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Financial Dictionary

Glossary of economic and financial terms

This A to Z guide of economic and financial terms will tell you everything you need to know about banking.

Every term has been verified by our experts in investing, accounts for individuals and businesses, salary accounts, mortgages, payment cards and other financial products, and they are all explained in clear, concise language to help you understand them.

We have included the most common concepts that are widely used in digital and printed documents about financial products, such as contracts, clauses, terms and conditions, appendices, etc.


Account authorised party

An account authorised party is a person designated by the holder to access funds on their behalf. The authorised party is not really the account owner and is therefore not responsible for the debts or equity in the account.

Account holder

The account holder is the person who signs the contract for said account with the bank; this person will also be the owner of the money it contains. Furthermore, if there are any debt due to having taken out a loan, this person will be liable for the tax obligations. Although it may seem a minor issue, when opening an account it will be important to carefully decide on its ownership, as what you decide may have certain implications and obligations.

Account number

The account number is the standardised code that allows us to identify it, easily access certain data (the country and the bank it comes from, the branch, the office from where it was opened, etc.). It's like a car number plate.

Before 2014, this account code was equivalent to the customer account code and had 20 digits. In 2014, globalisation and the extension of financial transactions beyond our country required cross-border payments to be made in an agile and secure manner. For this reason, the customer account code was replaced by the IBAN (International Bank Account Code), which is used to unify all transactions, issue and receive transfers in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Active Management

The objective of this management system is to produce better returns for the managed portfolio than the market average by using independent criteria based on the manager's information and experience in selecting investments. It is the opposite of passive management which simply mirrors a market index.

Alpha (á)

Alpha is the best variable for measuring the performance of an investment fund manager. It measures the trading capabilities and skills of the manager and their team. This coefficient measures the performance or behaviour of an investment (positive or negative) compared to its benchmark index; in other words, it is the extra return obtained by the fund, after its fees.


Appraisal involves assigning a value to an object through a document prepared by an expert, establishing the value of the asset based on specific characteristics and a range of applicable variables.


The APR for a bank loan means the Annual Percentage Rate, also known as the Annual Effective Rate. This is a widely used term in the financial world. It is defined using a formula with the following variables:

Arrangement fee

The arrangement fee is the percentage that the bank charges us to set up our mortgage loan.

This fee is mainly there to cover administration and management costs, though also to conduct a necessary risk assessment of the borrower's financial profile, solvency and ability to repay their debt.

ART life insurance

ART refers to a specific type of insurance: Annual Renewable Term insurance. This means the premium is updated every year and whenever the customer wants.

It is highly recommended, because of its versatility and adaptability: It can be cancelled easily with no penalties, as long as we give the notice stipulated in the contract; it can be converted into permanent insurance in some cases; it also offers an option to redeem some of the premiums paid, meaning we can recover a lot of what we have contributed, although this depends on the conditions of each company.

Asset allocation

Asset Allocation is defined as the distribution of assets in a portfolio or diversification of shares according to the chosen combination of assets, products or markets, risk and geographic area, to improve the return of the assets or control the risk of the assets. This allocation is made using both the bottom up and the top down analysis.


An ATM (automatic teller machine) is a machine you can use for various banking transactions at any time of day, any day of the week, without involving any bank employees.