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What is a Bond?
A bond is a fixed income debt instrument, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest (coupon) to the holder and/or to repay the principal at a later date. It is a formal contract to repay borrowed money with interest at fixed intervals.
What kind of return will you be receiving?
Bonds are a great alternative to other investments such as equities, mutual funds and fixed deposits and offer a good return as compared to its risk. Bonds are also much more secure than equities as they are governed by stricter terms and conditions.
How safe are Bonds?
In terms of default risk (the risk that the bond issuer is unable to repay bond holders at the maturity date), bonds are usually rated by reputable rating agencies such as Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and CariCRIS (a Caribbean credit rating agency). The ratings given by these agencies are an indication of the issuer’s probability of default and ability to make its obligated payments. Investors therefore use ratings as a gauge of how safe a bond is. Generally, the higher the rating, the less likely the issuer will default.