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It really is a bewildering language for those of us who haven’t been taught what terms like “green shoe” or “MiFID”, or “Top Slicing” actually mean.

The use of acronyms has become so confusing that it takes longer to check what they mean than for a speaker – or writer – to spell it out in full.

A year or two ago I was at a meeting of an EU (European Union) monitoring committee where one speaker kept talking about the “BCC”. Sitting on one side of me was the then President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and I asked her “What’s this to do with us”? (I was a representative of the BCC on the committee. “Nothing” she said. On the other side of me there was the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (BCC). “What’s this got to do with you?” I asked. “Nothing” came the reply “I haven’t a clue what they are talking about”.

Nothing ventured – and being the sort of guy who doesn’t mind admitting he doesn’t know what someone is talking about, I asked the Chairman “Who or what is the BCC?”. “I don’t know”, he said and looked quizzically at the speaker, who frowned and gave us all a look as if to say “what a lot of idiots” and said “Birmingham City Council”. Silence, then a man a few seats to my right said “Ah, I wondered if it was us”. Sad really.

Anyway. Over the next few months this post, whilst not dealing with issues such as who or what the BCC is (or are), will give short definitions of many of the “buzz words” acronyms or jargon used in the City of London, the Stock Exchanges worldwide, including London, Frankfurt and New York, and provide links to sites where you can find further information and more in-depth definitions.

I’m going to post the definitions in – vaguely – alphabetical order. However if you want to know what any piece of jargon means more urgently do post a question on our “Ask a Question” page and I’ll do my best to give you a speedy answer.

I hope this helps.

James Green

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