The business world is always evolving, but the terminology used to describe the latest technological developments and business innovations can sometimes make them seem much more confusing and complicated than they actually are. Here’s a list of 10 financial buzzwords that you have probably heard a lot in the past year without ever knowing what the heck they actually mean.
1. Biometrics: Technology that uses physical characteristics of the user, such as voice or facial recognition software or fingerprint ID sensors, to ensure secure access.
2. Blockchain: The technology behind digital currencies like bitcoin that provides an open ledger of transactions and authenticates information securely among participants.
3. Brexit: This year, Great Britain will vote on the possibility of a British exit (“Brexit”) from the Eurozone, which would once again make Britain’s economy independent from the rest of Europe.
4. EMV: An acronym for EuroPay, Mastercard Inc MA and Visa Inc V the three companies that have been the driving force behind the new global chip card standard for secure credit card transactions.
5. Fintech: The new wave of technology-driven financial products and services (such as roboadvisors and neobanks) that threatens to disrupt the traditional financial services industry.
6. Lower for longer: A catchphrase among oil analysts that refers to the likelihood that crude oil prices will likely remain depressed for a longer period of time than the industry initially thought.
7. NIRP: NIRP is an acronym for Negative Interest Rate Policy, which refers to the experimental stimulus measures taken by several global central banks in recent years that require savers pay interest on savings.
8. Smart Beta: A vaguely-defined phrase generally used to describe the use of rules-based trading strategies to attempt to outperform financial markets by capitalizing on market inefficiencies.
9. Stack: A suite of software that works together to achieve a common goal (product stack, sales stack, etc.).
10. Unicorn: Wildly successful billion-dollar tech startups like Uber and Snapchat that have such unlikely stories that they seem as hard to find for investors as unicorns.
Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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