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Savings account

A bank account intended for depositing funds. Pays interest and lets you withdraw cash at any time.

Savings bond

A special bond that the federal and some provincial governments will issue. In most cases, it is sold at regular times each year and pays a set rate of interest. Fees are included in the cost of the bond. Examples include the Canada Savings Bond (CSB).


When someone tries to make money by misleading or tricking another person.

Scholarship plan

A type of Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) that pools together the money of many investors. An investment manager invests the money for you, often in lower-risk, fixed-income investments such as bonds and GICs. Enrolment fees are often high and there may be strict rules.

Scholarship trust company

A company that offers pooled scholarship plan RESPs.

Secondary market

The market where securities are resold by other investors, not the company that issued them. The money from trades goes to the selling dealers or investors, rather than directly to the company that issued the shares (which is the primary market).


A part of the economy where businesses provide the same or related products or services. May also refer to a group.

Securities regulator

A government agency that enforces the securities act in jurisdiction it has authority over. This act is made up of laws that establish rules for issuing and trading securities. The Ontario Securities Commission is the securities regulator for Ontario.

Security or Securities

An investment that gives you part ownership of a company, such as a stock, mutual fund or bond. The company that issues the security is known as the issuer.


See System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval.

Segregated fund

An investment product sold by life insurance companies. They are individual insurance contracts that invest in one or more underlying assets, such as a mutual fund.

Self-directed RESP

An RESP plan where you choose the investments you want to hold. You can choose one type of investment (for example, GICs or mutual funds), or you can mix different types, including GICs, mutual funds, stocks and bonds.

Self-directed RRIF

A retirement plan that you use to create income after you retire. You can choose from a wide range of investments or work with an advisor. There are rules about how much you take out each year, and you don't pay tax on the money that stays in your plan.

Self-directed RRSP

A retirement savings plan that lets you choose from a wide range of investments. You can choose from a wide range of investments or work with an advisor. There are rules about how much you can save each year, and you don't pay tax on the money that stays in your plan.

Self-regulatory organization (SRO)

Non-government organizations that have been given the responsibility by provincial securities regulators to govern certain players in the financial system, such as investment firms, in order to protect investors from dishonest behaviour.

Service fee

The fee that you pay to hold a bank or investment account. It covers services that help you access and manage your money. You may pay for each service you use or a flat fee that will cover a package of services.

Severance pay

The compensation that you may receive when you lose your job. It typically reflects your years of service with your employer.


A piece of ownership in a company. A share does not give you direct control over the company's daily operations. But it does let you get a share of profits if the company pays dividends.

Share certificate

A document that represents a shareholder's part ownership of a company


A person or organization that owns shares in a corporation. May also be called a investor.


A way to make money on an investment that you believe will drop in value. You borrow shares of a stock and then sell them right away. When the price drops, you buy the shares back at a lower price and return them to the original owner.

Small cap

A term for companies where the total value of all their shares is small. Typically describes newer businesses that may be more volatile.

Specialty fund

A type of fund that may invest in a specific geographical area or a specific industry.

Speculative investment

A high-risk investment that you buy to profit from a change in price. In most cases, you do not buy these investments for income or dividends.

Spousal RRIF

A RRIF that you create with money from a spousal RRSP.

Spousal RRSP

An RRSP for spouses or life partners where the higher earner puts money into a plan in their spouse's name. The spouse can use the funds after a certain time period. You use it to split income in retirement, which lowers the tax you have to pay.

Spousal trust

A trust account that you set up for your spouse to defer tax. All income must be paid to your spouse and no one else can have use of the money, even by way of loan, during their lifetime. No tax is due until your spouse gifts or sells the assets, or dies.

Standard deviation

A measure used to determine a stock's volatility by measuring how widely its price has gone up and down in the past from its average price. More change results in a higher historic volatility.


An investment that gives you part ownership or shares in a company. Often provides voting rights in some business decisions.

Stock exchange

A market in which securities are bought and sold.

Stock market

The collection of markets and exchanges where stocks, bonds and other securities are issued or traded.

Stock market index

A listing that tracks a group of stocks and their value. Stocks in a given index will have something in common; they may trade on the same exchange, belong to the same industry or be about the same size. Indexes can help assess the results of mutual funds.

Stock option

A contract that gives you the right to buy ("call") or sell ("put") a stock at a set price within a certain period or on a specific date. You don't have to use the option if you believe you will lose money doing so.

Stock purchase plan

A plan that lets employees buy shares of their company. Often you can get the shares at a discounted price or your employer will match the dollars that you put into the plan.

Stock split

When a company takes steps to divide the shares it already has into more shares. The total dollar value stays the same and the price-per-share drops, so more people can afford to buy the stock than before.

Strike price

The specified price at which the holder of an option can buy or sell the stock.

Strip bond

A bond that has its interest payments separated off. This leaves you only the principal to buy, often at a lower price because you don't get the interest. You get the money you invest back when the bond matures, without interest.

Succession plan

The plan outlining what will happen if a key person within a company leaves, retires or can no longer do their job.

Successor annuitant

A spouse or common-law partner who you name as the sole beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF. The plan will pass to your surviving spouse, and payments may continue without any break. You can only name your spouse or partner as your successor annuitant.

System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval

The electronic system used by public companies and investment funds across Canada to officially file disclosure documents. You can access this information free of charge.

Systemic withdrawal plan (SWP)

A service that some mutual funds offer where they pay cash distributions to investors at set intervals.

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