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Immediate Annuity

This annuity has no accumulation phase. Instead, you start receiving annuity payments right after you purchase the annuity.

Immediate-Or-Cancel Order

An Immediate-Or-Cancel (IOC) order is an order to buy or sell a stock that must be executed immediately. Any portion of an IOC order that cannot be filled immediately will be cancelled. 

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Impersonators

Impersonators may falsely claim to be affiliated with the SEC (or another federal government agency) in an attempt to steal your personal information or your money. Federal government agencies, including the SEC, do not endorse or sponsor any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals.

Index Fund

An "index fund" describes a type of mutual fund or unit investment trust (UIT) whose investment objective typically is to achieve approximately the same return as a particular market index, such as the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index, the Russell 2000 Index or the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index.

Initial Public Offerings, Why Individuals Have Difficulty Getting Shares

The underwriters and the company that issues the shares control the IPO process. They have wide latitude in allocating IPO shares. The SEC does not regulate the business decision of how IPO shares are allocated.

While smaller or individual investors are finding it easier to buy IPO shares through online brokerage firms, they may still find it difficult to buy IPO shares for a number of reasons:

Initial Public Offerings: Eligibility to Get Shares at Broker-Dealers

No brokerage firm can guarantee you will be able to purchase shares in an initial public offering (IPO).

While it can be difficult for individual investors to buy IPO shares, more firms, including several online brokers, offer IPOs.  Because these firms often have a small allotment of shares to sell to the public, your ability to buy these shares – especially "hot" IPOs – may be limited no matter which firm you do business with.

Initial Public Offerings: Lockup Agreements

Lockup agreements prohibit company insiders—including employees, their friends and family, and large shareholders—from selling their shares for a set period of time after an IPO.  In other words, the shares are "locked up."  Before a company goes public, the company insiders and its underwriter typically enter into a lockup agreement to ensure that shares owned by these insiders don’t enter the public market too soon after the offering.

Insider Trading

Illegal insider trading refers generally to buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, on the basis of material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include "tipping" such information, securities trading by the person "tipped," and securities trading by those who misappropriate such information.

Examples of insider trading cases that have been brought by the SEC are cases against:

Interest

The price paid for borrowing money. It is expressed as a percentage rate over a period of time.

Interest rates may be fixed, meaning the rate is set and will not change, or may be variable or "floating," meaning the rate may move higher or lower over time.

Internet Fraud

The Internet allows individuals or companies to communicate with a large audience without spending a lot of time, effort, or money. Anyone can reach tens of thousands of people by building an Internet Web site, posting a message on an online bulletin board, entering a discussion in a live "chat" room, or sending mass e-mails. It's easy for fraudsters to make their messages look real and credible. But it's nearly impossible for investors to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Interval Fund

An interval fund is a type of investment company that periodically offers to repurchase its shares from shareholders. That is, the fund periodically offers to buy back a stated portion of its shares from shareholders. Shareholders are not required to accept these offers and sell their shares back to the fund.

Legally, interval funds are classified as closed-end funds, but they are very different from traditional closed-end funds in that:

Invest

To engage in any activity in which money is put at risk for the purpose of making a profit.

Investigations

The SEC’s Division of Enforcement conducts investigations into potential violations of the federal securities laws. Common violations include misrepresenting important information about potential investments, manipulating the market prices of securities, stealing customers’ funds or securities, insider trading, and selling unregistered securities.

Investment Adviser

An investment adviser is a person or firm that is engaged in the business of providing investment advice to others or issuing reports or analyses regarding securities, for compensation. Investment advisers may include money managers, investment consultants, financial planners, general partners of hedge funds, and others who are compensated for providing advice about securities.

Investment Company

A company that issues and invests in securities. The three types of investment companies are mutual funds, closed-end funds, and unit investment trusts.

Investment-grade Bond (or High-grade Bond)

Bonds that are believed to have a lower risk of default and receive higher ratings by the credit rating agencies, namely bonds rated Baa (by Moody's) or BBB (by S&P and Fitch) or above. These bonds tend to be issued at lower yields than less creditworthy bonds.

Issuer

The entity obligated to pay principal and interest on a bond.