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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 22

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Mutual funds

What are mutual funds?

An investment vehicle which is comprised of a pool of funds collected from many investors for the purpose of investing in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market securities, and similar assets. Mutual funds are operated by money mangers, who invest the fund's capital and attempt to produce capital gains and income for the fund's investors. A mutual
fund's portfolio is structured and maintained to match the investment objectives stated in its prospectus.

In business encyclopedia

Mutual funds belong to a group of financial intermediaries known as investment companies, which are in the business of collecting funds from investors and pooling them for the purpose of building a portfolio of securities according to stated objectives. They are also known as open-end investment companies. Other members of the group are closed-end
investment companies (also known as closed-end funds) and unit investment trusts. In the United States, investment companies are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

Mutual funds are generally organized as corporations or trusts, and, as such, they have a board of directors or trustees elected by the shareholders. Almost all aspects of their operations are externally managed. They engage a management company to manage the investment for a fee, generally based on a percentage of the fund's average net assets during
the year. The management company may be an affiliated organization or an independent contractor. They sell their shares to investors either directly or through other firms such as broker-dealers, financial planners, employees of insurance companies, and banks. Even the day-to-day administration of a fund is carried out by an outsider, which may be the
management company or an unaffiliated third party.

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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 30

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Letter of Credit and International Trade

A letter of credit is a document issued mostly by a financial institution which usually provides an irrevocable payment undertaking (it can also be revocable, confirmed, unconfirmed, transferable or others e.g. back to back: revolving but is most commonly irrevocable/confirmed) to a beneficiary against complying documents as stated in the Letter of Credit. Letter of Credit is abbreviated as an LC or L/C, and often is referred to as a documentary credit, abbreviated as DC or D/C, documentary letter of credit, or simply as credit (as in the UCP 500 and UCP 600). Once the beneficiary or a presenting bank acting on its behalf, makes a presentation to the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any, within the expiry date of the LC, comprising documents complying with the terms and conditions of the LC, the applicable UCP and international standard banking practice, the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any, is obliged to honor irrespective of any instructions from the applicant to the contrary. In other words, the obligation to honor (usually payment) is shifted from the applicant to the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any. Non-banks can also issue letters of credit however parties must balance potential risks.

The LC can also be the source of payment for a transaction, meaning that an exporter will get paid by redeeming the letter of credit. Letters of credit are used nowadays primarily in international trade transactions of significant value, for deals between a supplier in one country and a wholesale customer in another. They are also used in the land development
process to ensure that approved public facilities (streets, sidewalks, storm water ponds, etc.) will be built. The parties to a letter of credit are usually a beneficiary who is to receive the money, the issuing bank of whom the applicant is a client, and the advising bank of whom the beneficiary is a client. Since nowadays almost all letters of credit are irrevocable, (i.e.
cannot be amended or cancelled without prior agreement of the beneficiary, the issuing bank, and the confirming bank, if any). However, the applicant is not a party to the letter of credit. In executing a transaction, letters of credit incorporate functions common to giros and Traveler's cheque. Typically, the documents a beneficiary has to present in order to avail him of the credit are commercial invoice, bill of lading, insurance documents. However, the list and form of documents is open to imagination and negotiation and might contain requirements to present documents issued by a neutral third party evidencing the quality of the goods shipped.

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