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Chinese Walls are an ethical rather than physical barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest. For example a Chinese Wall is said to exist between the corporate-advisory area and the brokering department of a financial services firm to separate those giving corporate advice on takeovers from those […]

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Captive Insurance Companies have long been used by many prominent companies to manage their insurance risks. In its simplest form, a captive is a wholly owned subsidiary created to provide insurance to its non-insurance parent company and or other group companies. They are essentially a form of self-insurance whereby the insurer is owned wholly by […]

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The European Commission recently proposed an EU-wide financial transaction tax (FTT) on a range of transactions to which a financial institution is a party. In simple terms every time a bank, stockbroker, insurance company, pension fund, financial leasing company, special purpose vehicle, collective investment scheme or holding company buys or sells stocks, shares, bonds or […]

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The National Employment Savings Trust (“Nest”) is the UK Government’s pension scheme introduced following the Pensions Commission’s 2005 report and is intended to encourage people to save for retirement. In fact it isn’t a new scheme, just a rebranding of the Personal Accounts Scheme which has been in operation for some time. The real difference […]

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The Financial Reporting Council (“FRC”) published The UK Stewardship Code yesterday. The declared purpose of the Code is “to enhance the quality of engagement between institutional investors and companies to help improve long-term returns to shareholders and the efficient exercise of governance responsibilities”. The FRC sees the UK Stewardship Code as complementary to the UK […]

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The Enterprise Investment Scheme offers generous income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to investors in certain companies. These reliefs are available to “qualifying individuals” who subscribe for “eligible shares” in “qualifying companies” undertaking “a qualifying business activity”. Simple, isn’t it? The purpose behind the scheme is to encourage investment in start up companies and […]

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Yesterday, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published a revised version of the UK Corporate Governance Code (formerly the Combined Code). This new edition of “the Code” takes effect for financial years beginning on or after the 29th June 2010. The Code applies to all companies with a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange including […]

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The Combined Code on Corporate Governance  * is published by the Financial Reporting Council and applies to all UK incorporated companies (and some foreign companies) listed on the UK Stock Exchange. The most recent (2008) version of the Code combines the Cadbury and Greenbury reports on corporate governance, the Turnbull Report on Internal Control (revised […]

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The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is to introduce “premium” and “standard” listings from April next year. At first glance, the changes being introduced to listings on the LSE might appear little more than cosmetic, with the existing categories of “primary” and “secondary” listings set to be replaced with “premium” and “standard” listings. But closer examination […]

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The British Business Angels Association (“BBAA”) is a trade association representing UK business angel networks, associates and affiliates. Business Angels invest in business startup companies. These are the same sorts of business that venture capitalists invest in but Angels invest their own money, unlike venture capitalists, who manage the pooled money of others in a […]

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The term Venture Capital refers to an investment made in a new or nearly new company either to get it off the ground (known as seed funding) or to provide capital for growth – surprisingly known as growth funding). Venture capital investments are usually made in cash in exchange for shares in the invested company […]

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In recent weeks the term Sovereign Debt has been bandied about by the media leaving many people puzzled as what it actually is. What it isn’t is money owed by a King or Queen of a country – Republics do have Sovereign Debt; you don’t need a Monarch! Joking aside, in simple terms Sovereign Debt […]

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Most people have heard of Gross Domestic Product (sometimes called Gross Domestic Income) or GDP but few have heard of Gross National Product (GNP). To understand GNP you first have to understand GDP and fuller details can be found elsewhere on this site. In actual fact there is no internationally agreed definition of terms like […]

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The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross Domestic Income (GDI) is a measure of a country’s overall economic output in monetary terms. GDP is normally calculated each quarter and is considered a major indication of the economic health of a country. There are as many different ways of calculating Gross Domestic Product, not to mention […]

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This is the UK government department, headed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is responsible for managing the country’s public revenues. In recent years it hasn’t had the best of records (despite many ill-informed commentators promoting Gordon Brown as a “prudent” chancellor – HAH!!!) as can clearly be seen by anyone who looks at […]

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A Friendly Society is incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 or under the Friendly Societies Act 1992 or any subsequent act replacing or amending these acts. Friendly Societies are voluntary mutual organisations whose main purpose is to financially assist their members, or their members’ families, during sickness, unemployment or retirement and to provide life […]

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Free Float

Published on August 9, 2009 by in All Articles, Guide to City Jargon

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This refers to shares in a public company which are freely available for purchase or trade by the general public. Although a company may be designated a Public Limited Company unless it is listed on a recognised stock exchange its shares may not be in “free float” and even if it is publicly listed the […]

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One of the most common questions we receive asks for a definition of an open-end fund and a definition of a closed-end fund. An open-end fund is a collective investment scheme that can issue and redeem shares according to market demand. Therefore unlike a closed-end fund, where the number of shares in issue is fixed […]

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Beware the fraudulent activities of a share “bucket shop”.  A Bucket Shop (sometimes called a “boiler room”) is a fraudulent brokerage firm that uses aggressive sales techniques, usually by telephone, to sell stock that the brokerage owns and wants to get rid of. The securities they sell are typically poor investment opportunities, and almost always […]

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Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are designed for people who are members of a company pension scheme but who want to increase the contributions they make in order to boost their retirement income. Average life expectancy is increasing so topping up a company pension with an AVC plan is a good way of helping fund the […]

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