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Maintenance Fee

Fees that direct-sold college savings plans may charge for continued participation in the plan.

Management Fee

A fee paid out of fund assets to the fund's investment adviser for investment portfolio management. A fund's management fees appear under Annual Fund Operating Expenses in the fee table in the fund's prospectus.

Margin Account

A “margin account” is a type of brokerage account in which the broker-dealer lends the investor cash, using the account as collateral, to purchase securities.  Margin increases investors’ purchasing power, but also exposes investors to the potential for larger losses.

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Margin Call

If you buy on margin and the value of your securities declines, your brokerage firm can require you to deposit cash or securities to your account immediately, or sell any of the securities in your account to cover any shortfall, without informing you in advance. The brokerage firm decides which of your securities to sell. Even if the brokerage firm notifies you that you have a certain number of days to cover the shortfall, it still may sell your securities before then. A brokerage firm may at any time change the threshold at which customers are subject to a margin call.

Market Capitalization

Market capitalization is the value of a corporation determined by multiplying the current public market price of one share of the corporation by the number of total outstanding shares.

Market Index

A measurement of the performance of a specific "basket" of stocks considered to represent a particular market or sector of the U. S. economy. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is an index of 30 "blue chip" stocks of U.S. companies.

Market Indices

A market index tracks the performance of a specific "basket" of stocks that represent a particular market or economic sector. U.S. examples include the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of 30 "blue chip" U.S. company stocks, the Standard and Poor's 500 Index, and the Wilshire 5000 Index, which includes most publicly traded U.S. stocks.

Market Makers

A "market maker" is a firm that stands ready to buy or sell a stock at publicly quoted prices. 

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Market Manipulation

Market manipulation is when someone artificially affects the supply or demand for a security (for example, causing stock prices to rise or to fall dramatically).

Market manipulation may involve techniques including:

Market Order

A market order is an order to buy or sell a stock at the current market price. Unless you specify otherwise, your broker will enter your order as a market order. The advantage of a market order is that as long as there are willing buyers and sellers, you are almost always guaranteed your order will be executed. The disadvantage is the price you pay when your order is executed may not be the price you expected.

Markups

When a broker-dealer sells you securities out of its inventory, the broker-dealer acts as a principal in the transaction (that is, selling to you directly the securities it holds).  When acting in a principal capacity the broker-dealer generally will be compensated by selling the security to you at a price that is higher than the market price (the difference is called a markup), or by buying the security from you at a price that is lower than the market price (the difference is called a markdown).

Medallion Signature Guarantees: Preventing the Unauthorized Transfer of Securities

If you hold securities in physical certificate form and want to transfer or sell them, you will need to sign the certificates and securities powers--a legal document, separate from a securities certificate that investors use to transfer or assign ownership to another person or entity. You will need to get your signature guaranteed on all documents before a transfer agent will accept the transaction instructions.

Mediation and Arbitration

Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a technique for the resolution of disputes outside the court system.  The parties to a dispute refer it to arbitration by one or more persons and agree to be bound by the arbitration decision.

Mergers

Mergers are transactions involving the combination of generally two or more companies into a single entity. The need for shareholder approval of a merger is governed by state law.  Typically, a merger must be approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of the target company.  Approval of the acquiring company’s shareholders may also be required under certain circumstances (for example, the exchange listing standards may require a shareholder approval if the number of shares of the acquiring company offered as merger consideration exceeds a specified threshold). 

Microcap stock

The term “microcap stock” (sometimes referred to as “penny stock”) applies to companies with low or micro market capitalizations.  Companies with a market capitalization of less than $250 or $300 million are often called “microcap stocks” – although many have market capitalizations of far less than those amounts.  The smallest public companies, with market capitalizations of less than $50 million, are sometimes referred to as “nanocap stocks.” 

Mini-Tender Offers

"Mini-tender" offers are tender offers that, when consummated, will result in the person who makes the tender offer owning less than five percent of a company’s stock. The people behind these offers—also known as "bidders"—frequently use mini-tender offers to catch shareholders off guard. Most bidders won’t use the term “mini-tender offer” to describe their offer to buy shares. They count on investors jumping to the conclusion that the price offered includes the premium usually present in larger, traditional tender offers.

Money Market Fund

A money market fund is a type of mutual fund that has relatively low risks compared to other mutual funds and most other investments and historically has had lower returns. Money market funds invest in high quality, short-term debt securities and pay dividends that generally reflect short-term interest rates. Many investors use money market funds to store cash or as an alternative to investing in the stock market.

Mortgage-Backed Securities and Collateralized Mortgage Obligations

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are debt obligations that represent claims to the cash flows from pools of mortgage loans, most commonly on residential property. Mortgage loans are purchased from banks, mortgage companies, and other originators and then assembled into pools by a governmental, quasi-governmental, or private entity. The entity then issues securities that represent claims on the principal and interest payments made by borrowers on the loans in the pool, a process known as securitization.

 

Mutual Fund Classes

Some mutual funds offer investors different types of shares, known as "classes."  Each class invests in the same portfolio of securities and has the same investment objectives and policies.  But each class has different shareholder services and/or distribution arrangements with different fees and expenses.  Because of the different fees and expenses, each class will likely have different performance results.

Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses

As with any business, running a mutual fund involves costs. For example, there are costs incurred in connection with particular investor transactions, such as investor purchases, exchanges, and redemptions. There are also regular fund operating costs that are not necessarily associated with any particular investor transaction, such as investment advisory fees, marketing and distribution expenses, brokerage fees, and custodial, transfer agency, legal, and accountants’ fees.

Mutual Fund Prospectus

Mutual funds must provide a copy of the fund’s prospectus to shareholders after they purchase shares, but investors can – and should – request and read the fund’s prospectus before making an investment decision. There are two kinds of prospectuses: (1) the statutory prospectus; and (2) the summary prospectus. The statutory prospectus is the traditional, long-form prospectus with which most mutual fund investors are familiar. The summary prospectus, which is used by many funds, is just a few pages long and contains key information about a fund.

Mutual Fund Redemptions

A mutual fund company generally must pay redemption proceeds to a shareholder within seven days of receiving a redemption request from the shareholder. Exceptions apply on days when the New York Stock Exchange is closed, during certain emergencies, or when the SEC issues an order delaying redemptions to protect shareholders in the fund.

Mutual Funds, Past Performance

This year's top-performing mutual funds aren't necessarily going to be next year's best performers. It’s not uncommon for a fund to have better-than-average performance one year and mediocre or below-average performance the following year. That's why the SEC requires funds to tell investors that a fund's past performance does not necessarily predict future results. You can learn what factors to consider before investing in a mutual fund by reading Mutual Fund Investing: Look at More Than a Mutual Fund's Past Performance. You can also learn more about investment performance claims by reading Investor Bulletin: Performance Claims..