Glossary of Terms

Financial Services Geek Speak

Talk like the Pros

Whether you’ve been in Financial Services for years or are new to the field, there’s a lot of jargon to know. This glossary of common terms in banking, wealth management, and insurance will help you sound like an expert.

Anti-Money Laundering

Money laundering is hiding origins of illegally obtained money. This is often done with money transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. Anti-money laundering is using policies and procedures to prevent and detect money laundering.


Anything owned by the company having a monetary value; e.g. 'fixed' assets like buildings, plants and machinery, vehicles (these are not assets if rented and not owned) and potentially including intangibles like trademarks and brand names, and 'current' assets, such as stock, debtors and cash.


An official inspection of an individual's or organization's accounts.


A bond is sold by firms or governments to people or companies. It is a way for the firm or government to borrow money from people or companies at a certain interest rate. In return for buying the bond, the investor gets a certain interest rate for the duration of the bond.


The amount of money that is planned to spend on a particular activity or resource.

Cash flow

Tracking money as it comes into and is paid out of a company to ensure that the company is financially stable.


Application for benefits provided by an insurance company (such as asking your car insurance company to pay for repairs to an insured car after an accident).


The act of making sure financial activities follow the rules (government policies and company rules and regulations).


A person or company considered suitable to receive a loan or credit account (such as a credit card); including having a proven track record of paying money back in the past.


A person or institution that owes a sum of money.

Financial Products and Services

Things like checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, and retirement and financial planning.


A prediction of performance such as costs, return on investment, or other data. This prediction can help a company make decisions.


An organization or person that lends money, such as a mortgage lender.


A sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest, usually a small percentage of the total sum of money.


A loan that a financial lender gives to help finance the purchase of a house.

Policy (Insurance)

A contract for financial payments that will be paid by the insurance company following an eligible event (such as a car accident, house fire, or death in the case of life insurance).

Risk Management

Reducing the possibility that a loan or credit account will not be repaid; reducing the possibility that investments will lose value (be worth less than was invested). Jobs in Risk Management have the goal of reducing these possibilities.


Stocks, or shares, are a type of security that grants ownership in a small part of a corporation. The holder of a stock owns a claim to a percentage of the corporation's earnings and assets.


Research to determine the degree of risk presented by insuring property (how likely it is that the company will have to pay out on an insurance policy in the event of a house fire, car accident, etc.) or loaning money (how likely it is that the money loaned will not be repaid).

Wealth Management

A broad term that describes techniques used to maintain and grow the wealth of an individual or company.

Wall Street

This term sometimes refers to a specific location and sometimes to the Financial Services industry and investment banking. Wall Street is in lower Manhattan and is the original home of the New York Stock Exchange and the historic headquarters of the largest U.S. brokerages and investment banks.

Financial District

The Financial District is a neighborhood located at the southern tip of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, made up of the offices and headquarters of many of the city's (and world's) major financial institutions.