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 Reference 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.

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 original transaction 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.

Bullet security

A security that repays principal owing to investors as a lump sum at a predetermined future date.

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 Government cash flows.

Australian Government Securities (AGS)

Debt obligations of the Australian Government evidenced by the issue of securities or, nowadays, issued as inscribed stock. AGS on issue are predominantly Treasury Bonds, Treasury Indexed Bonds and Treasury Notes but also include small residual amounts of Australian Savings Bonds, Peace Saving Certificates and War Saving Certificates.

Coupon rate

A rate of interest paid on a bond, which is fixed for a specified period (usually the term of the bond). In the case of Treasury Bonds coupon interest is payable semi‑annually, while for Treasury Indexed Bonds it is paid quarterly. In each case, the coupon rate is set on the date of announcement of first issuance of the bond line.

Credit risk

The risk of counterparty default creating financial loss. Credit risk is contingent on the combination of a default and there being pecuniary loss. The AOFM faces credit risk in relation to its settlement and investment activities.

Credit spread

The difference in yields between securities of different credit qualities. The credit spread reflects the additional net yield required by an investor from a security with more credit risk relative to one with less credit risk.


An amount by which the value of a security on transfer 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 also 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, payable to the holder on maturity.

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 rate

An interest rate that varies according to a particular indicator, such as the BBSW (the Bank Bill Swap Reference Rate). For example, the floating leg of an interest rate swap may provide for the interest paid to be reset every 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 that was 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 the ability raise term funding to cover future Budget needs (including the maturities of Treasury Bonds and Treasury Indexed Bonds). This is distinct from re‑financing risk, which relates to the ability to ‘roll‑over’ or pay down short‑term funding obligations.

Futures basket

A collection of like financial products or commodities, grouped together, that are used to define the benchmark for pricing a futures contract. The ASX 3‑year, 10‑year and 20‑year Treasury Bond futures baskets consist of collections of Treasury Bond lines that have an average term to maturity of approximately three, ten and twenty years respectively.

Futures contract

An agreement between two parties that commits one party to buy an underlying financial instrument or commodity and another (counter) 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 alternatively is 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, 10‑year and 20‑year Treasury Bonds.

Historic cost

The 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 was conducted that gave rise to the asset or liability.


The charge for borrowing money, usually expressed as an annual percentage rate. For the AOFM financial statements, interest cost is the coupon payment (where relevant) adjusted for the amortised cost carrying value of a debt security. Where a debt security is issued at a premium or discount to its principal value, the premium or discount at issuance is recognised in amortised cost carrying value and amortised over the life of the security using the effective interest method. This amortisation is recognised in the interest cost.

For Treasury Indexed Bonds, the change in its amortised cost carrying value includes capital accretion of the principal due to inflation. As capital accretion occurs, it is also recognised in the interest cost.

Interest rate risk

The risk that the value of a portfolio or security will change 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; either through competitive tender or by syndication.

Kangaroo bonds

Australian dollar denominated bonds issued in the Australian capital market by foreign borrowers.


The capacity for a debt instrument to be readily purchased or sold. A liquid market allows the ready buying or selling of large quantities of an instrument at relatively short notice, in reasonable volume and 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 readily purchased or sold.

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 investor 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 is traded in the market at a particular point in 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 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’, and 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 business processes or systems.

Overnight cash rate

The interest rate charged on overnight loans between financial intermediaries. The RBA manages the supply of funds available in the money market to keep the cash rate as close as possible to a target set by the Bank Board as an instrument of monetary policy.

Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS)

A fixed for floating interest rate swap in which one party agrees to pay another party a fixed interest rate in exchange for receiving the average overnight cash rate recorded over the term of the swap. The term to maturity of such swaps is typically between one week and 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.

Physical debt

Securities that give rise to debt, in contrast to derivatives (which give rise to a contingent liability). Treasury Bonds, Treasury Indexed Bonds and Treasury Notes represent physical debt.

Present value

The value today of a payment to be received (or made) 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 securities are issued for the first time and where the sale proceeds go to the issuer. For example, the primary market for Treasury Bonds is when the bonds are sold at tender or by syndication by the AOFM on behalf of the Australian Government.

Real interest rate

The 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 3.0 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.

Residential mortgage‑backed security (RMBS)

A debt instrument issued by a special purpose vehicle to finance the securitisation of a pool of loans that is 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. Investors trade securities between themselves (usually via intermediaries such as banks) in the secondary market.

Securities lending

An activity whereby securities are lent to a financial market participant for a fee.

Securities lending facility

A facility established by the AOFM in 2004 that uses repurchase agreements to lend Treasury Bonds and Treasury Indexed Bonds to market participants for short periods. The facility is operated by the RBA on behalf of the AOFM. It supports the efficient operation of these markets as it facilitates trading by enabling dealers to obtain specific lines of stock when they are not readily available from other sources.


The process of converting a pool of assets into marketable financial instruments. 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

A bond issued by Australian State or Territory governments.

Short‑dated exposure

The proportion of a portfolio that will have its interest rate reset in the short‑term. A portfolio with a 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)

A financial trust established for a special purpose. A special purpose vehicle used in an Australian RMBS transaction is typically a bankruptcy‑remote trust established for the sole purpose of acquiring a pool of mortgages from a mortgage lender and then issuing RMBS to finance those mortgages.


The difference between two prices or yields.


A financial transaction in which two counterparties agree to exchange streams of payments occurring over time according to predetermined rules.


Where an issuer arranges a primary market transaction through a panel of banks but the bonds that are issued are purchased as a result of direct orders from end‑investors during the syndication process. The final price and volume of issuance are typically determined as part of the process, but either or both could be pre‑set at specific levels prior to commencement of the process.


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 deposit

A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term. These are generally short‑term with maturities ranging anywhere from a month to a few years. When a term deposit is purchased, the lender (the customer) understands that the money can only be withdrawn after the term has ended, or after having given a predetermined number of days’ notice.

Term premium

The margin over the expected path of cash rates that investors require as compensation for having invested at greater terms to maturity.

Treasury Bond

A medium to long‑term debt security issued by the Australian Government that carries an annual rate of interest (the coupon rate), which is fixed over the life of the security and payable in six monthly instalments (semi‑annually) on the face, or par, value of the security. The bonds are repayable in full at face value on maturity.

Treasury Indexed Bond

A security issued by the Australian Government for which the capital value is adjusted periodically according to movements in the Consumer Price Index. Interest is paid quarterly at a fixed rate on the adjusted capital value. At maturity, investors receive the adjusted capital value of the bond — that is, the initial face value as adjusted for inflation over the life of the bond. 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 payments and receipts. They are used in circumstances in which cash holdings may be temporarily low such as changes in the AOFM’s holdings of term deposits with the RBA; soon after a large maturity; or at long intervals ahead of large revenue collections.

Two‑way price

A price (or yield) at which a market‑maker is prepared to both buy and sell a particular financial product or instrument. That is, the simultaneous quoting of a bid and an offer.


The expected rate of return expressed as a percentage of the net outlay or net proceeds of an investment.

Yield curve

Graphical representation on a specific date of the relationship between the yield on debt securities of the same credit quality, but different terms to maturity. 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.



AASB             Australian Accounting Standards Board

ADIs              Authorised Deposit‑taking Institutions

AFMA           Australian Financial Markets Association

ANAO           Australian National Audit Office

AOFM           Australian Office of Financial Management

APS                Australian Public Service

AUD              Australian dollar

BBSW            Bank Bill Swap Reference Rates

CEO               Chief Executive Officer

CGS               Commonwealth Government Securities

CPI                 Consumer Price Index

EL                   Executive Level (APS Classification)

FBT                 Fringe Benefits Tax

FMA Act       Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FMO              Finance Minister’s Orders

GDP               Gross Domestic Product

GFC               Global Financial Crisis

GST                Goods and Services Tax

HR                  Human resources

IT                    Information technology

OECD            Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development

OIS                 Overnight Indexed Swap

OPA               Official Public Account

RBA               Reserve Bank of Australia

RMBS            Residential Mortgage‑backed Security

SES                 Senior Executive Service

TIB                 Treasury Indexed Bond

US                  United States of America

USD               United States dollar

Last updated: 28 January 2016