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What is a Bond Purchase Agreement?

If a municipality or company decides to issue bonds, they will need to form an alliance with an underwriting entity to help them price and distribute the bonds, and the Purchase Agreement outlines their contract. Underwriters on debt issues are normally large investment banks. They help the issuer, which could be a city government or company, structure the bonds and price them in a way that is suitable to their needs, and also agrees to help them distribute them. Continue reading...

What is the commodity futures trading commission?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an independent government agency that regulates the futures market. Futures are not considered securities, so the CFTC has jurisdiction over such exchanges while the SEC does not. The CFTC is the regulatory authority for the futures trade. This includes futures on currency, indexes, and stocks. Futures are not technically considered securities, because a security is defined as a contract that depends on the performance of a third party, while futures contracts only depend on two people. Any options that stem from futures are considered securities, however. Continue reading...

What kind of venture capital funds exist?

Different venture capital firms focus on different types of funding. Some are more attuned to late-stage funding for proven companies who still have not gone public, while others prefer to help startups with bright futures. There are large venture capital firms, which might invest in any start-up company, as long as they think that the company has potential. There are also more narrow VC firms specializing only in one or a small number of industries, such as clean energy, or semiconductors. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Records?

Accounting records are the supporting documents that verify the history of transactions, audits, and reports. Accounting documents are sometimes required to be kept on file for a certain number of years. They may be paper or electronic records. Records may include point-of-sale documents such as receipts and invoices, as well as inventory delivery and audit records, and the results of internal and third-party audits from various periods. Continue reading...

What is Form 8891?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 8891 was previously used by individuals with retirement plans held in Canada when they were living in America, each time they took distributions. The process proved to be cumbersome for many good-natured Canadians, and caused the IRS a lot of trouble as well. This form has been retired in favor of an acknowledgement on the IRS Form 1040. Form 8891 is no longer used, which came as a relief to many Canadian-Americans who had retirement plans from work they did in Canada. Certain filing requirements still exist, such as a new form replacing the FBAR, for foreign bank accounts, now called the FinCEN Form 114. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trading advisor (CTA)?

A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) to manage client funds in a managed futures account (MFA) or other pooled investment such as a hedge fund or commodity pool in which the primary instruments being used are commodity futures, swaps, and other commodities derivatives. CTAs are a particular type of money manager specializing in commodities. Commodities Trading Advisors (CTAs) are licensed to manage commodity pools, managed futures accounts, and commodity-based hedge funds on behalf of clients. Continue reading...

What is a commodity?

A commodity is usually a raw material or agricultural good which has an extremely high demand and very little price differentiation between competitors. If a good will not increase or decrease significantly in quality regardless of who brings it to market, and the demand is very high (such as for a good used in the production of many other products) it might be considered a commodity. Examples would be oil, silver, gold, steel and wheat, but a full list would be very extensive. Continue reading...

What is the Investment Company Act of 1940?

The ‘40 Act, as it’s sometimes called, defined and delineated rules for investment companies, which today are known as mutual funds, investment trusts, ETFs, and so on. The ‘40 Act, along with the Securities Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, have formed the foundation for regulation in the investment industry in the US. The ‘40 Act defines investment companies and stipulates how they are to represent themselves and disclose information about the funds they sell to the public. Continue reading...

What is a commodities futures contract?

Commodities Futures are one of the most highly traded securities in the world, and it is partially because nothing has to be delivered by the participants as in a spot-trading market. Futures can be purchased on margin, opening up large positions, long or short, and if a trader finds a place to exit before the settlement date of the contract, the trader will buy/sell to close his or her position, and the exchange will regard the trader’s position as flat, and nonexistent for all intents and purposes. Continue reading...

What is Form 1045: Application for a Tentative Refund?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 1045 can be used to apply for a refund that might carry-back of up to 5 years, if an individual or trust has overpaid on their taxes, finds Net Operating Losses (NOL), or has section 1256 losses to carry-back. The 1045 is meant to be the quickest way to get a carry-back refund. Net Operating Losses from a pass-through entity or business can be carried back up to 5 years now, according to updates to IRC 172(h). Section 1256, which applies to futures contract investing, will allow a carry-back of losses in a 3-year time frame. For such carry-backs, the standard filing is IRS Form 1045. Continue reading...

What is the commodity market?

The commodity market is an international network of exchanges which trade commodity spot contracts, futures contracts, and derivatives. The largest commodities exchange in the world is the CME Group in Chicago. Futures are a large part of commodities trading, and the commodities futures market includes currency futures and swaps, index futures and single-stock futures, and other derivatives based on futures contracts. Continue reading...

What is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

An RIA is an asset manager that is registered with the SEC (in whatever state(s) they operate) and complies with certain rules and regulations. RIAs typically earn their revenues through management fees, which are almost always based as a percentage of assets under management — the average management fee is between 1% - 2%. Having management fees as a percentage of assets allows for the interest of both parties to align - as the assets grow, so does the nominal amount of fees the RIA earns. Continue reading...

Should I invest in commodities?

Investing in commodities has lately become accessible to even small retail investors via ETFs. There are now literally hundreds of different commodity ETFs, linked to various individual commodities and baskets (such as agricultural baskets, commodity indices, etc.) These instruments are very complex and sometimes do not reflect the behavior of the underlying commodity. While investing in commodities may significantly diversify your portfolio, it requires profound knowledge of the behavior of the underlying assets. Continue reading...

What is commodity-product spread?

The commodity-product spread is the difference between the price of a commodity and the price of the products at the next level of consumption which is made from the commodity. In the oil industry, this is known as the crack spread, in the soybean industry, it is known as the crush spread. Some pre-packaged long/short futures strategies that trade on this spread are offered on futures exchanges. The commodity-products spread is the difference in prices between a raw material and a product made from it, such as raw crude and gasoline. This difference gives a rough estimate of production costs and profit margin. Continue reading...

What is a commodity pool?

Commodity pools are like the REITs of the commodity world, and some of them can be categorized as hedge funds or managed futures accounts (MFAs). Accredited investors, who meet qualifying requirements regarding income and total net worth, pool their money to be managed by a commodity pool operator (CPO) or commodity trading advisor (CTA) for the purpose of investing in commodities and commodity derivative instruments. Continue reading...

What is the CME?

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, now known as the CME group, is the largest derivatives exchange in the world, and one of the oldest. It has historically served as a major international exchange for commodities futures and options on those futures, along with the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, which are now part of the CME Group. The CME Group is now comprised of what used to be several futures exchanges: CME, the CBOT, and the NYMEX. Historically these markets traded in traditional commodities and their futures, and Chicago was the most likely location for such an exchange, being at the hub of the Midwest. Continue reading...

What is an ADV form?

A form ADV can be requested to find out all about the fees and professional backgrounds of a financial advisory firm. Firms who engage in the solicitation of securities or give investment advice must file form ADV with the SEC and keep it updated, usually on an annual basis. It is similar to the form U4 that individual securities-licensed professionals must submit and keep updated in the event of changes of address, tax liens, industry disciplinary actions, and so forth, but the ADV is filed on behalf of a firm instead of an individual. FINRA and the NASAA keep up with the filings as well. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trader?

Commodity traders must at least pass the FINRA Series 3 exam, which focuses on the commodities market exclusively. The term “trader” is often used in reference to the people at an investment firm who work on the actual trading desk, sometimes executing trade orders from the front office but also trading for the account of the firm and sometimes giving investment advice. Traders often have a role to seek out and engage in trades that will improve the portfolio of the firm at which they are employed and benefit the clients of the firm. Commodity traders could work for a commodity pool or they could be a commodity specialist at a firm focused on a wider variety of investing. Continue reading...

How do I Invest in commodities?

Commodities can be acquired through brokerage services that can access the commodities markets, or you can buy the stocks of companies that bring commodities to market. Investors can also gain exposure to commodities through mutual funds and ETFs that focus on them. There are a few ways to invest in commodities. One simple way is to purchase the stock of companies that produce commodities. You can also invest through futures contracts, which are agreements to buy a certain amount of a commodity at a certain price at some point in the future; this is the primary way that commodities are traded. They can also trade at spot, which means at the current price, or through the use of other derivative instruments, such as options on futures contracts. Continue reading...

What is the FCC?

The Federal Communications Commission is a bipartisan regulatory body that oversees interstate communications media, grants licenses to entities which plan to use the bands available, and to some extent regulates the content of these communications in the public interest. Communications media, including radio, satellite, cable, telephone, and others, are overseen and regulated by the FCC. They help to standardize measures and regulate the commercial activity of the entities which seek to use these media, including licensing and content regulation. Continue reading...