Investor glossary

AGM
Annual General Meeting, held once a year for shareholders to receive the report and accounts, and approve the final dividend, and vote on any resolutions (such as the re-election of directors).

Assets
An asset is something a company owns or has rights to that is used to generate future economic benefit for a company. In most financial statements, assets are divided into two categories; non-current and current (or fixed and liquid). Non-current assets are not acquired with the intent to resell them; rather, they provide the capacity to earn revenue over a certain number of years, for BT, these are mainly; property, plant and equipment (exchange and network), goodwill and licenses, related software and similar items which we use to run our business; and investments in our ventures. Current assets are expected to be converted into cash or used up within one year. For BT, these are principally amounts which we have billed our customers but not yet received, and cash and short-term investments.

Capital gain
The profit made by the buying and selling of shares or other assets.

Capital growth
The rise in the value of an investment.

Charting
Capturing the patterns of the overall market or an individual share price on a line, bar or other type of graph.

Depreciation and amortisation
Depreciation and amortisation spread the cost of assets over their projected lives. Depreciation is a decline in the value of property, plant and equipment due to general wear and tear or obsolescence. Amortisation is the decrease in value of an intangible asset.

Dilution
The reduction in Earnings Per Share that would result if all 'in the money' share options were exercised and met by the issue of new shares or distributions from treasury shares.

Director's emoluments
See Emoluments

Dividend
A taxable payment declared or recommended by a company's board of directors and paid to its shareholders out of the company's current or retained earnings.

Dividend yield
The annual rate of return on an investment, expressed as a percentage. For securities, it is the annual dividends divided by the market price.

Earnings per share
Profit for the financial period divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue during the period.

EGM
Extraordinary General Meeting. Any meeting of a company's shareholders other than its AGM. EGMs are held to enable shareholders to approve special transactions such as large acquisitions, mergers and disposals.

Emoluments
Salary and benefits.

Ex-dividend date
The date, normally two working days before the Record date, following which shares are traded on the basis that the seller retains the right to receive the dividend.

Exercise (of share options)
To use the right of an option to buy a share at the option price.

Final dividend
The dividend recommended by the directors for shareholders' approval at the AGM.

Gearing
Ratio of borrowing minus cash and short-term investments to total share capital and reserves and non-controlling interests. Also known as "leverage".

Goodwill
In an acquisition, goodwill (an intangible asset, such as reputation) appears on the balance sheet of the acquiring company in the amount by which the purchase price exceeds the fair value of the net tangible assets of the acquired company.

Gross
Before tax or other items have been deducted. After the deductions, the amount is described as "net".

Income statement
IFRS and US term for profit and loss account.

Interim dividend
A dividend usually declared part way through a company's financial year, authorised solely by the directors.

Liabilities
Liabilities are obligations to pay or convey assets or provide other economic benefits in the future, based on past transactions. Liabilities are divided into current and non-current. Current liabilities are those obligations that will be settled within one year; non-current liabilities are those expected to be settled after one year of the balance sheet date.

Merger
The joining of two companies.

Net
After tax or other items have been deducted from the "gross" amount.

Non-controlling interests
Previously known as minority interests, these are the rights of other parties (other than the parent company) in subsidiary companies of the group to a proportion of the group's profits or assets.

Non-current liabilities
Non-current liabilities are liabilities of the company that do not have to be paid within one year of the balance sheet date. They include money borrowed on a long-term basis to fund the company’s business activities.

Operating costs
The day-to-day expenses incurred in running a business, such as employees' wages and salaries, supplies, and depreciation.

Other operating income
Income from activities other than normal business operations, such as rental income or profit from the sale of non-current assets.

Preliminary figures
A company's full-year results, announced as a prelude to the publication of the Annual Report & Form 20-F.

Property plant and equipment
See Assets

Proxy
A form by which a shareholder votes without needing to attend an annual or extraordinary general meeting by appointing someone else to vote on his or her behalf. Proxies can also be used to transfer voting authority to another party.

Quote
If a company has a quote (or is quoted), its shares can be bought and sold on the stock market.

Record date
The deadline, determined by a company's board of directors, by when an investor must be recorded as an owner of shares in order to qualify for a forthcoming dividend or share distribution.

Revenue
Income from products and services sold to customers by a company in the normal course of business.

SETS
Stock Exchange Electronic Trading Service - an electronic limit order book used to trade blue chip stocks, including all FTSE-100 stocks.

Share capital and reserves
Share capital is the money shareholders have contributed to the company. Reserves are the profits earned and other resources received by the company that have not been distributed to shareholders.

Shareview
Online service provided by Equiniti enabling shareholders to:

  • access shareholdings and view any recent sales, purchases or transfers;
  • build and manage a full portfolio of shares online;
  • see all dividend information including electronic tax vouchers;
  • update address and/or bank details online; and
  • appoint a proxy at company meetings.

Total Shareholder Return (TSR)
A measure of the returns that a company has provided for its shareholders - comprising share price movement plus dividends reinvested over a stated period.

Treasury shares

Shares in the company which have previously been bought back from the market and held by the company.