A guide to financial terminology

These are some definitions and explanations of the financial terms that are used in the campaigner guide and the report.

Asset management

Asset management means holding or managing shares or bonds that nuclear weapon companies issued either on the investors behalf or on behalf of third parties (which includes the development and/or sale of investment funds containing stocks or debt securities from nuclear weapon companies).


When a company wants to issue new equity, debt or security to investors, a group of underwriters (see below) forms a syndicate who are responsible for the issue. The underwriters form a syndicate to share risks. The book runner is the leading partner of that syndicate. Usually, it manages the largest part of the issuance itself whilst assigning parts of the issuance to the other underwriters.

Commercial banking

Commercial banking includes offering or participating in loans to nuclear weapons producers through either general corporate finance or project finance. Often many financial institutions participate in these loans, while of them coordinates the loan.


Divestment is the opposite of investment: it is the deliberate withdrawal of investment capital, often for political reasons. Disinvestment also means the withdrawal of capital.

Exclusion list

An exclusion list contains companies and/or countries that the financial institution will not invest in. Some financial institutions use an inclusion list instead of an exclusion list: they only invest in a limited number of companies and countries that meet their criteria.

Financial institution

A financial institution is “an entity that is in business to, among other things, accept deposits, make loans, exchange currencies, and broker investment securities.” In the ‘Don’t Bank  on the Bomb’ report, financial institutions identified include banks, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and asset managers.

Forms of investment

The forms of investment discussed in the report include corporate loans, share- and bond issuances, and (managing) investments in shares and bonds. For asset managers and pension funds, the only types of investment listed are (managing) share- and bondholdings of the selected companies.

Investment banking

Investment banking services include helping nuclear weapon companies to sell shares and bonds to investors (asset managers, insurance companies etc.), regardless of how the proceeds are used (most of the time for general corporate purposes), and offering financial advisory services.

Investment made on own account vs third party investment

When a financial institution buys shares or bonds of a company on their own account, they themselves become a share/bondholder in the company. On the other hand, a financial institution can buy shares or bonds on behalf of a third party, which can be a person or an institution such as a pension fund. This often means that the third party is buying shares of an investment fund offered by the financial institution. This fund is managed by asset managers of the financial institution following a certain investment policy.


Banks can offer or participate in loans to nuclear weapon companies through either general corporate financing or project financing.

Nuclear weapon companies

Identified companies involved in producing or maintaining nuclear weapons or significant, specific components thereof. Which share this activity constitutes of the company’s turnover is not relevant.

Privately vs publicly held/owned company

The principal difference between public and privately held companies is that public companies have shares that can be publicly traded on a stock market. A privately held company might become a publicly held company by conducting an initial public offering, which is the offering of shares of the company to the public.

Public vs private pension fund

A public pension fund is regulated under public sector law. A private pension fund is regulated under private sector law.


Securities are financial instruments that are created by combining a number of financial products. The resulting product is then resold to investors in smaller packages. For example, many different mortgages could be combined into one large pool. Investors could then buy a small piece of that pool.

Sovereign wealth fund

A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate or other financial instruments funded by foreign exchange assets. SWFs can be structured as a fund, pool, or corporation.

Substantive involvement in financing

Financial institutions can be involved in financing nuclear weapon companies by providing corporate loans, project finance or working capital facilities; by underwriting share and bond issuances; and by (managing) investments in shares and bonds of these companies.  All loans and underwriting deals since 1 January 2012 are considered to be of substantive importance. Also loans which have been closed before that date but have not yet matured at the time of writing will be included. Bond holdings at the most recent filing date are considered to be substantive if they cross the threshold of 0.5% of the company’s outstanding shares or bonds. Shareholdings at the most recent filing date are considered to be substantive if they cross the threshold of 0.5% of the company’s outstanding shares.


The meaning of the word comes from the time when wealthy banking families would literally write their name under a specific shipping venture, to indicate they were willing to insure the risk of that venture. Today, an underwriter is a company that manages the issuance of bonds or shares by a corporation. The underwriter and the issuing corporation work together to determine the price. The underwriter buys the shares or bonds from the corporation and then sells them to investors.

These are just a few terms that you can come across. For more information, also see the Investopedia dictionary, and the financial terms lexicon of 350.org