What Are Fixed Income Securities and How Do They Work?

A fixed income security is a kind of investment that gives periodic returns of a fixed amount and a fixed duration, such that that the principal amount, known as the face value, invested at the beginning, is acquired at the maturity.

These instruments are issued by business corporations and government entities to finance their operations. They allow these entities to borrow from investors without giving any equity of the company; purely on the credibility of the borrower. Thus fixed income securities rank higher than shareholder claims in a company’s capital structure and have a lower risk in case of a bankruptcy.Unlike other forms of investments with variable returns,the return on the investment is known beforehand.

The most common type of fixed income securities are bonds. The longer the maturities are, the higher these bonds pay the interest which is known as the coupon. In return for borrowing a certain sum, the borrower has to pay a certain fixed interest over a fixed time. The principal amount is returned back at the time of maturity. Bonds are the most frequent kind of fixed income security. The greater the coupon, or interest rate, paid by these bonds, the longer the maturity. In exchange for borrowing a particular amount, the borrower must pay a certain amount of fixed interest over a set period of time. At the end of the term, the principal amount is refunded.

Fixed deposits are also one of the most popular forms of fixed securities. Returns from fixed deposits are considered to be safer and guaranteed. There is a fixed period of time, called the lock-in period during which the money invested in the fixed deposit cannot be cashed-in. The period of maturity and the amount of money can be decided beforehand which will amount to a certain sum on a fixed interest that remains unchanged throughout the tenure. Market fluctuations or other economic factors do not affect the pay-out.

Fixed Income Securities provide a steady income throughout their tenure and are generally considered to be safer than equities which are more volatile in nature. Although it should be mentioned here that even though the interests on fixed income securities remain the same, the price value of bonds and other fixed income instruments might fluctuate with time and factors. 

The maturity period and the quantity of money may be determined ahead of time, and it will amount to a particular sum with a fixed interest rate that will remain constant during the term. The payout is unaffected by market movements or other economic considerations.

Fixed Income Securities provide a consistent stream of income over time and are typically thought to be safer than stocks, which are more volatile. However, one should also know about the tax laws to cope with the problems related to taxation. Although the interest rates on fixed income securities stay constant, the price value of bonds and other fixed income instruments may change over time and due to various causes.

Fixed-income securities typically pay a lower rate of return than other investments like equities.The principal risk associated with Fixed-income securities is that they run a credit risk which means the issuer can default on making the interest payments or paying back the principal.Inflation can also be a risk factor if the prices of bonds rise by a faster rate than the interest rate on the fixed-income security.

So to summarise it all, Fixed Income Securities,

  • Have a fixed pay-out model, interest rate and tenure.
  • Rank higher in the capital structure of the company.
  • Are less risky than other forms of variable instruments.
  • Provide lesser returns than other investments.
  • Have a fixed interest return but variable price.