01 August 2012 07:00

Famous financial institutions an investor should know

There are many well established financial institutions that every investor should be aware of. Euroinvestor has picked out some of the most famous so you can get to know them better.

The European Financial Stability Facility

The European Financial Stability facility (EFSF) was set up in may 2010 as a temporary facility to raise loans by the issue of bonds and other debt instruments. Its function is to support members of the eurozone in times of economic difficulty, and it is currently involved in the latest round of bailouts. With its headquarters in Luxembourg, the EFSF generates the cash needed itself on the open investment market, and is not actually a fund.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Officially known as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are US government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), with the purpose of maintaining and improving liquidity in the US mortgage market. The way they do this is by buying mortgages on the secondary market then selling them on as mortgage backed securities to investors on the open market. This brings more money into the cash pool available for mortgages from investors.

The European Central Bank

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the Euro, and sets the monetary policy of all the countries in the eurozone. Formed in 1998 and based in Frankfurt, its role is to maintain price stability across the eurozone by being in control of the supply of money and of interest rates. It is also the sole authority on issuing euro banknotes.

Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Better known as OPEC, this global cartel is made up of 12 oil producing companies and supplies the world with around three quarters of its current oil production. Formed in 1960 at the Baghdad conference, the OPEC maintains prices by imposing maximum production quotas on its members, although with oil prices currently skyrocketing, most member states are operating at near maximum capacity.

The International Monetary Fund

Known as the IMF, its aim is to ensure the stability of the international financial systems. Formed in 1945 and with its headquarters in Washington, the IMF had the initial aim to assist post-war economic reconstruction. It  now has 187 members and is most well known for bailing out other countries that are having major problems with their economies, lending them huge amounts of cash.

Investment Banks

Investment banks are financial institutions that provide individuals, corporations and governments with ways to raise funds. This is often done by underwriting or acting as an agent for the client in issuing securities. Another service they offer is to assist companies with mergers and acquisitions.

The Bank of England

The Bank of England is the central bank for the entire United Kingdom. Founded in 1694 as a private company, the BoE has its headquarters in the City of London and acts as the governments banker. The main role of the BoE is to provide and regulate the UK's currency. It has a monopoly on issuing bank notes in England and Wales and regulates the issue of banknotes from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Financial Services Authority

The FSA is an organisation that is in charge of regulating the financial and investment industries in the UK. Founded in 1985, the FSA is an independant company financed by the industry itself, so it does not have to rely on public funding.

The London Stock Exchange

The LSE is a stock exchange that provided companies with a forum to raise capital. Founded in 1801, the LSE is based in London and  can provide trading services so investors can trade shares, and other instruments and commodities, with each other, via the intermediaries of their brokers and the LSE's electronic trading systems. The LSE also provides a derivatives market through its EDX service.






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