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A beginner's guide to speaking finance

Make a strong impression with your understanding of basic financial jargon.

Like other industries, the world of finance has its own, seemingly impenetrable, vocabulary. But while it can seem obscure and mystifying, this jargon is also vital industry shorthand. Here are some of the more common terms – the kind you’re likely to hear every day. Get your head around these and you’ll have a great foundation to build on.

  1. After the bell
    What it means: After the market is closed to regular trading
    Where you’ll hear it: On the trading floor
  2. Earnings
    What it means: A quarterly announcement of a publicly traded company’s financial results through both a press release and a conference call with analysts and investors
    When you’ll hear it: From an Equity Research analyst updating a company model
  3. League table
    What it means: A third-party ranking of investment banks by fees, deal volume or other factors
    When you’ll hear it: When working on a pitch book
  4. Pitch book
    What it means: A marketing presentation detailing an investment bank’s main attributes, products and services
    When you’ll hear it: While working with a sales team to win new business
  5. PM
    What it means: Portfolio Manager of a financial institution
    When you’ll hear it: During introductions on an investor call for a deal in the market
  6. IPO
    What it means: Initial public offering, or the first time a company trades publicly
    When you’ll hear it: In a news story or publication
  7. Rally   
    What it means: Period of sustained increase in the price of a stock, bond or index
    Where you’ll hear it: In a client meeting
  8. Tick and tie
    What it means: To make sure the numbers in a presentation are accurate and consistent
    When you’ll hear it: As you wrap up a pitch book for a client meeting
  9. Tombstone
    What it means: A short written summary that includes basic details about a transaction, often used in documents and pitches to indicate experience in a sector or transaction type
    When you’ll hear it: In conversation with the Marketing department

Now that we’ve covered a few of the basics, get familiar with some terms that are a bit more complex.