A fee that some funds separately impose on investors for account maintenance. For example, individuals with accounts below a specified dollar amount may have to pay an account fee.
For information on what to expect when opening a brokerage account, including what information you will need to provide, what decisions you will be asked to make, and what questions you should ask your broker, please read our Investor Bulletin: How to Open a Brokerage Account.
Under the federal securities laws, a company that offers or sells its securities must register the securities with the SEC or find an exemption from the registration requirements. The federal securities laws provide companies with a number of exemptions. For some of the exemptions, such as Rule 506 of Regulation D, a company may sell its securities to what are known as accredited investors.
Interest earned on a security but not yet paid to the investor.
Advance fee frauds ask investors to pay a fee up front – in advance of receiving any proceeds, money, stock, or warrants – in order for the deal to go through. The advance payment may be described as a fee, tax, commission, or incidental expense that will be repaid later. Advance fee frauds may involve the sale of products or services, the offering of investments, lottery winnings, found money, or many other so-called opportunities.
Fraudsters carrying out advance fee schemes may:
Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster's ruse.
After-hours trading, also known as extended-hours trading, refers to trading that occurs outside of regular trading hours. Regular trading hours for stocks traded on exchanges and certain other markets are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. After-hours trading sessions may occur before or after regular trading hours. The duration of after-hours trading sessions varies between markets and trading venues. Investors should contact their brokerage firms to determine if and when after-hours trading sessions are available.
An All-Or-None (AON) order is an order to buy or sell a stock that must be executed in its entirety, or not executed at all. AON orders that cannot be executed immediately remain active until they are executed or cancelled.
Alternative mutual funds (sometimes called alt funds or liquid alts) are publicly offered, SEC-registered mutual funds that hold non-traditional investments or use complex investment and trading strategies. Investors considering alt funds should be aware of their unique characteristics and risks. For more information, please read our Investor Bulletin: Alternative Mutual Funds.
Alternative Trading Systems (ATSs) are SEC-regulated electronic trading systems that match orders for buyers and sellers of securities. An ATS is not a national securities exchange. However, an ATS may apply to the SEC to become a national securities exchange.
The stocks of most foreign companies that trade in the U.S. markets are traded as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). U.S. depositary banks issue these stocks. Each ADR represents one or more shares of foreign stock or a fraction of a share. If you own an ADR, you have the right to obtain the foreign stock it represents, but U.S. investors usually find it more convenient to own the ADR. The price of an ADR corresponds to the price of the foreign stock in its home market, adjusted to the ratio of the ADRs to foreign company shares.
Once-a-year meetings where the chief executive officer reports on the year's results to shareholders. At this meeting, shareholders vote to elect the board of directors and on other corporate business.
The annual report to shareholders is a document used by most public companies to disclose corporate information to their shareholders. It is usually a state-of-the-company report, including an opening letter from the Chief Executive Officer, financial data, results of operations, market segment information, new product plans, subsidiary activities, and research and development activities on future programs. Reporting companies must send annual reports to their shareholders when they hold annual meetings to elect directors.
A report filed to the SEC by public companies that includes the company's history, audited financial statements, a discussion of products and services, a review of the organization and its operations, and a discussion of the company's major markets.
An annual rate of return is the profit or loss on an investment over a one-year period. There are many ways of calculating the annual rate of return. If the rate of return is calculated on a monthly basis, multiplying it by 12 expresses an annual rate of return. This is often called the annual percentage rate (A.P.R.).
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that is designed to meet retirement and other long-range goals, under which you make a lump-sum payment or series of payments. In return, the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you beginning immediately or at some future date.
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a technique for the resolution of disputes outside the court system. In arbitration, the parties agree to have their dispute heard by one or more arbitrators and agree to be bound by their decision.
The term "bid" refers to the highest price a buyer will pay to buy a specified number of shares of a stock at any given time. The term "ask" refers to the lowest price at which a seller will sell the stock.
The bid price will almost always be lower than the ask or “offer,” price. The difference between the bid price and the ask price is called the "spread."
In the over-the-counter market, the term "ask" refers to the lowest price at which a market maker will sell a specific number of shares.
Any tangible or intangible item that has value in an exchange. A bank account, a home, or shares of stock are all examples of assets.
Asset allocation involves dividing your investments among different categories, such as stocks, bonds, and cash.
Investments that have similar characteristics. The three main asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash.