16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
- How do finance and the financial manager affect the firm’s overall strategy?
Finance involves managing the firm’s money. The financial manager must decide how much money is needed and when, how best to use the available funds, and how to get the required financing. The financial manager’s responsibilities include financial planning, investing (spending money), and financing (raising money). Maximizing the value of the firm is the main goal of the financial manager, whose decisions often have long-term effects.
16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
- What types of short-term and long-term expenditures does a firm make?
A firm incurs short-term expenses—supplies, inventory, and wages—to support current production, marketing, and sales activities. The financial manager manages the firm’s investment in current assets so that the company has enough cash to pay its bills and support accounts receivable and inventory. Long-term expenditures (capital expenditures) are made for fixed assets such as land, buildings, equipment and information systems. Because of the large outlays required for capital expenditures, financial managers carefully analyze proposed projects to determine which offer the best returns.
16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
- What are the main sources and costs of unsecured and secured short-term financing?
Short-term financing comes due within one year. The main sources of unsecured short-term financing are trade credit, bank loans, and commercial paper. Secured loans require a pledge of certain assets, such as accounts receivable or inventory, as security for the loan. Factoring, or selling accounts receivable outright at a discount, is another form of short-term financing.
16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
- What are the key differences between debt and equity, and what are the major types and features of long-term debt?
Financial managers must choose the best mix of debt and equity for their firm. The main advantage of debt financing is the tax-deductibility of interest. But debt involves financial risk because it requires the payment of interest and principal on specified dates. Equity—common and preferred stock—is considered a permanent form of financing on which the firm may or may not pay dividends. Dividends are not tax-deductible.
The main types of long-term debt are term loans, bonds, and mortgage loans. Term loans can be unsecured or secured and generally have maturities of 5 to 12 years. Bonds usually have initial maturities of 10 to 30 years. Mortgage loans are secured by real estate. Long-term debt usually costs more than short-term financing because of the greater uncertainty that the borrower will be able to make the scheduled loan payments.
16.5 Equity Financing
- When and how do firms issue equity, and what are the costs?
The chief sources of equity financing are common stock, retained earnings, and preferred stock. The cost of selling stock includes issuing costs and potential dividend payments. Retained earnings are profits reinvested in the firm. For the issuing firm, preferred stock is more expensive than debt because its dividends are not tax-deductible and its claims are secondary to those of debtholders but less expensive than common stock. Venture capital is often a source of equity financing for young companies.
16.6 Securities Markets
- How do securities markets help firms raise funding, and what securities trade in the capital markets?
Securities markets allow stocks, bonds, and other securities to be bought and sold quickly and at a fair price. New issues are sold in the primary market. After that, securities are traded in the secondary market. Investment bankers specialize in issuing and selling new security issues. Stockbrokers are licensed professionals who buy and sell securities on behalf of their clients.
In addition to corporate securities, investors can trade U.S. government Treasury securities and municipal bonds, mutual funds, futures, and options. Mutual funds are managed by financial-service companies that pool the funds of many investors to buy a diversified portfolio of securities. Investors choose mutual funds because they offer a convenient way to diversify and are professionally managed. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are similar to mutual funds but trade on stock exchanges similar to common stock. Futures contracts are legally binding obligations to buy or sell specified quantities of commodities or financial instruments at an agreed-on price at a future date. They are very risky investments because the price of the commodity or financial instrument may change drastically. Options are contracts that entitle the holder the right to buy or sell specified quantities of common stock or other financial instruments at a set price during a specified time. They, too, are high-risk investments.
16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
- Where can investors buy and sell securities, and how are securities markets regulated?
Securities are resold in secondary markets, which include both broker markets and dealer markets. The broker market consists of national and regional securities exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange, that bring buyers and sellers together through brokers on a centralized trading floor. Dealer markets use sophisticated telecommunications networks that link dealers throughout the United States. The NASDAQ and over-the-counter markets are examples of dealer markets. In addition to broker and dealer markets, electronic communications networks (ECNs) can be used to make securities transactions. In addition to the U.S. markets, more than 60 countries have securities exchanges. The largest non-U.S. exchanges are the London, Tokyo, Toronto, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Taiwan exchanges.
The Securities Act of 1933 requires disclosure of important information regarding new securities issues. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and its 1964 amendment formally empowered the Securities and Exchange Commission and granted it broad powers to regulate the securities exchanges and the dealer markets. The Investment Company Act of 1940 places investment companies such as companies that issue mutual funds under SEC control. The securities markets also have self-regulatory groups such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and measures such as “circuit breakers” to halt trading if the S&P 500 Index drops rapidly.
16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
- What are the current developments in financial management and the securities markets?
The role of the CFO has continued to expand since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with CFOs taking the central role in overseeing corporate compliance with the act and reestablishing public trust. CFOs must look outward and be business focused. Most CFOs are promoting strategic finance and encouraging finance staff to be team players who work closely with business units to achieve corporate goals.
Competition among the world’s major securities exchanges has changed the composition of the financial marketplace. The NYSE and NASDAQ went head to head in the United States. The NYSE became a for-profit company, acquired Archipelago, an electronic exchange, and merged with Euronext to form the first transatlantic exchange. NASDAQ also expanded by acquiring its own ECN and buying a 25 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange, which continues to look for a potential buyer.