The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Private equity firm
A private equity firm is an investment management company that provides financial backing and makes investments in the private equity of startup or operating companies through a variety of loosely affiliated investment strategies including leveraged buyout, venture capital, growth capital. Described as a financial sponsor, each firm will raise funds that will be invested in accordance with one or more specific investment strategies. A private equity firm will raise pools of capital, or private equity funds that supply the equity contributions for these transactions. Private equity firms will receive a periodic management fee as well as a share in the profits earned from each private equity fund managed. Private equity firms, with their investors, will acquire a controlling or substantial minority position in a company and look to maximize the value of that investment. Private equity firms receive a return on their investments through one of the following avenues: an initial public offering — shares of the company are offered to the public providing a partial immediate realization to the financial sponsor as well as a public market into which it can sell additional shares.
Private equity firms characteristically make longer-hold investments in target industry sectors or specific investment areas where they have expertise. Private equity firms and investment funds should not be confused with hedge fund firms which make shorter-term investments in securities and other more liquid assets within an industry sector but with less direct influence or control over the operations of a specific company. Where private equity firms take on operational roles to manage risks and achieve growth through long term investments, hedge funds more act as short-term traders of securities betting on both the up and down sides of a business or of an industry sector's financial health. According to an updated 2008 ranking created by industry magazine Private Equity International, the largest private equity firms include The Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Goldman Sachs Principal Investment Group, The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, Sycamore Partners and TPG Capital; these firms are direct investors in companies rather than investors in the private equity asset class and for the most part the largest private equity investment firms focused on leveraged buyouts rather than venture capital.
Preqin ltd, an independent data provider, provides a ranking of the 25 largest private equity investment managers. Among the largest firms in that ranking were AlpInvest Partners, Ardian, AIG Investments, Goldman Sachs Private Equity Group, Pantheon Ventures; because private equity firms are continuously in the process of raising and distributing their private equity funds, capital raised can be the easiest to measure. Other metrics can include the total value of companies purchased by a firm or an estimate of the size of a firm's active portfolio plus capital available for new investments; as with any list that focuses on size, the list does not provide any indication as to relative investment performance of these funds or managers. History of private equity and venture capital Leveraged buyout List of private equity firms Management buyout Private equity Private equity fund Private equity – a guide for pension fund trustees. Pensions Investment Research Consultants for the Trades Union Congress.
Krüger Andersen, Thomas. Legal Structure of Private Equity Funds. Private Equity and Hedge Funds 2007. Prowse, Stephen D; the Economics of the Private Equity Market, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 1998
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
The U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission is an independent agency of the United States federal government; the SEC holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules, regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, other activities and organizations, including the electronic securities markets in the United States. In addition to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, other statutes; the SEC was created by Section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933. The SEC has a three-part mission: to protect investors. To achieve its mandate, the SEC enforces the statutory requirement that public companies and other regulated companies submit quarterly and annual reports, as well as other periodic reports. In addition to annual financial reports, company executives must provide a narrative account, called the "management discussion and analysis", that outlines the previous year of operations and explains how the company fared in that time period.
MD&A will also touch on the upcoming year, outlining future goals and approaches to new projects. In an attempt to level the playing field for all investors, the SEC maintains an online database called EDGAR online from which investors can access this and other information filed with the agency. Quarterly and semiannual reports from public companies are crucial for investors to make sound decisions when investing in the capital markets. Unlike banking, investment in the capital markets is not guaranteed by the federal government; the potential for big gains needs to be weighed against that of sizable losses. Mandatory disclosure of financial and other information about the issuer and the security itself gives private individuals as well as large institutions the same basic facts about the public companies they invest in, thereby increasing public scrutiny while reducing insider trading and fraud; the SEC makes reports available to the public through the EDGAR system. The SEC offers publications on investment-related topics for public education.
The same online system takes tips and complaints from investors to help the SEC track down violators of the securities laws. The SEC adheres to a strict policy of never commenting on the existence or status of an ongoing investigation. Prior to the enactment of the federal securities laws and the creation of the SEC, there existed so-called blue sky laws, they were enacted and enforced at the state level and regulated the offering and sale of securities to protect the public from fraud. Though the specific provisions of these laws varied among states, they all required the registration of all securities offerings and sales, as well as of every U. S. stockbroker and brokerage firm. However, these blue sky laws were found to be ineffective. For example, the Investment Bankers Association told its members as early as 1915 that they could "ignore" blue sky laws by making securities offerings across state lines through the mail. After holding hearings on abuses on interstate frauds, Congress passed the Securities Act of 1933, which regulates interstate sales of securities at the federal level.
The subsequent Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regulates sales of securities in the secondary market. Section 4 of the 1934 act created the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission to enforce the federal securities laws; the Securities Act of 1933 is known as the "Truth in Securities Act" and the "Federal Securities Act", or just the "1933 Act". Its goal was to increase public trust in the capital markets by requiring uniform disclosure of information about public securities offerings; the primary drafters of 1933 Act were Huston Thompson, a former Federal Trade Commission chairman, Walter Miller and Ollie Butler, two attorneys in the Commerce Department's Foreign Service Division, with input from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. For the first year of the law's enactment, the enforcement of the statute rested with the Federal Trade Commission, but this power was transferred to the SEC following its creation in 1934. In 1934, Roosevelt named his friend Joseph P. Kennedy, a self-made multimillionaire financier and a leader among the Irish-American community, as the insider-as-chairman who knew Wall Street well enough to clean it up.
Two of the other five commissioners were Ferdinand Pecora. Kennedy added a number of intelligent young lawyers, including William O. Douglas and Abe Fortas, both of whom became Supreme Court justices. Kennedy's team defined the mission and operating mode for the SEC, making full use of its wide range of legal powers; the SEC had four missions. First and most important was to restore investor confidence in the securities market, which had collapsed because of doubts about its internal integrity, fears of the external threats posed by anti-business elements in the Roosevelt administration. Second, in terms of integrity, the SEC had to get rid of the penny-ante swindles based on fake i
An investment fund is a way of investing money alongside other investors in order to benefit from the inherent advantages of working as part of a group. These advantages include an ability to: hire professional investment managers, which may be able to offer better returns and more adequate risk management, it remains unclear whether professional active investment managers can reliably enhance risk adjusted returns by an amount that exceeds fees and expenses of investment management. Terminology varies with country but investment funds are referred to as investment pools, collective investment vehicles, collective investment schemes, managed funds, or funds; the regulatory term is undertaking for collective investment in transferable securities, or short collective investment undertaking. An investment fund may be held by the public, such as a mutual fund, exchange-traded fund, special-purpose acquisition company or closed-end fund, or it may be sold only in a private placement, such as a hedge fund or private equity fund.
The term includes specialized vehicles such as collective and common trust funds, which are unique bank-managed funds structured to commingle assets from qualifying pension plans or trusts. Investment funds are promoted with a wide range of investment aims either targeting specific geographic regions or specified industry sectors. Depending on the country there is a bias towards the domestic market due to familiarity, the lack of currency risk. Funds are selected on the basis of these specified investment aims, their past investment performance, other factors such as fees; the first professionally managed investment funds or collective investment schemes, such as mutual funds, were established in the Dutch Republic. Amsterdam-based businessman Abraham van Ketwich is credited as the originator of the world's first mutual fund; the term "collective investment scheme" is a legal concept deriving from a set of European Union Directives to regulate mutual fund investment and management. The Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directives 85/611/EEC, as amended by 2001/107/EC and 2001/108/EC created an EU-wide structure, so that funds fulfilling its basic regulations could be marketed in any member state.
The basic aim of collective investment scheme regulation is that the financial "products" that are sold to the public are sufficiently transparent, with full disclosure about the nature of the terms. In the United Kingdom, the primary statute is the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, where Part XVII, sections 235 to 284 deal with the requirements for a collective investment scheme to operate, it states in section 235 that a “collective investment scheme” means "any arrangements with respect to property of any description, including money, the purpose or effect of, to enable persons taking part in the arrangements to participate in or receive profits or income arising from the acquisition, management or disposal of the property or sums paid out of such profits or income." Collective investment vehicles may be formed by legal trust or by statute. The nature of the vehicle and its limitations are linked to its constitutional nature and the associated tax rules for the type of structure within a given jurisdiction.
There is: A fund manager or investment manager who manages the investment decisions. A fund administrator who manages the trading, reconciliations and unit pricing. A board of directors or trustees who safeguard the assets and ensure compliance with laws and rules; the shareholders or unitholders who own the assets and associated income. A "marketing" or "distribution" company to promote and sell shares/units of the fund. Please see below for general information on specific forms of vehicles in different jurisdictions; the net asset value or NAV is the value of its liabilities. The method for calculating this varies between vehicle types and jurisdiction and can be subject to complex regulation. An open-end fund is equitably divided into shares which vary in price in direct proportion to the variation in value of the fund's net asset value; each time money is invested, new shares or units are created to match the prevailing share price. In this way there is no supply or demand created for shares and they remain a direct reflection of the underlying assets.
A closed-end fund issues a limited number of shares in an initial public offering or through private placement. If shares are issued through an IPO, they are traded on an exchange or directly through the fund manager to create a secondary market subject to market forces. If demand for the shares is high, they may trade at a premium to net asset value. If demand is low they may trade at a discount to net asset value. Further share offerings may be made by the vehicle if demand is high although this may affect the share price. For listed funds, the added element of market forces tends to amplify the performance of the fund increasing investment risk through increased volatility; some collective investment vehicles have the power to borrow money to make further investments. If markets are growing this can allow the vehicle to take advantage of the growth to
A security is a tradable financial asset. The term refers to any form of financial instrument, but its legal definition varies by jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions the term excludes financial instruments other than equities and fixed income instruments. In some jurisdictions it includes some instruments that are close to equities and fixed income, e.g. equity warrants. In some countries and languages the term "security" is used in day-to-day parlance to mean any form of financial instrument though the underlying legal and regulatory regime may not have such a broad definition. In the United Kingdom, the national competent authority for financial markets regulation is the Financial Conduct Authority. In the United States, a security is a tradable financial asset of any kind. Securities are broadly categorized into: debt securities equity securities derivatives; the company or other entity issuing the security is called the issuer. A country's regulatory structure determines. For example, private investment pools may have some features of securities, but they may not be registered or regulated as such if they meet various restrictions.
Securities may be represented by a certificate or, more "non-certificated", in electronic or "book entry" only form. Certificates may be bearer, meaning they entitle the holder to rights under the security by holding the security, or registered, meaning they entitle the holder to rights only if he or she appears on a security register maintained by the issuer or an intermediary, they include shares of corporate stock or mutual funds, bonds issued by corporations or governmental agencies, stock options or other options, limited partnership units, various other formal investment instruments that are negotiable and fungible. Securities may be classified according to many categories or classification systems: Currency of denomination Ownership rights Terms to maturity Degree of liquidity Income payments Tax treatment Credit rating Industrial sector or "industry". Region or country Market capitalization State Securities are the traditional way that commercial enterprises raise new capital; these may be an attractive alternative to bank loans depending on their pricing and market demand for particular characteristics.
Another disadvantage of bank loans as a source of financing is that the bank may seek a measure of protection against default by the borrower via extensive financial covenants. Through securities, capital is provided by investors who purchase the securities upon their initial issuance. In a similar way, a government may issue securities too. Investors in securities may be retail, i.e. members of the public investing other than by way of business. The greatest part of investment, in terms of volume, is wholesale, i.e. by financial institutions acting on their own account, or on behalf of clients. Important institutional investors include investment banks, insurance companies, pension funds and other managed funds; the traditional economic function of the purchase of securities is investment, with the view to receiving income or achieving capital gain. Debt securities offer a higher rate of interest than bank deposits, equities may offer the prospect of capital growth. Equity investment may offer control of the business of the issuer.
Debt holdings may offer some measure of control to the investor if the company is a fledgling start-up or an old giant undergoing'restructuring'. In these cases, if interest payments are missed, the creditors may take control of the company and liquidate it to recover some of their investment; the last decade has seen an enormous growth in the use of securities as collateral. Purchasing securities with borrowed money secured by other securities or cash itself is called "buying on margin". Where A is owed a debt or other obligation by B, A may require B to deliver property rights in securities to A, either at inception or only in default. For institutional loans, property rights are not transferred but enable A to satisfy its claims in the event that B fails to make good on its obligations to A or otherwise becomes insolvent. Collateral arrangements are divided into two broad categories, namely security interests and outright collateral transfers. Commercial banks, investment banks, government agencies and other institutional investors such as mutual funds are significant collateral takers as well as providers.
In addition, private parties may utilize stocks or other securities as collateral for portfolio loans in securities lending scenarios. On the consumer level, loans against securities have grown into three distinct groups over the last decade: 1) Standard Institutional Loans offering low loan-to-value with