US Capital Markets

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Mutual Fund Managers

Most mutual funds are offered to the public by companies that specialize in mutual funds. However, some funds are managed by banks and insurance companies.  A more detailed description of mutual funds can be found in chapter 6.

Here are a few examples of large mutual fund management companies.

  • Fidelity Investments.
  • Vanguard Group.
  • T. Rowe Price Group.

 

Pension Fund Managers

A tremendous amount of money is invested in pensions in America.  Pension fund managers are so important that in the past few years they have been involved in appointing executives at major public companies.  The most important pension funds are those of state workers.  These funds are worth billions of dollars and have a major influence on the market.

 

Credit Rating Agencies

Credit rating agencies give ratings in a few different sectors:

  • A company’s Credit Rating is meant to measure the firm’s ability to meet its financial obligations.  This rating is important for corporate creditors.
  • A Bond Rating is given on a specific series of bonds and estimates the ability of the bond issuer to meet all payments on that bond.
  • A National Credit Rating measure’s a country’s ability to pay back its loans.

There are three companies in America that have the status of “recognized rating agencies.” 

  • Moody’s.
  • Standard & Poor’s.
  • Fitch.

The SEC officially recognizes these firms.  Banks and pension funds are only allowed to base their decisions on the ratings of these three companies. Chapter 4, which deals with bonds in general, gives a detailed treatment of bond rating.

These companies offer the public unique financial products.  Generally, these companies build financial products that are based on simple securities, such as stocks and bonds.

Two examples of these financial products are:

  • Exchange Traded Funds (chapter 3).
  • Structures (chapter 8).

 

Financial Information Providers

Activity in the market is full of endless data, analysis, and interpretation.  Many companies along with private financial advisors specialize in providing financial information through many different media. 

Here are some of the important information providers:

  • Newspapers and other financial publications, such as the Wall Street Journal.
  • Subscription financial news services like Bloomberg and Reuters.
  • Financial TV stations like CNBC.
  • The Internet which has thousands of financial sites.
  • Professional research firms like Value Line.

 

Index Developers

Different companies in the US develop financial indices.  An index’s purpose is to present a picture of what is happening in a specific investment sector.  The many indices in the market include those fort stocks, bonds and even mutual funds.

 

The Dow and the S&P 500 are two of the most well known stock indices.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average

The Dow includes thirty of the leading companies, from a number of different economic sectors.  This index serves investors around the world to help follow developments on Wall Street.

  • Standard & Poor’s 500

The S&P 500 is made up of 500 large companies from many different sectors.  Its purpose is to follow the stock market in general, with an emphasis on the larger corporations.

Here are two leading index developers:

  • Dow Jones & Co.
  • Frank Russell.

More information about the important stock indices can be found in chapter 2.


Investment Advisors

Investment advisors work at many different levels.  Some manage large portfolios in place of their owners while others might only provide information.  The large investment advisors are established companies, but along side them, many small and independent advisors are also active.  Financial advisors in the US are required to receive a license from the authorities.

Here are a few of the larger companies that work in investment advisement and portfolio management.

  • American Express.
  • Fayez Sarofim & Co.
  • State Street Global Advisors.
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