Capital Structure

What it is:

Capital structure refers to the blend of debt and equity a company uses to fund and finance its operations.

How it works/Example:

If Company XYZ has completed an initial public offering and a bond offering, we could therefore say that Company XYZ's capital structure includes debt and equity. Bank loans, preferred stock, retained earnings and working capital might also be part of the company's capital structure.

In many cases, discussions of capital structure include references to debt-to-equity ratios, which are one of several ratios that measure the relative weight of different types of capital.

Why it Matters:

Different types of capital impose different types of risks on a company. For this reason, capital structure affects the value of a company, and therefore much analysis goes into determining what a company's optimal capital structure is. The Modigliani and Miller propositions (created by financial theorists Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller) address this question.

Best execution refers to the imperative that a broker, market maker, or other agent acting on behalf of an investor is obligated to execute the investor's order in a way that is most advantageous to the investor rather than the agent.