Jargon Buster

Asset classes

The type of asset in which underlying investments are actually invested. Some examples of asset classes are: shares, bonds, property and cash (or money market instruments).

Asset allocation

The spread of investments across different asset classes.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is the overall cost of borrowing if you owe money on a loan, credit card or overdraft. It takes account of all the costs involved over the term of the debt, such as any set-up charges and the interest rate. You can use an APR to compare different loans, as long as you compare them over the same term (for example loans for a 3 year period).

Annual Equivalent Rate (AER)

The AER shows you what the interest on a savings account would be if the interest was compounded and paid out to you each year (instead of monthly or over any other period). You may earn less than the AER because your money may not be invested for as long as a year.

Allocation rate

This is the percentage of your money that is used to buy units in a pension or other type of investment fund. For example, an allocation rate of 97% means that for every £100 that you invest, £97 is actually used to buy units. So in effect, you are paying £3 (or 3%) as a charge to the firm with whom you are investing.

Affinity fraud

A scam which targets members of a particular sector of the community, such as retired people or a religious, ethnic or professional group.

Advisory service

A financial adviser, stockbroker or wealth manager will discuss your investment aims and objectives and then recommend a range of investments that they feel would best suit your needs. Most stockbrokers or investment advisers charge a fee for this service.

Advance fee scams

A type of scam that involves sending out letters or emails that offer vast sums of money in exchange for an upfront payment to assist someone (possibly with a business venture or a sick child).

Administration fee

A fee that you pay to a financial services firm for a service or product. All regulated firms have to give you details of administration and other fees before you buy a service or product.