What is a word to generically describe all of these financial terms: trade, position, valuation, and collateral?

Example sentence: "The Trade, Position, and Collateral classes all inherit from the abstract class _______."

There could theoretically be an additional category of items added to this set in the future. A broader term that is not too generic would be best.

The context is regulatory reporting of trades, positions, and collateral to governmental bodies, such as for the EMIR regulation from ESMA.

Words like asset or security may come to mind, however, a position isn't technically an asset because it is an abstract concept representing a positive or negative result of many trades--it is their net result, not the trades themselves. Plus, you can report both trades and positions for different underlying assets, or securities types, so those are really concepts at right angles to what I'm looking for.

A crude word might be ReportableItem but this is so generic as to be dissatisfying. I'd like to come up with a more specific term that describes these valid financial concepts—and that is also completely apart from the reporting context (it's for a layer of code that shouldn't know about reporting yet). Item is even worse.

Collateral can be securities such as T-Bills but can also be cash. Cash is not really a security, either.

These terms are generically TradeAspects I suppose, and I think I'm getting closer with that, but this term is still unsatisfying as an aspect seems a far cry from an item or a real thing—it sounds like something less primary and more ancillary.

Later, in the reporting generation layer, I'm quite content to deal in ReportableMessage or otherwise a more generic term, but I need to separate the concerns for now.

While this word is for programming, I don't need programmer knowledge to get the best answer—I need English knowledge!


The core concept here is that all of these are aspects of a business's dealings in derivatives that expose what's really going on to oversight. So I think the concepts of divulging, making visible, and exposing are heading in the right direction. Something like a SecuritiesVisibilityFactor. More promising words: disclosure.

Bonus Question

P.S. A position and a valuation are nearly indistinguishable, and in many cases are used interchangeably, and although they do have slightly distinct meanings in this business domain, for all intents they can be treated as the same thing. For bonus points, though, a new term that describes both of these would be quite useful as well. (I will accept for the first word, and vote up for the second word.)

Example sentence: "The Trade, (1)_________, and Collateral classes all inherit from the abstract class (2)_________. A (1)_________ will later reported as a Position, a Valuation, or both (in two separate reporting messages)."

*Where (1) is this second word, and (2) is the word being requested above.

A Year Later

The term that eventually won in the code and with which I am satisfied is RegulatoryItem. The other classes are RegulatoryTrade, RegulatoryPosition, RegulatoryValuation, RegulatoryCollateral, and so on. These are useful as they distinguish from versions of these classes that are specific to a particular regulator or data source.

  • "... all inherit from the abstract class FinancialTerm."
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:29
  • Downvoter: please help me improve my question, or help me understand why it is not a good fit on English Language & Usage. I'll happily improve it or delete it if you will only deign to enlighten me.
    – ErikE
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:30
  • @HotLicks It's true that the words trade, position, and collateral are financial terms, but trades, positions, and collateral (themselves) aren't terms. They're... something else.
    – ErikE
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:32
  • They're terms in equations.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:38
  • 1
    You're asking for a term to cover some very disparate concepts: events (trade), objects (collateral), states (position) and opinions (valuation). I think you'll struggle to find an answer that isn't "dissatisfyingly generic".
    – JHCL
    Oct 9, 2015 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


The reason you're having trouble coming up with the proper name is that JHCL is right: the name will have to cover "very disparate" financial characteristics of an exchange that are gathered only because of the happenstance that a regulatory agency wants to collect them. You're close to realizing this when you mention the name ReportableItem. Perhaps you might use a term related to the reason the regulators collect the data -- namely to characterize individual trades in the hopes that the collection will limn the entire market. So something like TradeCharacteristic or TradeDescriptor.

I think your assumption that position and valuation are "nearly indistinguishable" may be misleading you. Together they give you everything you need to know about UnitInformation in the trade. Position is the number of units, and valuation and position together give you the worth per unit (by dividing the former by the latter).

  • The best name I've been able to think up since yesterday is RiskExposingBusinessConcern or "... Element" or something similar. For what it's worth, a regulatory position message has almost identical data to a valuation message: both contain the quantity and the mark-to-market value. Yes, in one sense a position is a scalar, but in another it is all the details of the security and the trading parties, too.
    – ErikE
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:50
  • @ErikE It's interesting how difficult it is to categorize these terms. I'm not fond of RiskExposing as most transactions aren't risky. I believe the aggregate of the data might expose risk. BusinessConcern collides with the meaning of "company involved in commerce." The position is by definition a scalar, as its a simply a number with no direction. Again the aggregate of the regulatory data will reveal market directions.
    – deadrat
    Oct 9, 2015 at 19:18
  • Right now I'm leaning toward TradingAspect after running a few names by a coworker. The term "Disclosure" was attractive to me, but it already has a lot of meaning bundled into it in this business space, so it's not suitable. Position here really means, "all the data surrounding a position"—I really don't intend the "single quantity" meaning of it. (And in fact, it has a direction because a futures contract holds either the short or long side, so the position value is respectively negative or positive.)
    – ErikE
    Oct 9, 2015 at 19:41
  • @ErikE Short or long, the value is still a scalar, i.e., just a magnitude. Think of temperature, a scalar quantity, whether it's above zero or below. A vector quantity must have both a magnitude and a direction. Naming is often the hard part. Your choices can make your life easier or harder, and they're hard to change once you start. Good luck.
    – deadrat
    Oct 9, 2015 at 20:35
  • "Your choices can make your life easier or harder, and they're hard to change once you start." Yes!!! This is why naming matters so much to me. I know how deeply it informs later thought about the code.
    – ErikE
    Oct 9, 2015 at 23:39

I eventually settled on TradingAspect, for now. The Trading prefix is better than Trade because that seems like it would apply only to trades. I might use a slight variation, perhaps a TradingDatum or similar, but this feels like the right direction.

Other possibilities:

  • TradingDescriptor
  • TradingDescription
  • TradingRecord
  • TradingDetail
  • TradingFactor
  • TradingFactoid

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