Finance Introduction

Finance is often defined simply as the management of money or “funds” management. [1] Modern finance, however, is a family of business activity that includes the origination, marketing, and management of cash and money surrogates through a variety of capital accounts, instruments, and markets created for transacting and trading assets, liabilities, and risks. Finance is conceptualized, structured, and regulated by a complex system of power relations within political economies across state and global markets. Finance is both art (e.g. product development) and science (e.g. measurement), although these activities increasingly converge through the intense technical and institutional focus on measuring and hedging risk-return relationships that underlie shareholder value. Networks of financial businesses exist to create, negotiate, market, and trade in evermore-complex financial products and services for their own as well as their clients’ accounts. Financial performance measures assess the efficiency and profitability of investments, the safety of debtors’ claims against assets, and the likelihood that derivative instruments will protect investors against a variety of market risks. [2]

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