acronyms you really ought to know

A credit rating agency of the kind that handed out triple-A ratings like confetti and, as the US Fed and scores of other regulators have belatedly recognised, got us into trouble.

One of those invisible backroom EU bodies, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council is actually the grand panjandrum of financial affairs that draws up a €100bn annual budget.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive is the EU’s way of making sure the investment community plays by the same rules right across all Member States.

If we didn’t have a BIT, money would never leave home. Most foreign direct investment travels by virtue of a bilateral investment treaty and there’s well over 2,500 of them connecting some 176 countries.

Buy a suit in Brussels on a credit card issued by Deutsche Postbank and the single euro payments directive makes sure you pay the same transmission charges as if you’d done your shopping around the corner.

A good one to produce in conversations with your CFO, it means financial risk outlook and normally spells trouble.

The SDR is a quasi-currency, meaning you and I can’t use it. Actually a basket of currencies mainly filled by the greenback, they are used to settle accounts between nations. China would like the SDR to become an official “multi-lateral substitute” for the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The latest in IMF-speak, the flexible credit line is a zero-interest loan to low-income nations that are in trouble through no fault of their own. Its close cousin, the precautionary credit line is another emergency stand-by and is usually issued after an EWA, or early warning exercise.

Grandaddy of them all, the Tarnished Asset Relief Programme started it all off. US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner got approval from Congress to spend $700bn to save America’s financial sector after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Pronounced roughly “see-ops”, it stands for the committee of insurance and occupational pensions supervisors. Ceiops is all about making sure firms are up to speed on their solvency capital requirements (SCR, to insiders) and members are burning the midnight oil coming up to the implementation of Solvency II (S2).


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