Glossary of Terms

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Special Purpose Entity (SPE)

A special purpose entity is a legal entity (usually a limited company of some type or, sometimes, a limited partnership) created to fulfill narrow, specific or temporary objectives. SPEs are typically used by companies to isolate the firm from financial risk. A company will transfer assets to the SPE for management or use the SPE to finance a large project thereby achieving a narrow set of goals without putting the entire firm at risk. SPEs are also commonly used in complex financings to separate different layers of equity infusion. In addition, they are commonly used to own a single asset and associated permits and contract rights to allow for easier transfer of that asset. Often it is important that the SPE not be owned by the entity on whose behalf the SPE is being set up (the sponsor). For example, in the context of a loan securitization, if the SPE securitization vehicle were owned or controlled by the bank whose loans were to be secured, the SPE would be consolidated with the rest of the bank's group for regulatory, accounting, and bankruptcy purposes, which would defeat the point of the securitization. (Courtesy www.Wikipedia.org)

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