Welcome to Fineco’s Glossary! It will help you better understand the financial terminology and master your financial skills.


Underlying asset

Underlying asset is a term that applies to the field of derivatives trading. Derivatives are a security with a price that is determined as a function of that of another asset, called the underlying asset. For example, a grain future is a contract establishing the purchase and sale of a certain quantity of grain for a set price on a specific future date. These contracts are usually sold before expiry, so the trader never actually deals in the commodity itself, which is why it is considered a derivative. The underlying asset is the physical grain. Other derivatives include options, forwards, and contracts for difference, and the underlying assets can include other commodities, financial instruments like stocks, or currencies, among others.


In the world of international finance, a unicorn is a start-up that has reached a market value of at least 1 billion. The term was first used in 2013 by Aileen Lee, a US venture capitalist. Reaching a major valuation is a rare event referred to by the name of an equally rare mythological animal.

It is a term widely used in the US Silicon Valley, particularly in the venture capital field. Unicorn start-ups are not yet private companies, so retail investors cannot buy their shares. However, these companies often go public after becoming unicorns, giving all investors the opportunity to become shareholders in the company.

United Nations

The United Nations is a supranational body founded in 1945 that functions as a forum for international cooperation and policy recommendations on global issues such as security and economic prosperity. One of its five main branches is the Economic and Social Council, which coordinates fifteen specialised agencies that work on social and economic issue. These agencies include the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both headquartered in Washington D.C., USA. While part of the UN system, these two agencies are highly independent. They exert major influence over global financial affairs, especially in developing countries.

United Nations (UN)

The United Nations (UN) is a non-profit international organisation based in New York, whose aim is political and economic cooperation between member states. The United Nations was established in 1945 with the aim of ensuring greater cooperation between countries and encouraging nations to engage in dialogue to resolve international tensions.

The United Nations has a structure consisting of several organs. The UN General Assembly is responsible for setting the budget, appointing the Security Council and approving non-binding resolutions; the UN Secretariat implements the policies defined by the various organs; the UN International Court of Justice settles disputes between countries; the UN Security Council aims to maintain international security and peace; the UN Economic and Social Council coordinates 15 agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Universal banking

Universal banking refers to a full suite of banking services at a single financial institution. At a universal bank, high-risk investing coexists routine commercial banking, insurance activity, and mergers and acquisitions.

This model is more common in Europe than in North America and has grown in popularity in recent years. Universal banking was long outlawed in the United States in order to separate the risk of activities like investing in equities from lower-risk services like accepting deposits and granting loans. Recently, however, this legislation was repealed, and universal banks do exist now in the U.S.