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what is Finance? Definition and Overview


Finance is a term for money, investment management, creation, and study. Note: Specifically, it addresses the question of how an individual, company, or government receives money – which is called capital in the business context – and how they spend or invest that money. Do Finance is then further divided into the following broad categories: personal finance, corporate finance, and public finance.

At the same time, and accordingly, finance is about the aggregate system, that is, the financial markets that allow money to flow, through investments and other financial instruments, between and within these places, This flow is facilitated by the financial services sector. Therefore, finance refers to the study of securities markets, including derivatives, and the institutions that act as intermediaries for these markets, thus enabling the flow of money through the economy.

Thus an important focus within finance is investment management – called money management for individuals and asset management for institutions – and then in finance securities trading and stockbroking, investment banking, financial engineering, and risk. Includes management-related activities. These sectors are primarily asset valuations, such as stocks, bonds, loans, and extensions, to entire companies. Asset allocation, a mix of portfolio investments, is fundamental here as well.

Although they are closely related, the economics and finance sectors are separate. The economy is a social institution that regulates the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services by society, all of which require financial support. Similarly, although these sectors overlap the financial work of the accounting profession, financial accounting is the reporting of historical financial information, while finance is at the forefront.

Given its wide scope, finance is studied in many academic fields, and accordingly, there are many relevant degrees and professional certifications that can lead to this field.

The Financial system

As mentioned above, the financial system consists of the flow of capital between individuals (personal finance), governments (public finance), and businesses (corporate finance). Thus “finance” studies the process of transferring money from savers and investors to the institutions that need it. There is money available to savers and investors who can earn interest or profit on effective use. Individuals, companies, and governments must obtain money from an external source, such as loans or credits, when they lack sufficient funds to operate.

Generally, an entity whose income exceeds its expenses can lend or make additional investments, to make a reasonable profit. Similarly, an institution where income is less than expenses can generally raise capital in one of two ways: (i) by borrowing in the form of debt (private individuals), or by selling government or corporate bonds. An (ii) Through a corporation that sells equity, also called stocks or shares (which may have different forms: preferred stock or common stock). Owners of both bonds and stocks can be institutional investors – financial institutions such as investment banks and pension funds – or private individuals, called private investors or retail investors.

Debt is often indirect, through financial intermediaries such as banks, or the purchase of notes or bonds (corporate bonds, government bonds, or mutual bonds) in the bond market. The lender receives interest, the borrower pays more interest to the lender, and the financial arbitrator makes a difference in arranging the loan. A bank collects the activities of many lenders and lenders. The bank accepts deposits from lenders, on which it pays interest. The bank then lends the deposits to the borrowers. Banks allow lenders of different sizes and borrowers to coordinate their activities.

Investments usually involve the purchase of stocks, either through individual securities, or, for example, through mutual funds. Stocks are usually sold by corporations to investors to raise the required capital in the form of “equity financing”, as opposed to financing loans mentioned above. The financial intermediaries here are investment banks. Investment banks look for start-up investors and facilitate the listing of securities, usually shares and bonds. In addition, they facilitate the exchange of securities, which then allows them to trade, as well as the various service providers that manage the performance or risk of these investments. The latter include mutual funds, pension funds, wealth managers, and stockbrokers, which typically serve retail investors (private individuals).

Areas of Finance

As above, in finance, broadly, there are three areas of personal finance, corporate finance, and public finance. Although they are numerous, other areas, such as investment, risk management, quantitative finance / financial engineering, and development finance, generally overlap. Similarly, specific arrangements such as public-private partnerships.

Personal Finance

Personal finance is defined as “planning for financial expenses and savings, while also considering the potential for future risk”. Personal finances can include payments for education, financing of durable goods such as real estate and cars, purchase insurance, investments, and savings for retirement. Personal finances may also include the payment of a debt or other debt obligations. The most important areas of personal finance are income, expenditure, savings, investment, and security. The following measures, as outlined by the Financial Planning Standards Board, suggest that an individual will consider a potentially secure personal financial plan afterward.

  • Buying insurance to ensure protection from unforeseen personal events.
  • Understand the effects of tax policies, subsidies, or penalties on the management of personal finances.
  • Understanding the effects of credit on individual financial status.
  • Creating a savings plan or financing for large purchases (auto, education, home).
  • Planning a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability.
  • Checking and/or following a savings account.
  • Preparing for retirement or other long-term expenses.
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Corporate Finance

Corporate finance deals with measures related to the value of the firm for managing shareholders, the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. Although corporate finance differs in principle from management finance, which studies the financial management of all firms rather than just corporations, the concepts apply to the financial problems of all firms, and the area is often referred to as “business finance”.

  • Capital budgeting is about investing in select projects – here, pricing is important, as decisions about asset values ​​can be made or broken.
  • Dividend Policy: Use of Extra Funds – Whether to Re-Invest in the Business or Return to Shareholders.
  • Capital Structure: Deciding on the mix of funds used – here is an attempt to find the best combination of cost of capital versus debt promises.
  • The latter relates to investment banking and securities trading, as above, the capital accumulated in it will usually consist of debt, namely corporate bonds, and equity, often listed shares. Re-manage risk within corporates, see below.

Financial regulators – as opposed to corporate financiers – focus more on the short-term elements of profit, cash flow, and “working capital management” (inventory, credit, and lenders), while ensuring that firms are securely And be able to conduct their financial affairs in a profitable manner. Operational objectives; That is, it can: (1) serve both short-term debt payments and fixed long-term loan payments, and (2) have sufficient cash flow for current and future operational expenses. See Financial Management; Roles and Financial Analysts; Corporate & Others.

Public Finance

Public finance refers to finance agencies, relevant public institutions, sub-national institutions, and sovereign states. It generally incorporates a long-term strategic approach to investment decisions that affect public institutions. These long-term strategic periods typically span five years or more. Public finance is primarily concerned with:

Identification of required expenditures of a local sector entity.

  • Source (s) of that entity’s revenue.
  • The budgeting process.
  • municipal bonds Debt issuance, or, for public works projects.

Federal Reserve Bank banks in the United States, such as the Central Bank, and the Bank of England in the United Kingdom, are strong players in public finance. They act as credit conditions in the economy. The latter tactics have a strong impact on lenders as well as the financial system.

Investment Management

Investment management is the management of professional assets of various securities – usually shares and bonds, but also other assets, such as real estate and commodities – to meet specific investment goals for the benefit of investors.

As mentioned above, investors can be institutions, such as insurance companies, pension funds, corporations, charities, educational institutions, or private investors, either through direct investment agreements or, in general, collective investments. Schemes such as mutual funds, or REITs exchange-traded or funds

At the heart of investment management is the distribution of assets – between these asset classes, and diversifying the exposure between individual securities within each asset class – as appropriate to the client’s investment policy, in turn, Risk profile, investment goals, and investment horizon work.

Quantitative Finance

Quantitative finance – also called “mathematical finance” – includes financing activities that require a sophisticated mathematical model, and thus overlap many of the above. As an area of ​​specialized practice, quantitative finance consists of three main disciplines. The basic theories and techniques are discussed in the next section.

  • Quantitative finance is often synonymous with financial engineering. This place typically covers the bank’s customer-driven derivative business – supplying default OTC exotics and contracts, designing the various structured products mentioned – and programming and modeling support of the initial trade. , And includes subsequent hedging and management.
  • Quantitative finance also significantly overlaps financial risk management in banking, as mentioned, in terms of hedging, and in terms of compliance with regulations and Basel Capital/liquidity requirements.
  • Quantum is also responsible for developing and deploying investment strategies on the quantitative funds mentioned. They typically include trading strategy formulation, and quantitative investments in areas such as automated trading, high-frequency trading, algorithmic trading, and program trading.

Financial Theory

The DCF valuation formula is widely applied in business and finance, as stated in 1938. Here, in order to obtain the value of the firm, its predicted free cash flow is discounted to the current using the weighted average cost of capital for the discount factor. Investors use the relevant dividend discount model for share valuation.

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The financial theory is studied and managed in the fields of (financial) economics, accountancy, and applied mathematics. In summary, finance relates to the investment and deployment of assets and liabilities in “space and time”. That is, it is about valuation and asset allocation today based on the risk and uncertainty of future outcomes while incorporating the time value of money properly. Determining the present value of these futures values ​​should be at the appropriate discount rate for the “discount” risk, consequently, a major focus of finance theory. Since the debate over whether finance is an art or a science is still open, there have been recent attempts to compile a list of unresolved issues in finance.

Managerial Finance

Management is a branch of financial management that deals with the management application of financial techniques and theories, emphasizing the financial aspects of management decisions. The assessment is in line with the planning, directing, and management approach. Techniques addressed primarily from management accounting and corporate finance: allow a better understanding of past arrangements, and therefore apply, financial information related to profitability and performance; The latter, as above, is about improving the overall financial structure, including its effects on working capital. Implementation of these techniques-That is financial management – as described above. Academics working in the area are usually based in business school finance departments, accounting, or management sciences.

Financial Economics

Financial economics is the branch of economics that studies the interrelationship of financial variables, such as prices, interest rates, and shares, as opposed to real economic variables, ie goods, and services. As such, it focuses on pricing, decision-making, and risk management in financial markets, and develops many commonly used financial models. Financial economics is the branch of financial economics that uses economical techniques to parameterize proposed relationships.

There are two main areas of discipline: asset pricing and theoretical corporate finance; The first is the point of view of investors, ie the point of view of investors, and the second is the point of view of users. Respectively

  • The Asset Pricing Theory develops models used in determining the appropriate discount rate for risk and in the pricing derivatives. The analysis basically explores how rational investors will apply risk and return to the problem of investing in uncertainty. The two hypotheses of rationality and market performance lead to modern portfolio theory (CAPM) and black-schools theory for option valuation. often in response to financial crises –  and  At more advanced levels – The study then extends these neoclassical models to include phenomena where they do not have assumptions, or to more general settings. The principle of asset pricing also includes the concept of investing in portfolio- and portfolio management.
  • Most corporate finance theories, by contrast, consider investing under “certainty” (Fisher’s separation theory, “investment value theory”, and Modigliani-Miller theorem). Here are the theories and methods for deciding on funding, profitability, and capital structure discussed above. One recent development is the inclusion of uncertainties and emergencies – and thus various elements of asset prices – in these decisions, for example, the analysis of real options.

Experimental Finance

The purpose of experimental finance is to establish different market settings and environments so that it can be experimentally observed and provide a lens through which the behavior of science agents and trade flow, dissemination of information, and accumulation, pricing can be determined. Analyze the procedure, and the features that result from the return process. Experimental finance researchers can study the accuracy of current financial economics theories and therefore try to prove them as well as discover new principles on which this theory is based. And can be applied to future financial decisions. Research can move forward through trading simulations or by establishing and studying people’s behavior in settings such as artificial, competitive, markets.

Behavioral Finance

Behavior finance studies how the psychology of investors or managers affects financial decisions and markets and is relevant when making decisions that can have a negative or positive effect on one of their sectors. The practice of finance has become an integral part of finance over the last few decades

Behavior finance includes topics such as.

  • Experimental studies that show significant deviations from classical theories.
  • A model of how psychology affects and influences trade and prices.
  • Predictions based on these methods.
  • Study of experimental asset markets and use of models for experimental prediction.


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