Jargons Explained

A person or organization employed by an individual or mutual fund to manage assets or provide investment advice. Also called financial advisor or investment advisor or investment counsel. Sometimes spelled "adviser".

Advisory Fee
A charge paid to a mutual fund's managers for their services; usually includes fund administration costs and investor relations. Typically a certain percentage of assets under management.

A measure of risk-adjusted performance. A higher alpha indicates a security has performed better than expected with its given beta (or volatility.) See Beta

Asset Class
Category of different investment types, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, cash, etc.

An intimation facility by which a mutual fund informs you (by phone, post or e-mail) when the sell target specified by you on a scheme is reached.

Association of Mutual Funds in India:
The trade association of mutual funds in India. Conceived on the lines of an industry association. AMFI represents the mutual fund industry at various policy forums and does promotional and training work. Its website is www.amfiindia.com

Annual report:
A book type document released by a fund house once in a year that details its state of affairs

Asset allocation:
How a fund's corpus is distributed in percentage terms across the various asset classes it chooses to invest in.

Asset management company:
The legal entity set up by a mutual fund to handle its operation

Assets Under Management:
Commonly referred to as AUM, this is the total money managed by the Mutual Fund.

Average maturity period:
The average of the stated maturity dates of the securities in a debt fund's portfolio. The longer the maturity period of debt fund, the more the sensitive it will be to interest changes, which will be reflected in the form of greater fluctuations.


Basis Point:
One-hundredth of a percentage point (0.01 percentage points).

A standard used for comparison

Balance Funds:
A scheme that invests substantially in both debt and equity. The exact balance between the two asset classes depends upon a fund manger's risk-return preference

The indicated level of volatility associated with the fund as compared to its benchmark, for e.g. comparing a fund with Nifty. A beta of 1 means that funds performance closely matches the bench mark. A beta that is greater than one is more volatile than the benchmark index. A beta that is less than one is less volatile than the benchmark index.


Capital Appreciation:
An increase in the market price of an asset

Capital Gain:
The amount by which an asset's selling price exceeds its initial purchase price. A realized capital gain is an investment that has been sold at a profit. An unrealized capital gain is an investment that hasn't been sold yet but would result in a profit if sold. Capital gain is often used to mean realized capital gain. Opposite of capital loss.

Capital Gains Tax:
A tax assessed on profits realized from the sale of a capital asset, such as stock

Capital Loss:
The decrease in the value of an investment or asset. Opposite of capital gain

Closing NAV
The Rupee value of a single mutual fund share, based on the value of the underlying assets of the fund minus its liabilities, divided by the number of shares outstanding.

Common Stock
Securities representing equity ownership in a corporation, providing voting rights, and entitling the holder to a share of the company's success through dividends and/or capital appreciation. In the event of liquidation, common stock holders have rights to a company's assets only after bondholders, other debt holders, and preferred stock holders have been satisfied.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge (CDSC)
A back-end load charged only in certain circumstances.

Corporate Bond
A bond issued by a corporation.

The interest rate on a fixed income security, determined upon issuance, and expressed as a percentage of pars. Also referred to as the term for each interest payment made to the bondholder.

Credit Risk
Risk that the issuer of a fixed income instrument will not meet its payment obligations.

Certificate number:
A concept from yesteryears when fund houses issued physical certificates, as proof of ones holding. With the advent of paper less trading physical certificates and the certificate number died a natural death.

Cheque book facility:
A payment option, typically offered with liquid funds, intended to reduce redemption processing time. This facility entails giving unit holders redemption cheques at the time of investment itself. Each time a unit holder wants to sell units rather than make a request to the fund house and receive the cheque after up to 3 days , he needs to do is deposit cheques worth the amount.

Closed-end fund:
A type of scheme with a fixed tenure as opposed to the conventional no tenure open-end funds.

Close Ended Scheme
A close-ended fund or scheme has a stipulated maturity period. The fund is open for subscription only during a specified period. Investors can invest in the scheme at the time of the initial public issue and thereafter they can buy or sell the units of the scheme on the stock exchanges where the units are listed. If they desire to exit the scheme they have to sell back the units to the mutual fund through periodic repurchase at NAV related prices.

A percentage cut paid by a fund house to an intermediary for bringing in business. Till mid 2002 agents were passing on some portion of this commission to investors as an incentive to invest. However to stop intermediaries from using the lure of money to sway investment decisions, SEBI banned such transfers.

The amount of money available with a scheme for investing. If already invested the corpus is the current value of the schemes portfolio.

Cost averaging:
A strategy that involves buying more of a security when its price falls, with the objective of reducing the average cost price. Within mutual funds, it's a strategy used by systematic investment plans.


A portfolio strategy designed to reduce exposure to risk by combining a variety of investments. The goal of diversification is to reduce the risk in a portfolio. Volatility is limited by the fact that not all asset classes or industries or individual companies move up and down in value at the same time or at the same rate. Diversification reduces both the upside and downside potential and allows for more consistent performance under a wide range of economic conditions.

Dividend Yield:
Annualized dividend rate divided by last closing price.

Debt funds:
The class of schemes that invest only in debt securities with the objective of generating a steady income while preserving capital. Based on the kind, and mix of debt securities they invest in, debt funds are broadly classified under the three heads - income funds, gilt funds and liquid funds.

Discount premium to NAV:
The percentage difference between the market price of a unit and its NAV. If a scheme's market price is higher than its NAV is said to be trading at a premium; if the price is lower, it is said to be trading at a discount.

Payments made by mutual fund to its unit holders from the income generated by it.

Dividend plan:
The investment plan that periodically distributes the gains received by it as dividends.

Dividend re-investment plan:
An investment plan in certain circumstances act as a tax efficient option to the growth plan. In this plan dividends are declared, but not paid out. Instead the amount is re-invested in the scheme.


Electronic clearing mechanism:
A mode of transferring money from one bank account to another bank account electronically, without issuing cheques. Most funds offer the ECS facility, which you can sign up for to receive sale proceeds and dividends directly in your bank accounts.

ELSS (equity -linked savings schemes):
Diversified equity funds that additionally offer a tax rebate under section 80C on investments up to Rs. 1,00,000/-.

Entry/Exit Load
The Fund charges some amount before buying the scheme. This is usually some percentage of the amount invested and goes as the amount charged by the Fund house to manage their money.

It is calculated as: Sales Purchase = Applicable NAV x ( 1 + Sales Charge )

Exit load is the charges you have to pay to the Fund house, if you wish to exit the scheme. For most schemes the Exit load is nil.

It is usually calculated as: Repurchase Price = Application NAV x ( 1 - exit load)

Exchange traded fund:
Listed cousins of index funds. ETFs score over index funds in that their expenses are lower and they let you buy and sell the index they track at real time prices.

Expense ratio:
Every scheme incurs various costs towards managing your money, which it covers from you with in limits. The expense ratio of a scheme is its costs expressed as percentage of its corpus and is an indicator of how much it charges you. For example, In a given year, if your scheme returns 10% and shows an expense ratio of 2% , it effectively means that it earned 12% but it is used up 2% points of that to meet various expenses.

Equity funds:
The class of schemes that invest primarily in stocks.


Fixed Maturity Plans (FMPs):
Short term debt funds (unto one year) with a fixed date of maturity. Such schemes invest in debt instruments that mature around the same time as the scheme itself so as to minimize interest rate risk.

Folio number:
A unique account number, akin to a bank account number given by fund house to you. By quoting your folio number, you can get a list of your unit holdings with the fund houses.

Fund fact sheet:
A newsletter sent by a mutual fund to its unit holders, either quarterly or half yearly. The newsletter reviews performance of all its schemes during the reference period, gives important schemes information such as portfolio details, and offers pointers on what lies ahead.

Fund house:
Another way of referring to a mutual fund.

Fund manager:
The person responsible for managing a schemes money.

Fund of funds:
Schemes that, instead of investing in stocks and bonds, provide the same exposure indirectly by investing in other mutual fund schemes.

Futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity or financial instrument at a particular price on a stipulated future date

Front-End Sales Load:
A sales charge paid when an individual buys an investment, such as a mutual fund, limited partnership, annuity, or insurance policy.


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
A widely accepted set of rules, conventions, standards, and procedures for reporting financial information, as established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Gilt funds:
A class of debt funds that invest in government securities and treasury bills with the objective of generating steady and regular returns while taking on modest levels of risk.

Government Securities:
Debt securities of tenures of every one-year issued by the government. Since the government issues them, they don't carry any risk of default.

Growth plans:
One of the investment plans offered by mutual funds wherein all gains are reinvested back in the scheme. If your investment objective is to accumulate earnings, a growth plan should be your preferred plan.


An investment made in order to reduce the risk of adverse price movements in a security, by taking an offsetting position in a related security, such as an option or a short sale.

Hedge Fund:
A fund usually used by wealthy individuals or an institution, which is allowed to use aggressive strategies that are unavailable to mutual funds, including selling short, leverage, program trading, swaps, arbitrage, and derivatives.


A statistical indicator providing a representation of the value of the securities which constitute it. Indices often serve as barometers for a given market or industry and benchmarks against which financial or economic performance is measured.

Income fund:
A debt fund that invests mostly in bonds issued by companies and government securities both instruments with long tenures. An income fund aims to maximize debt returns for the medium to long term.

Index fund:
A scheme whose portfolio mirrors a particular index, both in terms of composition and individual stock weight ages. It's a passive investment option, as a fund's performance will mimic the index concerned, barring a minor tracking error.

Initial Net Asset Value:
Portfolio's Net Asset Value (NAV) on its inception date.

Interest Rate Risk:
Risk that interest rates will change, affecting the value of an investment

Investment Objective:
The result desired by an investor or mutual fund.

Investment Philosophy:
An overall set of investment principles or strategies.

Initial Public offering:
The maiden sale of units in a scheme through a process similar to that for new share issues. However, unlike shares, it does not matter whether you buy units through an IPO or from the fund house subsequently.

A stock or bond which has been offered for sale by a corporation or government entity, usually through an underwriter or in a private placement.


As a means of enhancing return many closed-end funds may issue senior securities or borrow money to "leverage" their investments position. This strategy allows closed-end funds the ability to enhance yield and offer higher levels of current income in comparison to most open-end funds.

Liquidity Risk:
Risk that the marketplace will not have sufficient buyers when an investor seeks to sell a security or sufficient sellers when an investor seeks to buy a security.

Liquid Funds:
a scheme that invests in short-term debt instruments such as treasury bills, commercial paper and the call money market. Its objective is to preserve principal while yielding a moderate return and offering high liquidity.

A fee levied by scheme on an investor at the time of buying or selling units, expressed as a percentage of the scheme's NAV. There are two types of loads: entry load levied at the time of increasing the purchase price, an exit load is levied by a scheme on its unit holders when they sell their units and has effect of reducing the sale price.

Load-Adjusted Return:
The return on a mutual fund adjusted downward to reflect any sales fees, whether front-end or back-end.

Lock-in period:
The period of time for which investments made in a scheme cannot be withdrawn. In mutual funds, a lock-in period of three years is applicable on equity-linked savings schemes.


Management Fee:
Expense paid to the investment advisor for managing the portfolio.

Market Capitalization:
Market Capitalization is calculated as the product of price and shares outstanding.

Money Market:
The market for short-term debt instruments maturing in one year or less. Money market instruments include T-bills, Commercial Paper, Bankers' Acceptances, CD's and Federal Funds.

Monthly income plans:
Debt-based schemes whose objective is to generate modest, but stable returns, preferably on a monthly basis.

Market risks
Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks. There are risks that the value of the Company's share may fall down completely.

Mutual Fund
A Mutual fund is a mechanism by which like-minded investors come-in to invest money, to make a very large sum. This large sum is then invested in diverse investments such as Equities, Debt or a combination of both. The Fund's objective and plan is mentioned in the Offer Document.


Net Asset Value
The simplest measure of how a scheme is performing, it tells how much each unit worth is at any point of time. A scheme's NAV is its net assets (the market value of the financial securities it owns minus whatever it owes) divided by the number of units it has issued.

No load fund:
A scheme that doesn't charge any processing fee - in investment parlance, load-at the time of entry or exit.


Offer document:
A document that contains information pertaining to a scheme, intended to help u make an informed decision on whether you want to invest in it or not. Also referred to as the prospectus.

Open-ended document:
A scheme that investors can enter and exit at any point of time, as its then prevailing NAV. This convenience gives it the edge over closed-end schemes, and makes it the preferred option, for mutual funds and investors alike.


P/E Ratio:
The ratio of the last closing price and the earnings per share

PIN (Personal identification number):
An identification number given by a mutual fund to its unit holders to enable various kinds of self-service transactions such as buying and selling units over the Internet or through an ATM, and checking an account statement on the fund's website.

Holdings of securities by an individual or institution. A portfolio may contain bonds, preferred stocks, common stocks, and other securities.

Portfolio turnover ratios:
A measure of how frequently a scheme buys or sells securities. A fund with an annual turnover rate of 100 percent is said to replace the entire portfolio through the course of a year, whereas a fund with a 50 percent turnover rate replaces half its holdings.

Preferred Stock:
Capital stocks which provide a specific dividend that is paid before any dividends are paid to common stock holders, and which takes precedence over common stock in the event of liquidation.

The amount by which a bond or stock sells above its par value. Also the amount by which a closed-end funds market price exceeds the value of its holdings.

Price/Book (P/B) Ratio:
The P/B ratio of a stock is calculated by dividing the current price of the stock by the company's per share book value. Generally, a high P/B ratio indicates that the price of the stock exceeds the actual worth of the company's assets

The official selling circular that must be given to purchasers of new securities registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It highlights the much longer Registration Statement filed with the SEC. It warns that the issue has not been approved (or disapproved) by the SEC and discloses such material information as the issuer's property and business, the nature of the security offered, management's experience, and history.


Record date:
The date on which a scheme's books are closed to finalize the list of unit holders who will be entitled to receive the benefits such as dividends, right and bonus. Only unit holders whose names are there on the record date will receive the stated benefit.

Red Herring:
A preliminary version of the prospectus used by brokers to obtain indications of interest from investors. This version is "subject to completion or amendment".

When a unit holder sells units back to the mutual fund.

Registrars and transfer agents (RTA):
The entity appointed by a mutual fund for servicing its investors.

Repurchase Price:
the unit price at which a unit holder sells his units back to the mutual fund. Usually the repurchase price is the NAV less an exit load.

The gain from an investment in percentage terms. In the context of mutual funds, returns are measured by changes in NAV. So if you bought units in a scheme when its NAV was Rs. 10/- and sold out when its NAV hit Rs. 12/- after one year your return works out to 20 percent (2/10*1000. In the context of mutual fund there are various kinds of returns used.

Absolute return:
A 20 percent absolute return earned over one year isn't the same as 20 percent earned over two years. It measures performance over any two points in time, of any length. But this is a flawed way of measuring returns, as it doesn't factor in the effect of time.

Annualized return:
In the above example, had you earned the 20 percent over say two years, your absolute return is 20 percent, but your annualize return is 10 percent. Also known as compounded annual growth rate. The method calculates the returns a fund would have generated over a year. Since it breaks down performance into a unit of one year and incorporates the effect of compounding annualized return, it is a better indicator of a fund than a straight arithmetic average.

The chance of loss on an investment due to many factors including inflation, interest rates, default, politics, foreign exchange, etc.


The capital market regulator, also responsible for regulating the mutual fund industry.

Sector funds:
The riskiest among equity funds, sector funds invest only in the stocks of a specific industry.

Serial plan:
Income funds that invest solely in debt instruments maturing in a particular year. A close cousin of assured return schemes, investors can expect to get the indicated yield on maturity. Although mostly offered with gilt schemes, this option is gradually being extended to schemes that invest in corporate debt as well.

Sharp Ratio:
A ratio to measure risk-adjusted performance. It is calculated by subtracting the risk-free rate from the rate of return for a portfolio and dividing the result by the standard deviation of the portfolio returns. The Sharp ratio tells us whether the returns of a portfolio are due to good investment decisions or a result of excess risk. This measurement is very useful because although one portfolio or fund can reap higher returns than its peers, it is only a good investment if those higher returns do not come with too much additional risk. Higher ratio indicates more returns than relative risk taken. Calculation - (Return of the Portfolio - Return of the Risk-Free Rate) / S.D

Standard Deviation:
A statistical measure of performance fluctuations-generally the higher the standard deviation, the greater the expected volatility of returns. Standard deviation, a historical measure, cannot be used to predict fund performance.

Systematic Investment Plan (SIP):
Based on the concept of rupee cost averaging. SIP allows an investor to invest a prefixed amount in a scheme at set intervals, and derive the benefit of fluctuating share prices and NAVs. So, when the share price drops, the investor gets more units and when the share price moves up, he gets less. Finally if the NAV is high, his entire investment is valued at the existing higher level, while his cost of purchase averages out.

Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP):
A payment plan that lets you withdraw pre-decided amounts from your investments as in a scheme at periodic intervals. The USP of an SWP is its tax efficiency, which makes it a good alternative to periodic dividend plans.


Taxable Income:
The amount of income subject to income taxes; found by subtracting the appropriate deductions from adjusted gross income.

Tracking error:
The difference between the returns generated by an index fund and the index it tracks, usually on the negative side. If a fund has a tracking error of 1 percent, it means the fund returned 1 percent less than the index it tracks returned over the same period. Tracking error arises because even a passive fund like an index fund incurs various expenses like fund management fee, brokerage and agents commission.

Treasury bills:
Debt securities of maturity of less than one year issued by the government. The government tag means they don't carry any default risk; however, they are still susceptible to price fluctuations.

An actionable facility that lets you pre-specify targets for your mutual fund investments. When this target is reached, the fund house will by itself redeem your units and mail the cheque to you. Typically triggers are based on value (for instance, a 20 percent rise in NAV) or time (specific day like the budget or the financial year closing).

Internal regulators in a mutual fund whose job is to ensure that the fund house is safeguarding the interests of the unit holders.


The currency of a mutual fund. A unit in a mutual fund scheme means one share in the assets of a particular scheme.

Unit holder:
A person or entity who holds units in a scheme.


The relative rate at which the price of a security moves up and down.


The dividends or interest paid by a security (stock, bond, fund, etc.) expressed as a percentage of the current price. It is calculated by taking the dividend amount and dividing it into the current price of the security.

Yield Curve:
A curve that shows the relationship between yields and maturity dates for a set of similar bonds, usually Treasuries, at a given point.

Yield to Maturity:
The yield of a bond to maturity takes into account the price discount from, or premium over, the face amount. It is greater than the current yield when the bond is selling at a discount and less than the current yield when the bond is selling at a premium.