Among the things we're most proud of at Investopedia is our vast finance and investing dictionary. Every year, millions of people looking to understand a financial or business concept find a concise, helpful definition on our site. Our top trending terms of 2016, measured by jumps in traffic from last year, illuminate what investors were most fixated on in 2016.
Brexit, a portmanteau of "Britain" and "exit," was our top-trending term of the year. Searches for the term were up 4716%.
In June, UK residents voted for the country to leave the European Union by a slim majority. The result came as a shock and markets fell into disarray. The pound sterling has still not clawed back losses to reach its pre-Brexit level. As Britain's Supreme Court weighs whether the government has the right to trigger Article 55 without approval from the parliament, all eyes will be on Britain and its possible exit from Europe and the single market economy in 2017.
Demonetization is the act of withdrawing the legal tender status of a currency unit.
In a bid to fight India's thriving underground economy, in November the government decided to pull two high denomination currency notes out of circulation with little warning. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the country they had until the end of the year to exchange or deposit their old notes. The cash-dependent economy was lurched into chaos as long, snaking lines formed outside ATMs and banks.
Venezuela also demonetized its highest denomination note mid-December, sparking violent protests.
Fintech, or financial technology, refers to innovations in the financial sector which change the way people make payments, save, trade, or even lend money. Fintech has seen a dramatic growth in investments over the last few years and big banks anticipating a disruption have launched their own ventures or collaborations.
Capitalization ratios are indicators that measure the proportion of debt in a company’s capital structure. Investors track a company's ratios to assess its overall health and whether there is a risk of it going bankrupt. The term saw a 1017% leap in traffic this year. This may have something to do with the fact that corporate debt in the U.S., excluding financial firms, reached its highest level in 10 years in 2016.
In 2016, the Bank of Japan and several central banks in Europe, including the European Central Bank, adopted negative deposit rates in a bid to help the economy and drive inflation. This new era of negative interest rate policies meant bond yields turned negative.The aftermath of 'Brexit' and investors' flight to safe havens pushed yields even lower.
Insurance Premium is the amount paid by an individual for health insurance. The term saw a 760% increase in hits this year. Under the Affordable Care Act, the cost of benchmark plans rose 7.5% in 2016 and is expected to increase by 22% next year.
Tax accounting involves compiling a company or individual's financial information in order to determine how much in taxes is owed to the government. There were a couple of tax-related events that can explain the spike in traffic for this term, including the tax plans proposed by the election candidates, companies with cash overseas blaming the high corporate tax rate, and the social security tax ceiling climbing 7.3%.
The Academy award-winning movie 'The Big Short' was the first time a lot of people heard of a synthetic CDO. The movie, which tells the story of a few individuals who predicted the subprime mortgage crisis and is based on a bestselling book, was released in December 2015. Synthetic CDOs made an already-fraught situation much worse since they amplified exposure to bad loans.
Racketeering is the act of providing dishonest services or conducting illegal activities for profits and is closely linked to fraud. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines under federal law.
President-elect Donald Trump settled claims that Trump University duped students for $25 million in November. Hits for the term spiked after Hillary Clinton brought up the allegations during the first presidential debate. In August, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) was sued for racketeering by plaintiffs who alleged the company forced them to pay exorbitant amounts for drugs by steering them away from generic versions.
A return is a gain or loss a security generates over a period of time and is usually expressed as a percentage. Along with risk, it is a fundamental concept of investing. Return is also the abbreviation for tax return.
These terms weren't as popular as the others on this list, but they saw dramatic growth in views this year.
Wealth psychologists specialize in counseling people with problems unique to the very rich. Wealth psychologists help their ultra-rich clients deal with issues such as the guilt they feel about being wealthy, or advise on inheritance issues and counsel parents on how to raise children who are not spoiled by money.
If you think your year was full of dramatic ups and downs take a look at the Burmese kyat. The kyat is a currency which has a more interesting history than most, and this year it saw a shocking amount of volatility. It was Asia's top performer in the first half of this year, buoyed by optimism after the country moved toward democracy. However, it fell to its lowest value against the dollar ever in November.