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The alternative corporate finance glossary: a cynic’s guide

31 August 2017
Charlie Corbett

Ahead of the Euromoney Corporate Financing Forum on 21st September in central London, I’ve assembled an alternative glossary of terms we’ll be hearing a great deal of on the day.

Warning: this blog contains traces of satire

Brexit: An exercise in fury. Furious speculation meets furious debate, leading to an infuriating lack of answers.
Capital structure: Classical byzantine edifice - comprehensively excavated and rebuilt after severe earthquakes in 2009 – and now picked through and studied exhaustively by regulators. (Banca Jenga Italiano).

Duration: A word used by bond investors at times of high market stress. As in: “don’t worry, we’re here for the duration.”

Cash forecasting: An attempt to predict what will happen next year by looking at what happened this year. Otherwise referred to as ‘chasing the Black Swan’.

The right funding mix: Elusive and ethereal state of enduring peace. Much sought by treasurers, rarely achieved. A corporate nirvana.

Green bond: A class of fixed-income security that aims to combine conscience with coupons. Currently an accolade that is self-bestowed.

Yield hunting: A fixed-income blood sport. The unflappable in pursuit of the unachievable (with apologies to Oscar Wilde).

Liquidity management: Finding a way to pay if the balloon goes up again. A leading finance industry (sleep) disruptor.

Non-performing loan: A once abundant global pest, mostly eradicated in developed markets, but still flourishing in pockets of Europe. Impossible to see with the human eye and resistant to most forms of regulatory pesticide. Peculiarly attracted to PIGS.

Fintech: A catch-all term used by management consultants to frighten their more traditional banking clients.

Normalisation: A process by which toothpaste is inserted back into its tube after it’s been hit by a hammer. Popular after-dinner game played by central bankers (replaced the formerly popular, QE).

QE: A-la-mode activity among central bankers for much of the last decade, but now falling out of fashion. Replaced by normalisation (see above).

Rate hikes: Infinitesimal movements in rates in an upwards direction. Observable only under a microscope and easily reversed.

Regulatory harmonisation: An impossible dream, or fantasy, propagated by optimists and governments.

If anyone has any more corporate-finance related definitions to add, please comment below. Or email

See you on September 21st!

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