Glossary and Acronyms


Accrual cost
A method of accounting based on recording revenue and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when cash is exchanged.
Bank Bill Swap Rates (BBSW)
Reference rates for bank bills accepted by approved banks published each business day by the Australian Financial Markets Association.
Basis point
One hundredth of one per cent.
An index or notional portfolio used as a point of reference for the management of an actual portfolio or the measurement of its performance.
Bid-ask spread
The difference between the price (or yield) at which a market maker is willing to buy and sell a particular financial product or instrument.
Book value
(also known as carrying amount) The amount at which an asset or liability is recognised in the balance sheet. Under a fair value methodology, measurement is by reference to current market rates. Under an historic cost methodology, measurement is by reference to market value rates at the time the transaction giving rise to the asset or liability was conducted. The AOFM’s assets and liabilities are measured at fair value, except for Australian Government advances to State and Territory governments for public housing, which are measured at historic cost.
Cash Management Portfolio
The Cash Management Portfolio is a part of the overall portfolio of assets and liabilities managed by the AOFM. It contains short-term assets and liabilities and is used to manage the within-year variability in the Government’s cash flows.
Commonwealth Government securities (CGS)
Debt obligations of the Commonwealth evidenced by the issue of securities or, nowadays, issued as inscribed stock. CGS on issue are predominantly Treasury Bonds, Treasury Indexed Bonds and Treasury Notes but also include small residual volumes of Australian Savings Bonds, Peace Saving Certificates and War Saving Certificates.
Coupon rate
The rate of fixed interest payment on a bond. In the case of Treasury Bonds coupon interest is payable semi-annually and the coupon rate is set on the date of announcement of first issuance of the bond line.
Credit risk
The risk of financial loss arising from a counterparty to a transaction defaulting on its financial obligations under that transaction. Credit risk is contingent on both a default taking place and there being pecuniary loss as a result. The AOFM faces credit risk in relation to its interest rate swap and investment transactions.
Credit spread
The difference in yield between different securities due to different credit quality. The credit spread reflects the additional net yield an investor can earn from a security with more credit risk relative to one with less credit risk.
The amount by which the value of a security is less than its face, or par, value.
Calculating the present value of a future amount.
Duration (expressed in years) represents the ‘effective term’ of a bond. It is the weighted average life of a bond or a portfolio of bonds. The weights are the relative cash flows associated with the bond or portfolio (the coupon payments and principal), discounted to their present value. See modified duration.
The amount of money at risk in a portfolio. Exposure to a risk is calculated by measuring the current mark-to-market value that is exposed to that risk.
Face value
The amount of money indicated on a security, or inscribed in relation to a security, as being due to be paid on maturity.
Fixed leg
The component of an interest rate swap that provides interest at a fixed rate.
Fixed rate
An interest rate calculated as a constant percentage of the face value or notional principal and generally payable quarterly semi-annually or annually. Treasury Bonds pay a fixed coupon rate semi-annually.
Floating leg
The component of an interest rate swap that provides for the payment of interest at a floating rate.
Floating rate
An interest rate that varies according to a particular indicator such as BBSW (Bank Bill Swap Reference Rate). For example, the floating leg of an interest rate swap may provide for the interest paid to be reset each six months in accordance with the BBSW.
Foreign Debt Portfolio
The non-domestic currency component of the Long-Term Debt Portfolio. Following the elimination of the foreign currency derivatives exposure, this portfolio now consists of a single US dollar denominated loan issued in the 1980s.
Funding risk
The risk that an issuer is unable to raise funds, as required, in an orderly manner and without financial penalty. For the Australian Government, funding risk encompasses both long-term fund raising to cover future budget needs and the short-term mismatches in the timing of government outlays and receipts.
Futures basket
A collection of like financial products or commodities, grouped together, that are used to define a futures contract. For example, 3- and 10-year Treasury Bond futures baskets consist of collections of Treasury Bond lines that have an average term to maturity of approximately three and ten years respectively.
Futures contract
An agreement between two parties that commits one party to buy an underlying financial instrument or commodity and one party to sell a financial instrument or commodity at a specific price at a future date. The agreement is completed at a specified expiration date by physical delivery or cash settlement or offset prior to the expiration date. In Australia standardised futures contracts are traded on the Sydney Futures Exchange. Futures contracts traded on the Sydney Futures Exchange include contracts for 3-year and 10-year Treasury Bonds.
Historic cost
Basis of measurement where an asset or liability is recorded at fair value on initial recognition and after initial recognition by amortisation of the initial value using market rates at the time the transaction giving rise to the asset or liability was conducted.
Interest rate risk
The risk that the value of a portfolio or security changes due to a change in interest rates. For example, the market value of a bond drops as interest rates rise.
The sale of debt securities in the primary market.
Kangaroo bonds
Australian dollar denominated bonds issued in the Australian capital market by foreign borrowers.
The capacity of a debt instrument to be sold readily and converted into cash. A liquid market allows the buying or selling of large quantities of an instrument without significant movement in price.
Liquidity also refers to the ability to meet cash payment obligations.
Liquidity risk
The risk that a financial instrument will not be able to be purchased or sold readily.
Long-Term Debt Portfolio
The Long-Term Debt Portfolio is a part of the overall portfolio of assets and liabilities managed by the AOFM. It contains ongoing domestic and foreign currency liabilities and assets.
Market risk
The risk that the price (value) of a financial instrument or portfolio of financial instruments will vary as market conditions change. In the case of a debt issuer and inverter such as the AOFM, the principal source of market risk is from changes in interest rates.
Market value
The amount of money for which a security trades in the market at a particular point of time.
Modified duration
A measure of the sensitivity of the market value of a debt security to a change in interest rates. It is measured as the percentage change in the market value of a debt instrument in response to a one percentage point change in nominal interest rates. Portfolios with higher modified durations tend to have more stable interest costs through time but have more volatile market values. Modified duration is related to duration by the equation:
Modified duration = Duration (years) / (1 + yield to maturity)
At times, ‘modified duration’ is abbreviated to ‘duration’, desirably only in contexts where this will not lead to confusion.
Nominal debt
Debt that is not indexed to inflation. Treasury Notes and Treasury Bonds are examples of nominal debt.
Nominal interest rate
Interest rate that does not take account of the effects of inflation (in contrast to the ‘real’ interest rate).
Operational risk
The risk of loss, whether direct or indirect, arising from inadequate or failed internal processes, people or systems, or from external events. It encompasses risks inherent in the agency’s operating activities such as fraud risk, settlement risk, legal risk, accounting risk, personnel risk and reputation risk.
Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS)
A fixed for floating interest rate swap in which one party agrees to pay the other party a fixed interest rate in exchange for receiving the average overnight cash rate recorded over the term of the swap. The terms to maturity of such swaps are typically between one week to one year. Financial market participants enter into overnight indexed swaps to manage their exposures to movement in the overnight cash rate.
Overnight indexed swaps are quoted by reference to the fixed interest rate leg of the swap. For example, the 3 month OIS rate is the interest rate for the fixed leg of an overnight indexed swap with a term to maturity of 3 months. Interest rates for term deposits placed by the AOFM with the RBA are set by reference to quoted rates for overnight interest swaps.
Present value
The amount that corresponds to today’s value of a payment to be received in the future. If the opportunity cost of funds, or discount rate is 10 per cent, the present value of $100 to be received in two years is $100 x [1/(1 + 0.10)2] = $82.64.
Primary market
The market where bonds are issued for the first time and the sale proceeds go to the issuer. For example, the primary market for Treasury Bonds is when the bonds are sold at tender by the AOFM on behalf of the Australian Government.
Real interest rate
Interest rate that has been adjusted to take account of the effects of inflation. For example, if the coupon interest rate on a bond is 6.5 per cent and the inflation rate is 3 per cent then the real rate of interest on that bond is 3.5 per cent.
Repurchase agreement (Repo)
An agreement under which the seller of a security agrees to buy it back at a specified time and price.
Repricing risk
The risk that interest rates will have increased when maturing debt needs to be refinanced. Whenever the AOFM enters the market to borrow funds, it is exposed to repricing risk.
Residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS)
A debt instrument issued by a special purpose vehicle to finance the securitisation of pool of loans secured by residential mortgages.
Risk premium
The difference between the return available on a risk-free asset and the return available on a riskier asset.
Secondary market
The market where securities are bought and sold subsequent to original issuance.
Securities lending
An activity whereby securities are lent to a financial market participant for a fee. This activity may be conducted to alleviate temporary market shortages of specific lines of stock.
Securities Lending Facility
A facility established by the AOFM in 2004 that uses repurchase agreements to lend Treasury Bonds to market participants for short periods when they are not readily available from other sources. The facility is operated by the Reserve Bank of Australia on behalf of the AOFM.
The process of converting a pool of assets into marketable financial instruments by turning them into securities. The rights and obligations relating to the assets are assigned or transferred to a special purpose vehicle (typically a trust), which issues securities to pay for the assets. The cash flow from the asset pool is used to service the securities and any other costs of the special purpose vehicle.
Semi-government bond
Bonds issued in the Australian capital market by Australian State or Territory governments.
Short-dated exposure
The proportion of the portfolio that will have its interest rate reset in the short term and thereby has the potential to create variability in annual debt interest payments. A portfolio with high short-dated exposure will tend to have more volatile annual interest payments than a portfolio with low short-dated exposure.
Special purpose vehicle (SPV)
In the context of an Australian RMBS transaction, this vehicle is typically a bankruptcy-remote trust established for the sole purpose of acquiring a pool of mortgages from a mortgage lender and issuing RMBS to finance those mortgages.
The difference between two prices or rates.
A financial transaction in which two counterparties agree to exchange streams of payments occurring over time according to predetermined rules.
A method of issuance whereby debt is sold through auction. The amount, coupon and maturity date of the stock are announced by the issuer. Registered participants then bid for their desired amounts of stock at interest rates at which they are prepared to buy. Bids are accepted from lowest interest rate (yield) upward until the issue amount has been filled. Stock is therefore allocated in order of lowest yield (and highest price).
The tenor of a financial instrument is its remaining term to maturity.
Term premium
The margin over the expected path of cash rates that investors require to compensate them for investing at fixed interest in long-term debt.
Treasury Bond
A medium- to long-term debt security issued by the Australian Government that carries an annual rate of interest (the coupon) fixed over the life of the security, payable in six monthly instalments (semi-annually) on the face, or par, value of the security. The bonds are repayable at face value on maturity.
Treasury Indexed Bond
A security whose capital value is adjusted periodically according to movements in the Consumer Price Index. Interest on the bonds is paid quarterly at a fixed rate on the adjusted capital value. At maturity, investors receive the adjusted capital value of the bonds — that is, the initial face value as adjusted for inflation over the life of the bonds. Interest Indexed Bonds, another form of indexed bond, were also issued by the Commonwealth Government in the past but these have all now matured.
Treasury Note
A short-term debt security issued by the Australian Government at a discount and redeemable at par on maturity. The ‘interest’ payable on the notes is represented by the difference between their issue value and their par or face value. Treasury Notes are issued to cover short-term mismatches between the Australian Government’s outlay and revenue streams that cannot be funded by other means, such as changes in the AOFM’s holdings of term deposits with the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Two-way price
The provision by a market-maker of the prices (or yields) at which they are prepared to buy and sell a particular financial product or instrument. That is, the quoting of both a bid and an offer.
UBS Australian Bank Bill Index
A performance benchmark designed to represent the performance of a passively managed short-term money market portfolio. This index has an average term to maturity of approximately 45 days which is commensurate with the average term to maturity of assets comprising major cash management trusts.
Yield curve
The graphical representation of the relationship between the yield on debt securities of the same credit quality but different term to maturities on a specific date. When securities with longer terms to maturity have a higher yield than securities with shorter terms to maturity, the curve is said to have a positive slope. In the opposite case, the slope is said to be negative or inverse.


Australian Accounting Standards Board
Australian National Audit Office
Australian Office of Financial Management
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Australian Public Service
Australian dollar
Bank Bill Swap Rate
Chief Executive Officer
Commonwealth Government securities
Consumer Price Index
Executive Level (APS Classification)
Fringe Benefit Tax
Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
Finance Minister’s Orders
Gross Domestic Product
Goods and Service Tax
Information technology
Long-term Debt Portfolio
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Official Public Account
Reserve Bank of Australia
Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System
Senior Executive Service
United States dollar

Index of Compliance with Requirements

Contact Details


Enquiries regarding this report may be directed to:

Liaison Officer
Australian Office of Financial Management
Treasury Building
Langton Crescent

Telephone (61-2) 6263 1111
Fax (61-2) 6263 1222

Internet address

A copy of this document can be located on the AOFM web site at:

Last updated: 27 October 2014