A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a corporation whose ownership is dispersed among the general public in many shares of stock which are traded on a stock exchange or in over the counter markets. In some jurisdictions, public companies over a certain size must be listed on an exchange. A public company can be unlisted. Public companies are formed within the legal systems of particular nations, therefore have national associations and formal designations which are distinct and separate. For example one of the main public company forms in the United States is called a limited liability company, in France is called a "society of limited responsibility", in Britain a public limited company, in Germany a company with limited liability. While the general idea of a public company may be similar, differences are meaningful, are at the core of international law disputes with regard to industry and trade. In the early modern period, the Dutch developed several financial instruments and helped lay the foundations of modern financial system.
The Dutch East India Company became the first company in history to issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public. In other words, the VOC was the first publicly traded company, because it was the first company to be actually listed on an official stock exchange. While the Italian city-states produced the first transferable government bonds, they did not develop the other ingredient necessary to produce a fledged capital market: corporate shareholders; as Edward Stringham notes, "companies with transferable shares date back to classical Rome, but these were not enduring endeavors and no considerable secondary market existed." The securities of a publicly traded company are owned by many investors while the shares of a held company are owned by few shareholders. A company with many shareholders is not a publicly traded company. In the United States, in some instances, companies with over 500 shareholders may be required to report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Public companies possess some advantages over held businesses.
Publicly traded companies are able to raise funds and capital through the sale of shares of stock. This is the reason publicly traded corporations are important; the profit on stock is gained in form of capital gain to the holders. The financial media and the public are able to access additional information about the business, since the business is legally bound, motivated, to publicly disseminate information regarding the financial status and future of the company to its many shareholders and the government; because many people have a vested interest in the company's success, the company may be more popular or recognizable than a private company. The initial shareholders of the company are able to share risk by selling shares to the public. If one were to hold a 100% share of the company, he or she would have to pay all of the business's debt; this increases asset liquidity and the company does not need to depend on funding from a bank. For example, in 2013 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg owned 29.3% of the company's class A shares, which gave him enough voting power to control the business, while allowing Facebook to raise capital from, distribute risk to, the remaining shareholders.
Facebook was a held company prior to its initial public offering in 2012. If some shares are given to managers or other employees, potential conflicts of interest between employees and shareholders will be remitted; as an example, in many tech companies, entry-level software engineers are given stock in the company upon being hired. Therefore, the engineers have a vested interest in the company succeeding financially, are incentivized to work harder and more diligently to ensure that success. Many stock exchanges require that publicly traded companies have their accounts audited by outside auditors, publish the accounts to their shareholders. Besides the cost, this may make useful information available to competitors. Various other annual and quarterly reports are required by law. In the United States, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act imposes additional requirements; the requirement for audited books is not imposed by the exchange known as OTC Pink. The shares may be maliciously held by outside shareholders and the original founders or owners may lose benefits and control.
The principal-agent problem, or the agency problem is a key weakness of public companies. The separation of a company's ownership and control is prevalent in such countries as U. K and U. S. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires that firms whose stock is traded publicly report their major shareholders each year; the reports identify all institutional shareholders, all company officials who own shares in their firm, any individual or institution owning more than 5% of the firm's stock. For many years, newly created companies were held but held initial
AstraZeneca plc is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company. In 2013, it moved its headquarters to Cambridge, UK, concentrated its R&D in three sites: Cambridge. AstraZeneca has a portfolio of products for major disease areas including cancer, gastrointestinal, neuroscience and inflammation; the company was founded in 1999 through the merger of the Swedish Astra AB and the English Zeneca Group. Since the merger it has been among the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including Cambridge Antibody Technology, MedImmune and Definiens. AstraZeneca has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, it has secondary listings on the OMX exchange. Astra AB was founded in 1913 in Sweden, by 400 doctors and apothecaries. In 1993 the British chemicals company ICI demerged its pharmaceuticals businesses and its agrochemicals and specialities businesses, to form Zeneca Group plc.
In 1999 Astra and Zeneca Group merged to form AstraZeneca plc, with its headquarters in London. In 1999, AstraZeneca identified as a new location for the company's US base the "Fairfax-plus" site in North Wilmington, Delaware. In 2002, its drug Iressa was approved in Japan as monotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. On 3 January 2004 Dr Robert Nolan, a former director of AstraZeneca, formed the management team of ZI Medical. In 2005, the company acquired KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, a UK biotech company, for £120m and entered into an anti-cancer collaboration agreement with Astex, it announced that it had become a Diamond Member of the Pennsylvania Bio commerce organisation. In 2006, following a collaborative relationship begun in 2004, AstraZeneca acquired Cambridge Antibody Technology for £702 million. In February 2007, AstraZeneca agreed to buy Arrow Therapeutics, a company focused on the discovery and development of anti-viral therapies, for $150 million. AstraZeneca's pipeline, "patent cliff", was the subject of much speculation in April 2007 leading to pipeline-boosting collaboration and acquisition activities.
A few days AstraZeneca acquired US company MedImmune for about $15.2 billion to gain flu vaccines and an anti-viral treatment for infants. In 2010, AstraZeneca acquired Novexel Corp, an antiobiotics discovery company formed in 2004 as a spin-off of the Sanofi-Aventis anti-infectives division. Astra acquired the experimental antibiotic NXL-104 through this acquisition. In 2011, AstraZeneca acquired a Chinese generics business. In February 2012, AstraZeneca and Amgen announced a collaboration on treatments for inflammatory diseases. In April 2012, AstraZeneca acquired Ardea Biosciences, another biotechnology company, for $1.26 billion. In June 2012, AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a two-stage deal for the joint acquisition of the biotechnology company Amylin Pharmaceuticals, it was agreed that Bristol-Myers Squibb would acquire Amylin for $5.3 billion in cash and the assumption of $1.7 billion in debt, with AstraZeneca paying $3.4 billion in cash to Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amylin being folded into an existing diabetes joint venture between AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In March 2013 AstraZeneca announced plans for a major corporate restructuring, including the closure of its research and development activities at Alderley Park, investment of $500 million in the construction of a new research and development facility in Cambridge and the concentration of R&D in three locations: Cambridge, Maryland, Mölndal in Sweden, for research on traditional chemical drugs. AstraZeneca announced that it would move its corporate headquarters from London to Cambridge in 2016; that announcement included the announcement. It announced that it would focus on three therapeutic areas: Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity. In October 2013, AstraZeneca announced it would acquire biotech oncology company Spirogen for around $440 million. On 19 May 2014 AstraZeneca rejected a "final offer" from Pfizer of £55 per share, which valued the company at £69.4 billion. The companies had been meeting since January 2014. If the takeover had proceeded Pfizer would have become the world's biggest drug maker.
The transaction would have been the biggest foreign takeover of a British company. Many in Britain, including politicians and scientists, had opposed the deal. In July 2014 the company entered into a deal with Almirall to acquire its subsidiary Almirall Sofotec and its lung treatments including the COPD drug, Eklira; the $2.1 billion deal included an allocation of $1.2 billion for development in the respiratory franchise, one of AstraZeneca's three target therapeutic areas announced the year before. In August 2014 the company announced it had entered into a three-year collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma on diabetic nephropathy. In September 2014 the company would join forces with Eli Lilly in developing and commercialising its candidate BACE inhibitor – AZD3292 – used for the treatment
Marcus Wallenberg (born 1956)
Marcus "Husky" Wallenberg is a Swedish banker and industrialist. Marcus Wallenberg was born on September 1956 in Stockholm, Sweden, his father, Marc Wallenberg, was a banker. His mother is Olga Wehtje, he is a member of the prominent Wallenberg family. Wallenberg has a BSc degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Swedish Naval Academy in 1977. Wallenberg began his career in the New York City office of Citibank in 1980–1982, he subsequently worked followed by S. G. Warburg & Co.. Citicorp and the SEB Group. Wallenberg served as the President and CEO of Investor from 1999 to 2005, he served as the Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2008. Wallenberg is the Vice Chairman of the Institute of International Finance, he serves on the board of directors of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Ericsson, LKAB, AstraZeneca, Stora Enso, Temasek Holdings and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. He is a former member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.
Wallenberg has three children from his first marriage to Caroline Wallenberg. He is married to an architect, they have one child together. They reside at Täcka Udden. "Marcus Wallenberg". Nationalencyklopedin. Retrieved 2010-05-10. Saab Group webpage
Banco Santander, S. A. doing business as Santander Group, is a Spanish multinational commercial bank and financial services company founded and based in Santander, Spain. In addition to hubs in Madrid and Barcelona, Santander maintains a presence in all global financial centres as the largest Spanish banking institution in the world. Although known for its European banking operations, it has extended operations across North and South America, more in continental Asia. Many subsidiaries, such as Abbey National, have been rebranded under the Santander name; the company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. In May 2016, Santander was ranked as 37th in the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world's biggest public companies. Santander is Spain’s largest bank; as of 2017, Santander is the 5th largest bank in Europe with US$1.4 trillion in total assets-under-management. Traded on the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index, the bank has a total market capitalization of $69.9 billion. Banco Santander was founded in 1857.
In 1999 it merged with Banco Central Hispano, which had in turn been formed through the 1991 merger of Banco Central and Banco Hispanoamericano. The combined bank, known as Banco Santander Central Hispano, or BSCH, was designed to be a "merger of equals", in which the top executives of the two pre-existing firms would share control of the merged entity. Soon after the merger former BCH executives accused Banco Santander chairman Emilio Botín of trying to push his own agenda and threatened to take legal action; this post-merger disagreement was resolved when BCH executives Jose Amusátegui and Angel Corcóstegui agreed to accept severance payments and pass control to Botín, at an expense to shareholders of €164M. The large termination payouts generated negative press, Botín was brought to trial on criminal charges of "misappropriation of funds" and "irresponsible management". However, in April 2005 the court cleared him of all charges, the €164M retirement payments made to the two former executives having been found to be legal, "made as compensation for the services provided to the bank".
That year, the anti-corruption division of the Spanish public prosecutor's office cleared Botín of all charges in a separate case, in which he was accused of insider trading. In 2007 the bank changed the official name back to Banco Santander S. A. In 1996 Banco Santander acquired Grupo Financiero InverMexico. In 2000, Banco Santander Central Hispano acquired Grupo Financiero Serfin of Mexico. On 26 July 2004 Banco Santander Central Hispano announced the acquisition of Abbey National plc. Following shareholders' approval at the EGM of Abbey and Santander, the acquisition was formally approved by the courts and Abbey became part of the Santander Group on 12 November 2004. In June 2006, Banco Santander Central Hispano purchased 20% of Sovereign Bank and acquired the option to buy the bank for one year beginning in the middle of 2008. In May 2007 Banco Santander Central Hispano announced that in conjunction with The Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis it would make an offer for ABN AMRO. BSCH's share of the offer added up to 28% and the offer would have to be made up of a capital increase through a new share issue.
In October 2007 the consortium outbid Barclays and acquired ABN AMRO. As part of the deal, Grupo Santander acquired ABN AMRO's subsidiary in Brazil, Banco Real, its subsidiary in Italy, Banca Antonveneta. On 13 August 2007, Banco Santander Central Hispano changed its legal name to Banco Santander. In November that year, it sold Banca Antonveneta to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, excluding a subsidiary Interbanca. In March 2008, Banco Santander sold Interbanca to GE Commercial Finance, receiving in return GE Money businesses in Germany and Austria, GE's card and auto-financing businesses in the UK, which it integrated with Santander Consumer Finance. In July 2008 the group announced it intended to purchase the UK bank Alliance & Leicester, which held £24bn in deposits and had 254 branches. Santander purchased the savings business of Bradford & Bingley in September 2008, which held deposits of £22bn, 2.6m customers, 197 branches and 140 agencies. The acquisition of Alliance & Leicester completed in October 2008 when the B&B's shares were delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
By the end of 2010 the two banks merged with Abbey National under the Santander UK brand. In October 2008, the Group announced to acquire 75.65% of Sovereign Bancorp it did not own for US$1.9 billion. Because of the 2008 financial crisis at the time, Sovereign's price-per-share had fallen greatly: Rather than the $40 per share it would have cost in 2006, Banco Santander ended up paying less than $3 per share; the acquisition of Sovereign gave Santander its first retail bank in the mainland United States. Santander renamed the bank to enhance its global brand recognition in October 2013. On 14 December 2008, it was revealed that the collapse of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme might mean the loss of €2.33 billion at Banco Santander. On 10 November 2009, HSBC Finance Corporation announced its auto finance entities had reached an agreement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. to sell HSBC US auto loan servicing operations, US$1 billion in auto loan receivables for US$904 million in cash, enter into a loan servicing agreement for the remainder of its liquidated US auto loan portfolio.
The transaction closed in the first quarter of 2010. In September 2010, Santander purchased Bank Zachodni WBK from Allied Irish Banks. On 28 February 2012, Santander announced that it had reached an agreement with KBC Bank to buy KBC's subsidiary Kredyt B
A ticker symbol or stock symbol is an abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. A stock symbol may consist of numbers or a combination of both. "Ticker symbol" refers to the symbols. Stock symbols are unique identifiers assigned to each security traded on a particular market. A stock symbol can consist of letters, numbers, or a combination of both, is a way to uniquely identify that stock; the symbols were kept as short as possible to reduce the number of characters that had to be printed on the ticker tape, to make it easy to recognize by traders and investors. The allocation of symbols and formatting convention is specific to each stock exchange. In the US, for example, stock tickers are between 1 and 4 letters and represent the company name where possible. For example, US-based computer company stock Apple Inc. traded on the NASDAQ exchange has the symbol AAPL, while the motor company Ford's stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange has the single-letter ticker F.
In Europe, most exchanges use three-letter codes, for example Dutch consumer goods company Unilever traded on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange has the symbol UNA. While in Asia, numbers are used as stock tickers to avoid issues for international investors when using non-Latin scripts. For example, the bank HSBC's stock traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has the ticker symbol 0005. Symbols sometimes change to reflect mergers. Prior to the 1999 merger with Mobil Oil, Exxon used a phonetic spelling of the company "XON" as its ticker symbol; the symbol of the firm after the merger was "XOM". Symbols are sometimes reused. In the US the single-letter symbols are sought after as vanity symbols. For example, since Mar 2008 Visa Inc. has used the symbol V, used by Vivendi which had delisted and given up the symbol. To qualify a stock, both the ticker and the exchange or country of listing needs to be known. On many systems both must be specified to uniquely identify the security; this is done by appending the location or exchange code to the ticker.
Although stock tickers identify a security, they are exchange dependent limited to stocks and can change. These limitations have led to the development of other codes in financial markets to identify securities for settlement purposes; the most prevalent of these is the International Securities Identifying Number. An ISIN uniquely identifies a security and its structure is defined in ISO 6166. Securities for which ISINs are issued include bonds, commercial paper and warrants; the ISIN code is a 12-character alpha-numerical code that does not contain information characterizing financial instruments, but serves for uniform identification of a security at trading and settlement. The ISIN identifies not the exchange on which it trades. For instance, Daimler AG stock trades on twenty-two different stock exchanges worldwide, is priced in five different currencies. ISIN cannot specify a particular trade in this case, another identifier the three- or four-letter exchange code will have to be specified in addition to the ISIN.
While a stock ticker identifies a security that can be traded, stock market indices are sometimes assigned a symbol though they can not be traded. Symbols for indices are distinguished by adding a symbol in front of the name, such as a caret or a dot. For example, Reuters lists the Nasdaq Composite index under the symbol. IXIC. In Canada the Toronto Stock Exchange TSX and the TSXV use the following special codes after the ticker symbol: In the United Kingdom, prior to 1996, stock codes were known as EPICs, named after the London Stock Exchange's Exchange Price Information Computer. Following the introduction of the Sequence trading platform in 1996, EPICs were renamed Tradable Instrument Display Mnemonics, but they are still referred to as EPICs. Stocks can be identified using their SEDOL number or their ISIN. In the United States, modern letter-only ticker symbols were developed by Standard & Poor's to bring a national standard to investing. A single company could have many different ticker symbols as they varied between the dozens of individual stock markets.
The term ticker refers to the noise made by the ticker tape machines once used by stock exchanges. The S&P system was standardized by the securities industry and modified as years passed. Stock symbols for preferred stock have not been standardized; some companies use a well-known product as their ticker symbol. Belgian brewer InBev, the brewer of Budweiser beer, uses "BUD" as its three-letter ticker for American Depository Receipts, symbolizing its premier product in the United States, its rival, Molson Coors Brewing Company, uses a beer-related symbol, "TAP". Southwest Airlines pays tribute to its headquarters at Love Field in Dallas through its "LUV" symbol. Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which operates large amusement parks in the United States, uses "FUN" as its symbol. Harley-Davidson uses "HOG" for its Harley Owners Group. Yamana Gold uses "AUY", because on the periodic table of elements. Sotheby's uses the symbol "BID". While most symbols come from the company's name, sometimes it happens the other way around.
Tricon Global, owner of KFC, Pi
A pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years, from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments. A pension may be a "defined benefit plan" where a fixed sum is paid to a person, or a "defined contribution plan" under which a fixed sum is invested and becomes available at retirement age. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the terms "retirement plan" and "superannuation" tend to refer to a pension granted upon retirement of the individual. Retirement plans may be set up by employers, insurance companies, the government or other institutions such as employer associations or trade unions. Called retirement plans in the United States, they are known as pension schemes in the United Kingdom and Ireland and superannuation plans in Australia and New Zealand. Retirement pensions are in the form of a guaranteed life annuity, thus insuring against the risk of longevity. A pension created by an employer for the benefit of an employee is referred to as an occupational or employer pension.
Labor unions, the government, or other organizations may fund pensions. Occupational pensions are a form of deferred compensation advantageous to employee and employer for tax reasons. Many pensions contain an additional insurance aspect, since they will pay benefits to survivors or disabled beneficiaries. Other vehicles may provide a similar stream of payments; the common use of the term pension is to describe the payments a person receives upon retirement under pre-determined legal or contractual terms. A recipient of a retirement pension is known as a retiree. A retirement plan is an arrangement to provide people with an income during retirement when they are no longer earning a steady income from employment. Retirement plans require both the employer and employee to contribute money to a fund during their employment in order to receive defined benefits upon retirement, it is a tax deferred savings vehicle that allows for the tax-free accumulation of a fund for use as a retirement income. Funding can be provided in other ways, such as from labor unions, government agencies, or self-funded schemes.
Pension plans are therefore a form of "deferred compensation". A SSAS is a type of employment-based Pension in the UK; some countries grant pensions to military veterans. Military pensions are overseen by the government. Ad hoc committees may be formed to investigate specific tasks, such as the U. S. Commission on Veterans' Pensions in 1955–56. Pensions may extend past the death of the veteran himself, continuing to be paid to the widow. Many countries have created funds for their citizens and residents to provide income when they retire; this requires payments throughout the citizen's working life in order to qualify for benefits on. A basic state pension is a "contribution based" benefit, depends on an individual's contribution history. For examples, see National Insurance in the UK, or Social Security in the United States of America. Many countries have put in place a "social pension"; these are tax-funded non-contributory cash transfers paid to older people. Over 80 countries have social pensions.
Some are universal benefits, given to all older people regardless of income, assets or employment record. Examples of universal pensions include New Zealand Superannuation and the Basic Retirement Pension of Mauritius. Most social pensions, are means-tested, such as Supplemental Security Income in the United States of America or the "older person's grant" in South Africa; some pension plans will provide for members in the event they suffer a disability. This may take the form of early entry into a retirement plan for a disabled member below the normal retirement age. Retirement plans may be classified as defined benefit or defined contribution according to how the benefits are determined. A defined benefit plan guarantees a certain payout at retirement, according to a fixed formula which depends on the member's salary and the number of years' membership in the plan. A defined contribution plan will provide a payout at retirement, dependent upon the amount of money contributed and the performance of the investment vehicles utilized.
Hence, with a defined contribution plan the risk and responsibility lies with the employee that the funding will be sufficient through retirement, whereas with the defined benefit plan the risk and responsibility lies with the employer or plan managers. Some types of retirement plans, such as cash balance plans, combine features of both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, they are referred to as hybrid plans. Such plan designs have become popular in the US since the 1990s. Examples include Cash Pension Equity plans. A traditional defined benefit plan is a plan in which the benefit on retirement is determined by a set formula, rather than depending on investment returns. Government pensions such as Social Security in the United States are a type of defined benefit pension plan. Traditionally, defined benefit plans for employers have been administered by institutions which exist for that purpose, by large businesses, or, for government workers, by the government itself. A traditional form
A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. Banking in its modern sense evolved in the 14th century in the prosperous cities of Renaissance Italy but in many ways was a continuation of ideas and concepts of credit and lending that had their roots in the ancient world. In the history of banking, a number of banking dynasties – notably, the Medicis, the Fuggers, the Welsers, the Berenbergs, the Rothschilds – have played a central role over many centuries.
The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while the oldest existing merchant bank is Berenberg Bank. The concept of banking may have begun in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, with merchants offering loans of grain as collateral within a barter system. Lenders in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire added two important innovations: they accepted deposits and changed money. Archaeology from this period in ancient China and India shows evidence of money lending. More modern banking can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, to the rich cities in the centre and north like Florence, Siena and Genoa; the Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th-century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe. One of the most famous Italian banks was the Medici Bank, set up by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici in 1397; the earliest known state deposit bank, Banco di San Giorgio, was founded in 1407 at Italy. Modern banking practices, including fractional reserve banking and the issue of banknotes, emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Merchants started to store their gold with the goldsmiths of London, who possessed private vaults, charged a fee for that service. In exchange for each deposit of precious metal, the goldsmiths issued receipts certifying the quantity and purity of the metal they held as a bailee; the goldsmiths began to lend the money out on behalf of the depositor, which led to the development of modern banking practices. The goldsmith paid interest on these deposits. Since the promissory notes were payable on demand, the advances to the goldsmith's customers were repayable over a longer time period, this was an early form of fractional reserve banking; the promissory notes developed into an assignable instrument which could circulate as a safe and convenient form of money backed by the goldsmith's promise to pay, allowing goldsmiths to advance loans with little risk of default. Thus, the goldsmiths of London became the forerunners of banking by creating new money based on credit; the Bank of England was the first to begin the permanent issue of banknotes, in 1695.
The Royal Bank of Scotland established the first overdraft facility in 1728. By the beginning of the 19th century a bankers' clearing house was established in London to allow multiple banks to clear transactions; the Rothschilds pioneered international finance on a large scale, financing the purchase of the Suez canal for the British government. The word bank was taken Middle English from Middle French banque, from Old Italian banco, meaning "table", from Old High German banc, bank "bench, counter". Benches were used as makeshift desks or exchange counters during the Renaissance by Jewish Florentine bankers, who used to make their transactions atop desks covered by green tablecloths; the definition of a bank varies from country to country. See the relevant country pages under for more information. Under English common law, a banker is defined as a person who carries on the business of banking by conducting current accounts for his customers, paying cheques drawn on him/her and collecting cheques for his/her customers.
In most common law jurisdictions there is a Bills of Exchange Act that codifies the law in relation to negotiable instruments, including cheques, this Act contains a statutory definition of the term banker: banker includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not, who carry on the business of banking'. Although this definition seems circular, it is functional, because it ensures that the legal basis for bank transactions such as cheques does not depend on how the bank is structured or regulated; the business of banking is in many English common law countries not defined by statute but by common law, the definition above. In other English common law jurisdictions there are statutory definitions of the business of banking or banking business; when looking at these definitions it is important to keep in mind that they are defining the business of banking for the purposes of the legislation, not in general. In particular, most of the definitions are from legislation that has the purpose of regulating and supervising banks rather than regulating the actual business of banking.
However, in many cases the statutory definition mirrors the common law one. Examples of statutory definitions: "banking business" means the business of receiving money on current or deposit account and collecting cheques drawn by or paid in by customers, the making