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.
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.
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 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 investment transactions.
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.
A financial instrument for which its price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets (for example stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies and indexes). The derivative itself is a contract between two or more parties. The most common derivatives are swaps, options, futures and forwards.
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, as being due to be paid 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 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 the benchmark for pricing a futures contract. For example, 3-year 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 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 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 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.
Kangaroo bonds
Australian dollar denominated bonds issued in the Australian capital market by foreign borrowers.
The capacity for a debt instrument to be readily sold. A liquid market allows the ready 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 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 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 cash rate
The interest rate charged on overnight loans between financial intermediaries. The Reserve Bank 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 three month OIS rate is the interest rate for the fixed leg of an overnight indexed swap with a term to maturity of three 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
An amount that represents 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 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 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. A description of the principal features of a typical RMBS transaction can be found on pages 30-31 of the AOFM’s 2008-09 Annual Report.
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 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 Reserve Bank of Australia 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 in the Australian capital market 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.
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 to compensate for having invested 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 rate), which is fixed over the life of the security and payable in six monthly installments (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 outlay and revenue streams. 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 Reserve Bank of Australia; 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.


Australian Accounting Standards Board
Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions
Australian Financial Markets Association
Australian National Audit Office
Australian Office of Financial Management
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Australian Public Service
Australian dollar
Bank Bill Swap Reference Rates
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
Global Financial Crisis
Goods and Service Tax
Human resources
Information technology
Long-term Debt Portfolio
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Overnight Indexed Swap
Official Public Account
Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands
Reserve Bank of Australia
Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System
Residential Mortgage-backed Security
Senior Executive Service
Treasury Indexed Bond
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
Web site:

Internet address

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

Last updated: 4 November 2013