Glossary

 

A

Active Share (country, issuer, ISIN) measures the deviation of a portfolio (on country, issuer and ISIN basis) from its reference index, and is used to indicate how actively portfolios are managed.

Alpha , or Jensen's Alpha, is a measurement of the performance of a fund relative to its reference index. Alpha is positive (or negative) when the relative performance is larger (or smaller) than that of the reference index.

Asset class is a group of financial instruments with similar attributes, such as cash, money market, equities or bonds. The asset class is important in categorizing funds by type of investments.

 

B

Benchmark is an index, a rate, or a combination thereof, to which funds are compared in order to measure the relative performance of a fund.

Beta is a measure of a fund's sensitivity compared to a market (represented by its reference index). A beta of 1.05 means that a fund’s prices move  5% more than than the index when the market rises or falls.

Bloomberg shows the code used in the Bloomberg platform to identify a fund.

 

C

Carry is the return obtained from holding an asset. For instance, in fixed income portfolios, positive carry versus a benchmark’s yield is typically obtained by holding longer-term higher yielding bonds while selling short-term lower yielding bonds.

Collateralised debt obligation (CDO) is a structured finance product backed by a pool of debt assets, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS), asset-backed securities (ABS), collateralized bond obligations (CBOs) and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Typically these structures pool cash flows from the underlying assets and then pay investors based on their seniority, so that investors in more senior tranches of the CDO receive their payments first, while investors in the most junior tranches suffer any losses first.

Collateralised loan obligation (CLO) is a type of CDO which involves pools of corporate loans, refinanced in a securitized structure.

Coupon is a payment to holders of bonds on a pre-defined basis, normally with a specific periodicity and percentage. Average Coupon for a bond fund is calculated as capital-weighted average of the coupon rates of all bonds in a portfolio.

Credit default swap (CDS) is a derivative financial instruments which allows an investor to offset default risks. Similar to an insurance contract, if an investor buys a CDS on a security, the investor is reimbursed by the counterparty if the security defaults within a certain period.

Credit spread reflects the difference in yield between a sovereign (government) bond and a corporate bond of similar maturity. As Government bonds are often assumed to be risk-free, the credit spread indicates how much an investor receives is paid to take on a given level of risk.

Credit-spread duration, or credit duration, or spread duration, is a measure of the sensitivity of the price of a bond to a change in credit spreads.

Current yield is the %-return on a bond investment, calculated as the interest payments expected from the bonds if hold for one year, divided by the current prices of the bonds.


D

Derivative is a financial security whose price is determined based on an underlying benchmark or asset such as stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, or market indexes. Examples are futures, options and credit default swaps.

Distribution, or dividend, is a payment by a fund to its investors who hold distributing share classes (compartments with payouts). The distribution (or dividend) yield is calculated as all payouts over the last 12 months divided by the price per share (typically, the latest NAV), and may be affected by variable payments seasonality.

Distribution policy of a fund defines the dividend distribution for its share classes to investors. Accumulating share classes reinvest the income received from the fund holdings back into the fund and do not distribute to shareholders. Distributing shares typically make cash payments to shareholders on a periodic basis.

Duration, or Macaulay Duration, indicates the number of years an investor would need to maintain a position in the bond until the present value of the bond’s cash flows equals the amount paid for the bond. The longer the duration, the more a bond’s price will be affected by changes in interest rates. Duration may also be used to compare the risk of debt securities with different maturities and yields.

 

E

Effective duration, also called option-adjusted duration, is used to calculate the interest rate sensitivity of bonds that have uncertain cash flows due to embedded options.

Modified duration is an adjusted version of Macaulay Duration and measures the percentage change in a bond price as a result of a change in yield. It is used to measure the sensitivity of a bonds cash flows to a change in interest rates and is more commonly used than Macaulay Duration.

Equity exposure illustrates the proportion of a fund that is invested in stocks (equities) and is usually expressed in percentage form.

ESG Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments.

 

F

Forward, or forward contract, is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified price on a future date, and is often used for hedging purposes or commodities trading, where a forward contract can be customized to an amount, delivery date, and commodity type (e.g. food, metals, oil or natural gas).

Frontier countries are less advanced economies of the developing world. They are less established than an emerging market country and their stock markets are less developed, smaller, and associated with higher risks such as lower liquidity.

Future, or futures contract, is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity asset, currency or security at a predetermined price at a future point in time. They are standardized contracts in terms of quality and quantity which facilitates trading on a futures exchange.

 

H

Hedged share class is type of share class that hedges currency risks. It protects investors against unwanted currency exchange (FX) fluctuations, which may be larger than underlying investment returns. To achieve this, the share class must cover hedging costs, resulting in a higher total cost to investors.

Hedging describes the steps taken to offset the risk of a loss or unwanted gain, for example by hedging the risk of foreign currency exposure, an investor can benefit from holding a diverse range of global companies without being exposed to global foreign exchange movements.

 

I

Index is a portfolio that holds a broad range of securities, based on pre-defined rules. Indexes such as the FTSE 100 or DAX 30 are used to represent the performance of particular markets and thus act as a reference point for performance measurement of other portfolios. An index used as reference for performance comparisons, is called a "reference index".

Information ratio is a measurement of portfolio returns in excess of the reference index per unit of return volatility. It is used to measure a portfolio manager's ability to generate excess returns relative to a reference index.

ISIN (International Securities Identification Number) is a unique code that identifies a specific financial security. It is assigned by a country's respective national numbering agency (NNA).

 

M

Management fee is a fee which covers the costs charged to a fund relating to portfolio management services and, if applicable, to distribution services.

Maturity indicates the length of time until the initial investment amount of a bond is due to be repaid. "Average maturity" is calculated on a bond portfolio by weighting each bond's residual maturity by its relative size.

 

N

Net Asset Value (NAV) also known as the share price of a fund, represents the value per share of the fund. It is calculated by dividing the fund’s assets less its liabilities by the number of shares outstanding. For most funds it is calculated and reported daily.

Number of issuers shows the number of different issuers of securities in the portfolio of the fund. It is always less than or equal to the number of positions in the fund because a fund may hold multiple positions from a single issuer.

Number of positions shows the number of single investments/securities in the portfolio of the fund.

 

O

Option-adjusted spread (OAS) measures the yield differential between a bond with an embedded option and the risk-free rate of return. It allows comparing prices of bonds with different embedded options. Typically, a larger OAS implies greater returns for greater risks.

Ongoing charges expresses the sum of the costs of running a fund on an ongoing basis, like the management fee and various legal and operating costs. It is calculated retroactively over a period of 12 months as a percentage of the fund assets. If the available data is insufficient, for example, for newly launched funds, ongoing charges may be estimated using data from funds with similar characteristics.

Option is a derivative, financial instrument whose price derives from the value of underlying securities, like stocks. Call/put options give buyers the right (but not the obligation) to buy/sell an underlying asset at an agreed price and date.

 

P

Performance attribution is a methodology that determines the difference between a portfolio's and reference index's returns. Positive overall attribution means that portfolio managers contributed positively to overall return, relative to the portfolio's reference index.

Performance contribution measures the contribution of individual elements of a portfolio breakdown (by sector, countries, etc.) to the portfolio’s overall return. For example, performance contribution by sector illustrates the contribution of each sector in the portfolio towards the overall portfolio performance.

Performance fee is a charge sometimes paid on top of a management fee if the fund outperforms its reference index or meets other conditions. Details can be found in the fund's prospectus.

 

R

Rating, or credit rating, assesses a bond issuer's ability to repay on time all its debt (interest and principal). High ratings, like AAA or Aaa, indicate low risk (i.e., low probability of default), while ratings such as BBB- or Baa3 indicate a higher risk.

 

S

Share class is a compartment of a fund with a distinct client type, distribution policy, fee structure, currency, minimum investment, or other characteristics. The characteristics of each share class are described in the fund prospectus.

Sharpe ratio measures excess return per unit of risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers.

SRRI is a value based on a sub fund’s volatility, providing a gauge of the overall risk and reward profile of the sub fund.

Swing pricing is an industry standard mechanism to protect long term investors in a fund against trading costs occurring when investors enter or exit the fund. This is achieved by adjusting the NAV upwards or downwards respectively so that the additional trading costs caused by subscriptions or redemptions are borne by investors trading in the fund. Full details of the Swing Pricing mechanism are given in the fund prospectus.

Subordination, or bond subordination, expresses the priority for repayment of a bond in the event of default. A subordinated bond is more junior than other, more senior bonds with respect to claims on assets or earnings.

 

T

Total expense ratio (TER) measures the total costs associated with managing and operating an investment fund.

Tracking error is the standard deviation of the difference between the returns of a fund and its reference index, expressed as a percentage. The more actively a fund is managed, the higher the tracking error.

V

VALOR is an identification number issued by SIX Financial Information and assigned to financial instruments in Switzerland.

Volatility measures the fluctuation of a fund's performance over a certain period. It is most commonly expressed using the annualized standard deviation. The higher the volatility, the riskier a fund tends to be.

 

W

Weighted average life (WAL) determines the time outstanding on a bond, and is calculated by weighting the times at which the principal is re-paid by the amounts of principal involved (WAL does not consider interest payments). A smaller WAL is assumed to carry less credit risk.

WKN (or Wertpapierkennummer) is an identification code of securities registered in Germany, issued by its Institute for Issuance and Administration of Securities.

 

Y

Yield to maturity (YTM) measures the return of the fund if all the bonds in the portfolio of the fund were held to maturity. The ratio is expressed as an annual return in percent.

Yield to maturity after hedging provides the yield to maturity in the fund's base currency, after adjusting for the hedging costs of all assets denominated in non-base currencies.

Yield to maturity, estimated in another currency estimates the yield to maturity which an investor in the mentioned currency would receive. It is estimated based on interest rate differentials minus estimated hedging costs.

Yield to worst (YTW) represents the lowest potential annual return of a bond that does not default, for instance, if a bond may be called by the issuer prior to maturity.