Concept

Off-balance-sheet

Summary
Off balance sheet (OBS), or incognito leverage, usually means an asset or debt or financing activity not on the company's balance sheet. Total return swaps are an example of an off-balance-sheet item. Some companies may have significant amounts of off-balance-sheet assets and liabilities. For example, financial institutions often offer asset management or brokerage services to their clients. The assets managed or brokered as part of these offered services (often securities) usually belong to the individual clients directly or in trust, although the company provides management, depository or other services to the client. The company itself has no direct claim to the assets, so it does not record them on its balance sheet (they are off-balance-sheet assets), while it usually has some basic fiduciary duties with respect to the client. Financial institutions may report off-balance-sheet items in their accounting statements formally, and may also refer to "assets under management", a figur
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