investment's value will change due to a change in the absolute level of interest rates.
Interest rate sensitive
The degree to which the price of a security fluctuates with interest rate fluctuations.
Interest rate swap
A derivative that is used to manage the impact of fluctuating interest rates.
A debt instrument with a medium-term maturity period (between two and 10 years).
The market price that reflects a company's true worth.
A high-quality bond with a low risk of default. Ratings for investment grade bonds are BBB and above.
Inverted yield curve
Represents market conditions in which long-term debt instruments have lower yields than short-term debt instruments. An inverted yield curve has historically been a leading indicator of recession.
A corporation or government that offers bonds or equity for sale in the public markets.
Large-cap companies have a market capitalization of more than $5 billion.
A metric used to forecast the direction of the economy.
Leverage refers to the amount of debt a firm has on its balance sheet. A firm with a large amount of debt compared to equity is highly leveraged.
Financial metrics that help analysts determine whether a company is able to pay its debts.
LIBOR or ICE LIBOR (Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate) is considered a standard rate around the world for short-term loans between institutions.
A liquid security is one that is readily available for purchase (for buyers) and easily sold (for sellers) on the open market.
Local currency debt
Bonds issued by emerging market governments that are denominated in the issuing country's currency.
A low-volatility investment generally has less severe upward and downward fluctuations (measured in standard deviations) than the benchmark index.
The investment strategy of a mutual fund.
The total value of a company’s outstanding shares. Can also refer to the total value of a market relative to other markets.
Margin of safety
When purchasing an investment that is significantly below its intrinsic value, there is less room for an investment to fall.
The risk associated with investing in a broad market, as opposed to a specific security.
The tendency for prices or economic data points to return to a historical average.
A mid-cap company has a market capitalization value between $2 billion and $5 billion.
An approach that invests in securities exhibiting an upward price trajectory.
Monetary policy normalization
An effort by central banks to return interest rates to their normalized level.
A central bank policy that seeks to dampen inflationary pressures by reducing access to credit through higher interest rates.
Mortgage-backed security (MBS)
A security backed by mortgages on residential properties.
Investing in multiple asset classes.
A ratio that measures a company's financial health and indicates how much investors are willing to pay for a security.
National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)
The NFCI measures risk, liquidity and leverage in the U.S. financial system. A zero value for the NFCI indicates that the financial system is operating at average levels of risk, liquidity and leverage. Positive values indicate tighter-than-average financial conditions, while negative values indicate looser-than-average conditions.
The stated interest rate or coupon rate on a bond.
Normalized interest rates
The long-term level for interest rates assuming a healthy economy and targeted levels of inflation. The ‘normal’ level for interest rates is currently viewed by many economists and analysts as significantly lower than in the past.
Normal yield curve
A normal yield curve represents market conditions in which long-term debt instruments have higher yields than short-term debt instruments.
An industry that is dominated by a very small number of companies.
Refers to earnings before interest and taxes.
A financial instrument that allows investors to enter into an agreement where one person has the right to buy (sell) a security at a specified price and the other person is obligated to sell (buy). These investors agree on the terms of the option, including the price and time period during which the option is valid. Some options can be exercised within a specific time period (American options), while others are exercised only on a particular date (European options).
A strategy used to manage portfolio risk and/or generate yield through options.
Growth resulting from increased productivity and sales, rather than, e.g., through acquisition of a competitor.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
A manufacturer of goods that are marketed and sold by another company, or components of goods (e.g., auto parts, computer hard drives) that are used in the manufacturing process of another company.
A security, sector or market that generates a higher return than its stated benchmark.
Overnight interest rate
The interest rate at which banks lend each other one-day funds.
An overweight position means an investor or investment fund manager is allocating more to an asset class, sector, geographic region or other category than the benchmark weighting.
Par-weighted default rate
Expresses in percentage terms the number of issuers that default on their bonds.
An approach that seeks to replicate the performance of a benchmark index.
An important stock valuation metric that measures the price of a company’s shares relative to per-share earnings.
An important stock valuation metric that measures the price of a company’s shares relative to its book value.
Price-to-cash flow ratio
An important stock valuation metric that measures the price of a company’s shares relative to its free cash flows.
A type of share ownership in a corporation. Preferred stock dividends are typically paid out before common share dividends. Preferred shareholders are also paid before common shareholders in the event of bankruptcy. Unlike common shares, preferred shares do not generally come with voting rights.
Preservation of capital
Refers to the steps a portfolio manager takes to prevent loss of capital in a portfolio.
The primary market is where securities are initially issued; the issuer works with an investment bank to determine the details (including initial price) of the offering.
An investment in privately held assets, as opposed to publicly traded securities.
Stocks whose prices move in tandem with the business cycle.
Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)
A key indicator of manufacturing sector strength.
The purchaser of a put option has the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a specified price to the person who sold the option. These investors agree on the terms of the option, including the price and time period during which the option is valid. Typically, investors purchase put options as insurance against the possibility that the stock market could fall. A purchaser of put options who exercises the options in a down market is usually selling securities to the put option seller for a price that exceeds the current market price of the securities being sold.
Put writing is a strategy whereby an investor sells a put option contract to another investor. The buyer of the put option pays the seller a specific amount, known as the option premium, in exchange for the right to sell the put writer securities at a specified price within a predetermined timeframe.
An unconventional monetary policy tool used by central banks that involves purchasing securities from the open market in an effort to lower interest rates and stimulate the economy.
An approach to investing that incorporates sophisticated algorithms and computer modelling to help identify investments that meet a predefined set of criteria.
Refers to a leveling off of a security or market's price.
Rate reset preferred share
A preferred share whose dividend rate resets at regular intervals, typically every five years. On the reset date, the investor has the option of locking in the new rate or converting to a floating rate preferred share.
Hard assets such as real estate and commodities.
Real estate investment trust (REIT)
A security -- often traded on an exchange like a stock -- that provides exposure to real estate assets.
Total yield to the investor after inflation is factored in.
Refers to government policies aimed at minimizing deflation and increasing economic output, and with it, inflation. Can also refer to an uptick in inflation following a period of low inflation or deflation.
Determining the relative value of a bond involves rating the bond’s valuation relative to the sector benchmark and other issuers in the same sector.
Refinancing (repricing) risk
In a senior loan arrangement, borrowers have the ability to refinance at any time without penalty, which is what they tend to do when they see that investors are flush with cash.
The risk that the proceeds from an investment (principal and interest) will be reinvested, or refinanced, at a lower rate.
A new dividend rate for a preferred share that differs from the original or previous dividend rate.
Return on shareholder equity
The amount of profit generated per dollar of shareholder equity.
The amount of return generated by an investment per unit of risk.
Usually a reference to equities and other asset classes with a similar or greater level of risk.
Market conditions in which higher-risk assets tend to perform poorly.
The expected excess return from investing beyond risk-free assets.
Refers to a sequence of consecutive months or years. For example, a five-year rolling period is a sequence of five-year periods.
Explains how much variability of one factor can be caused by its relationship to another factor.
Low-risk (and generally low-return) assets that investors tend to gravitate towards during periods of market stress.
A pattern whereby fluctuations (e.g., in prices or performance) occur with a measure of regularity during the same periods in a given calendar year.
Refers to a long-term trend.
Refers to a long-term growth trend.
A risk factor that is specific to a particular security.
The financial industry’s sell side is made up of a variety of market participants that include investment banks and securities dealers.
Senior debt is a liability that must be paid first in the event of bankruptcy.
In a senior loan arrangement, the lender has first claim on the borrower's assets in the event of bankruptcy. These loans have floating rates that are reset at regular intervals.
Refers to the practice of using one's influence as a shareholder to encourage companies to meet a higher standard of social and environmental responsibility.
A widely used measure of risk-adjusted returns.
Shiller CAPE ratio
A widely used stock valuation metric that is calculated by taking the price of a stock and dividing it by the company’s average inflation-adjusted earnings over the previous 10 years.
An investor who short sells a security benefits when the price of that security falls.
An investment approach that builds a fund around a specific factor such as volatility or price momentum.
Small-cap companies have a market capitalization of $300 million to $2 billion.
Socially responsible investing (SRI)
The practice of investing with a view to both social/environmental responsibility and financial gain.
Refers to a price of a security that is either steady or falling slowly.
Used to measure an investment’s return for a given level of downside volatility.
Bonds issued by a government.
The yield difference between two types of fixed-income or credit instrument, typically expressed in percentage points or basis points. A tight spread means the yield difference is small, while a wide spread means the difference is comparatively large.
A narrowing of bond or other fixed-income spreads.
A measure of historical volatility and the most common measure of risk in the investment industry. In general, the higher the standard deviation, the higher the risk associated with an investment.
Strategic asset allocation
The long-term, baseline or neutral asset mix for an investment portfolio.
Refers to assets below a specific asset in a company’s capital structure.
The risk of an unanticipated adverse impact on a portfolio.
Tactical asset allocation
An approach that makes asset allocation shifts based on immediate-term market events.
Refers to a favourable condition for particular investments or the market as a whole.
A method of analyzing securities that focuses on price and trading volume data, among other metrics, to forecast performance.
Refers to a marked decrease in asset prices that follows an extended period of price increases.
An approach to investing that bases asset allocation decisions fully or partly on macroeconomic analysis and analysis of the broader markets.
The return on an investment, including interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions.
A company’s actual recorded earnings.
A portion or ‘slice’ of a debt offering. Higher (senior) tranches generally offer less risk and lower returns, while lower tranches offer potential for greater income but with elevated levels of risk.
Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS)
A U.S. government-backed treasury bill that protects the investor from inflation because the par value of the bill is adjusted in step with inflation.
Debt instruments issued by the U.S. government with fixed interest rates and maturities that range from one to 10 years.
An approach to investing that is not constrained by benchmark or other asset class weighting requirements.
Refers to securities or portfolios that do not move in tandem with other securities or portfolios.
A security, fund, sector or market that generates a lower return than its stated benchmark or point of comparison.
Allocating less to an asset class, sector, geographic region or other category than the benchmark weighting.
The amount of upside a mutual fund experiences relative to a benchmark.
The profit generated by an investment.
A measurement of how much an investment is worth. It is determined by analyzing a variety of factors, including financial statements and industry statistics.
An investment strategy that seeks to identify and purchase securities that are trading below their true (intrinsic) value. The goal is to sell the securities for a profit when their market prices reflect intrinsic value.
A stock that is trading at a price that is below the company's true or intrinsic value.
Also known as the “fear gauge,” the VIX is a commonly referenced measure of equity market volatility.
The size of a security, sector or market relative to other constituents in the benchmark.
The amount earned from a fixed-income security.
Graphically illustrates the yields and maturities of bonds of similar credit quality. A normal yield curve slopes upwards (i.e. bond yields rise as maturities lengthen). A flat yield curve indicates that yields on long- and short-maturity debt instruments are roughly the same. An inverted yield curve represents market conditions in which long-term debt instruments have lower yields than short-term debt instruments. An inverted yield curve has historically been a leading indicator of recession. The long or back end of the yield curve is the part of the curve that plots longer-dated bonds. The short or front end of the yield curve is the part of the curve that plots shorter-dated maturities.
Yield to maturity
The yield an investor will receive from a bond, assuming the bond is held until the maturity date.
Zero lower bound
When interest rates are at or near 0%, central banks have little or no ability to lower interest rates further in a bid to stimulate economic growth.
The yield difference between a country's 2-year and 10-year government bond.