Full Word List


If an acronym in this list precedes its spelled-out meaning, it generally does not need to be spelled out on first mention. If an acronym is not included in this list, spell it out on first mention.

For hyphenation guidance, consult the CMS hyphenation table (PDF).

For current information regarding CFA Institute trademarks, please see the Guide for Use of CFA Institute Marks. For current information regarding a company name, please consult that company’s website.

Consult the American Heritage Dictionary for words not found in this list. Our preference is to use the first listed entry in AHD.

Tip: To search for a word in this list easily, use the “find” function on your web browser, or enter CTRL + F.


  • 401(k) plan, 401(k)s
  • 10-K, 10-Q


  • AAA bond (or AA bond) (use the article “a” not “an”; do not use a hyphen in “AA rated company”)
  • adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
  • adviser
  • AMEX (American Stock Exchange)
  • Asia Pacific (n); Asia-Pacific (adj.)—but note that the APAC office always leaves it open as an adjective in their material
  • asset allocation (adj.)
  • asset-backed security (ABS)
  • asset/liability management
  • CFA Institute Asset Manager Code (first mention), Asset Manager Code or the Code (subsequent mentions); Do not use AMC
  • Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR, predecessor of CFA Institute)
  • autocorrelated


  • backorder (n., v.; also, backordering)
  • backtest (n., adj., v.)
  • before-tax (adj.)
  • below-investment-grade (adj.)
  • bid–ask spread (en dash)
  • bitcoin
  • Black–Scholes option pricing model (en dash)
  • bps (basis points) (Use bps when used with a number—5 bps. When used without a number, spell it out.)
  • broker/dealer
  • buy-and-hold (adj.)
  • buy-in (n., adj.)
  • buy side (n.), buy-side (adj.)


  • callability
  • Candidate Body of Knowledge (not the CFA Body of Knowledge)
  • CAPM (capital asset pricing model)
  • capital gains (adj.)
  • carryforward
  • cash-back (n., adj.)
  • cash flow (adj.)
  • cents (spell out in text)
  • CEO (chief executive officer)
  • CFA Institute Investment Foundations (previously the Claritas Investment Certificate and Claritas Program)
  • CFA Institute Research Challenge
  • CFA Institute Research Foundation
  • CFA Program
  • CFA Program Partners
  • CFA Society® (adj.); member society (n.)
  • charterholder
  • chi-square (n., adj.)
  • CIPM Program
  • Code of Ethics (for the CFA Institute Code of Ethics)
  • commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS)
  • commingled real estate funds (CREFs)
  • commodity trading advisers (CTAs)
  • conflict-of-interest (adj.)
  • core–satellite (adj.)
  • corporates (corporate bonds)
  • cross-hedging
  • cross-rate
  • CRSP (Center for Research in Security Prices)
  • cybersecurity


  • dataset
  • debt–equity swap (en dash)
  • debtholder
  • decision maker
  • decision making (n.); decision-making (adj.)
  • defined benefit (adj.)
  • defined contribution (adj.)
  • derivatives (derivative securities)
  • DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) (“the Dow” is also acceptable for publications in which it seems more appropriate, but spell it out first)


  • EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes)
  • EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)
  • email
  • EMU (Economic and Monetary Union)
  • EPS (earnings per share)
  • equal-weighted (adj.) [but equally weighted (adj.)]
  • equityholder
  • ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974)
  • EU (European Union) (formerly European Community, or EC)
  • euro (EMU currency)
  • eurocurrency
  • Eurodollar
  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
  • eurozone
  • ex ante
  • exchange rate (adj.)
  • exchange-traded fund (ETF)
  • ex post


  • Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association)
  • Fed (Federal Reserve Board) (FRB) [use “the Fed” as a noun but just “Fed” as an adj. (“Fed policy”)]
  • federal funds rate
  • Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) (use “the FASB” as a noun, but not “the” as an adjective: “FASB policy”)
  • Financial Analysts Federation (FAF, a forerunner of AIMR and CFA Institute)
  • fintech
  • fixed income (n.); fixed-income (adj.)
  • floating-rate (adj.)
  • forward rate agreement
  • Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
  • fund of funds (n.), fund-of-funds (adj.), funds of funds (pl.)


  • GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles)
  • GDP (gross domestic product)
  • generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (GARCH)
  • Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association)
  • Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS)
  • GNP (gross national product)
  • governments (government agency bonds)
  • G–7 (Group of Seven) (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States; en dash)
  • G–30 (en dash)


  • health care (n., adj.)
  • heteroskedastic, -ity
  • high-net-worth investor
  • high-water mark
  • high-yield market (also known as junk-bond market)
  • a history, or a historical study (not “an”)
  • homoskedastic, -ity


  • I/B/E/S
  • independently and identically distributed (i.i.d.)
  • insider-trading (adj.)
  • Institutional Investor teams: for stocks, the [date] All-America Research Team; for bonds, the [date] All-America Fixed-Income Research Team
  • Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA, a forerunner of AIMR and CFA Institute)
  • interest-only securities [short forms: “IO security,” “IO strip(s),” or “IOs”]
  • interest rate (n., adj.)
  • internet
  • interquartile
  • in-the-money (adj.)
  • investment-grade (adj.)
  • IPO (initial public offering)
  • IRA (individual retirement account)
  • IRS (Internal Revenue Service)


  • junk-bond (adj.)


  • large-cap (adj.) (large-capitalization OK too)
  • least-squares (adj.)
  • Level I, Level II, Level III (for the CFA Program exams)
  • LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate)
  • life-cycle (adj.)
  • live stream (not Livestream, unless referring to the software company/platform)
  • login (n., adj.); log in (v.)
  • long-only (adj.)
  • long–short (adj.) (en dash)


  • M1, M2 (money supply)
  • macroprudential
  • management discussion and analysis (MD&A)
  • mark-to-market statement
  • market-capitalization weight (“market-cap weight” after first mention)
  • market maker
  • market timer (n.)
  • market-timing (adj.)
  • marketwide
  • mean reversion
  • mean–variance (adj.) (en dash)
  • mean–variance-efficient (adj.) (en dash, hyphen)
  • merger and acquisition (M&A)
  • midcap (adj.) (mid-cap when in series with small-cap and large-cap; be consistent within piece)
  • money market (adj.)
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • mortgage-backed (adj.)
  • mortgage-backed security (MBS)
  • mortgage market (not mortgages market)
  • MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International)
  • municipal market (not municipals market)


  • NA = not available; na = not applicable
  • naive (do not use umlaut)
  • naiveté
  • NASDAQ (but the NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. if full name is needed)
  • new-home prices (meaning “prices of new homes”)
  • no-action letter
  • Nobel Laureate [name]
  • Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (full name: the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel)
  • not-for-profit (preferred over “nonprofit” when referring to CFA Institute)
  • NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) (NYSE’s Trade and Quotes database is TAQ)


  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development)
  • off-balance-sheet (adj.)
  • off-market (adj.)
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)
  • open-end fund
  • open-market (adj.)
  • OTC (over the counter)
  • out-of-the-money (adj.) (but “the option was out of the money”)


  • P/E (price-to-earnings ratio)
  • payout (n., adj.); pay out (v.)
  • percentage points (pps)
  • premier (a government officer)
  • premiere (a first time)
  • premium, premiums
  • Presidents Council Representatives (PCRs)
  • price cutting (n.)
  • PRIME (a unit investment trust consisting of the income-producing portion of stock; stands for “prescribed right to income and maximum equity”; see also “SCORE”)
  • principal-only security(ies) [full name: “stripped principal-only mortgage-backed (or asset-backed) security”; short forms: “PO security(ies),” “PO strip(s),” or “POs”]
  • profit and loss (P&L) statement
  • profit-sharing (adj.)
  • property and casualty (P&C) insurance
  • prudent man rule, prudent expert rule, prudent person rule
  • put–call parity (en dash)


  • R&D (research and development)
  • R2 (meaning R squared, the coefficient of determination)
  • real-time (adj.)
  • Recognized Universities (part of the CFA Institute University Recognition Program)
  • record keeping (n.)
  • reengineering
  • REIT (real estate investment trust)
  • repo (repurchase agreement)
  • research, design, and engineering (RD&E)
  • reverse-engineer (v.); reverse engineering (n.)
  • risk-adjusted (adj.)
  • risk management (adj.)
  • risk–return trade-off (en dash, hyphen)
  • ROE (return on equity)
  • ROI (return on investment)
  • rule book
  • Rule 144(a); 144(a) securities [short form: 144(a)s]


  • S&P 500 Index (S&P 500)
  • sales (or “selling”), general, and administration (or “administrative”) (SG&A)
  • Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)
  • savings and loan (S&L)
  • savings–investment gap (en dash)
  • SCORE (a unit investment trust consisting of the appreciation potential of stock; stands for “special claim on residual equity”; see also “PRIME”)
  • SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)
  • security analysis (not securities analysis)
  • security market (not securities market)
  • sell-off (n., adj.); sell off (v.)
  • sell side (n.); sell-side (adj.)
  • sizable
  • small-cap (adj.) (small-capitalization OK too)
  • Societe Generale (no accents on letters)
  • Society Leadership Conference (SLC)
  • soft dollar (adj.)
  • SPX option (option on the S&P 500)
  • Standards & Advocacy (formerly Standards and Financial Market Integrity division of CFA Institute)
  • Standard & Poor’s (S&P) (when referring to the corporation)
  • Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipts (SPDRs or “Spiders”)
  • Standards of Professional Conduct (for CFA Institute Standards)
  • Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (FAS)
  • Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) No. 123, Accounting for Stock-Based Compensation (follow same style for ASC, IAS, etc. standards)
  • stock-keeping unit (SKU)
  • straight-line accounting (SLA)
  • strip (has become generic in lowercase; originally, short for a US Treasury program called “Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal Securities,” STRIP)
  • swap market (not swaps market)


  • takeover (n., adj.); take over (v.)
  • T-bill, T-bond, T-note (Treasury)
  • third-party (adj.)
  • time-series (adj.)
  • Tobin’s q
  • top five, top 10, etc. (n., adj.)
  • trade-off
  • transaction (not plural) costs
  • Treasuries (US Treasury securities, T-bills, T-bonds)
  • Treasury–Eurodollar spread (TED spread) (en dash)
  • trendline
  • t-statistic
  • turnaround (n., adj.); turn around (v.)


  • UK and US (use for adjective only)
  • UN (United Nations)
  • uncorrelated
  • undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) when referring to funds under UCITS; Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) when referring to the directive
  • unhedged
  • upcycle


  • value added [used as a noun; preferred form of standalone noun is “added value” (e.g., “Not all parts of the company benefited from the added value.” But OK are “the value added by this strategy,” “the value added from stock picking,” etc.)]
  • value at risk (VaR)
  • vector autoregression (VAR)
  • vice chair


  • Washington, DC (not D.C.)
  • the web
  • Wi-Fi
  • Wilshire 5000 Index (Wilshire 5000)
  • World War II
  • wrap-fee (adj.)


  • x-axis


  • y-axis
  • Yankee bonds (don’t shorten to “Yankees”)


  • Z-score (italic Z; as noun and adjective)
  • zero-coupon (adj.)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s