When British move to U.S they have to adapt themselves among other things to terminological differences that exist in the world of finance.

To help along the way, here are 10 terms:

1. Barometer stock vs. bellwether stock 

Barometer stock is how British name a stock that forecasts the direction of any sector, industry or financial market. Probably they use this term inspired in the use of a barometer, the instrument for forecasting the weather. In the U.S they simplified the term with a word with the same meaning:  “bellwether”

2.    Current account vs. checking account
A current account for Brits is what it’s commonly called a transnational account, an account where British deposits the money from their earnings.

Once brits move to the United States they will use the same type of account which is called “Checking account”


3. Cash machine vs. ATM

This is one of the more well-known differences. If you are a British in the U.S, you shouldn’t ask for a cash machine. If you are in need of a cash machine you should simply ask for an ATM (automated teller machine).

4. Notes vs. bills
When Brits move to the U.S they’re not only dealing with a different currency, also they have to learn some terms used to talk about money. In U.S the pieces of paper are called bills, not “notes”. This is kind of confusing for british, for example in a restaurant a British may pay the bill with a check and Americans pay the check with bills.

5. Merchant bank vs. investment bank

Merchant bank for British is the bank that resells newly issued shares to investors, in the U.S this banks are named Investment bank.

6. Ordinary share vs. common stock

If you are in the U.K and you are able to elect a board of directors and vote on corporate policy, then you are part of ordinary share.

In the U.S, holders are known as common stock (not to be confused with preferred stock).

7. Trade union vs. labor union
In the UK Trade union is the reference of a union membership for those who seek for union representation. In the U.S this union membership is named: Labor union. (also in the U.S. the right spell is “labour”)

8. Bridging loan vs. bridge loan
These expressions are pretty similar, when Brits in the U.S want to negotiate a short-term loan with a view toward long-term financing they may call it “bridge loan”, in the U.K they called it “bridging loan”

9. Unit trust vs. mutual fund
For the british, when an investor wants to combine funds with others to invest in stocks or bonds, they call it “Unit Trust”, and American financial expert would cal it “Mutual Fund”.

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