What Are Serial & Term Bonds? Independent California Municipal Advisor

What Are Serial & Term Bonds? Independent California Municipal Advisor

Only a portion of the loan’s principal balance is amortized over the term. At the end of the term, the remaining balance is due as a final repayment. From the perspectives of both the investors and the issuer, serial bonds help to ensure that the issuer will be able to repay the entire principal. Term bonds can be contrasted with serial bonds, which mature in installments over a period of time.

Another concept involves how soon you get your investment back (liquidity). All else equal, you would want to make shorter-term loans where you would get your principal back sooner rather than later. The only way that you would be willing to lend your money for longer is if you received more interest to do so.

These bonds play an essential role in the world of finance, allowing individuals and organizations to generate income while preserving capital. Serial bonds are tied to a specific project, which means they may not be ideal for short-term investments or for investors who require liquidity. Unlike term bonds, which provide a lump sum payment at maturity, serial bonds involve regular payments over a period of time. This lack of flexibility can limit an investor’s ability to access their funds when needed. When it comes to serial bonds, a portion of the bond is restructured into smaller amounts that are paid off at regular intervals. This allows the total amount of the bond to decrease gradually over time.

One reason is that serial bonds often have higher interest payments than term bonds. Another reason is that serial bonds can be more flexible since they don’t have a set maturity date. As an example, let’s assume a company issues a million dollars worth of bonds in January 2020, all of which are set to mature on the same date two years later.

What Is a Serial Bond?

Term bonds may come with a sinking fund requirement, where the company sets aside an annual fund to repay the bond. Their term bonds remain “unsecured,” in which case investors must rely upon the company’s credibility and history. Corporate bonds are fixed-income securities issued by corporations to finance operations or expansions. Serial bonds involve the gradual repayment of the principal amount through regular installments. This means that as an investor, you will receive smaller payments at regular intervals until the bond reaches maturity.

  • If the bond issuer believes that the facility can generate income consistently each year, it can structure the bond for serial maturity dates.
  • Investors should carefully evaluate the profitability and stability of the project, consider their investment goals, and assess the potential risks before deciding to invest in serial bonds.
  • While term bonds offer stability and predictability, serial bonds offer a gradual repayment structure that benefits both investors and issuers.
  • For investors, serial bonds offer the potential for more frequent returns of principal, which can be reinvested or utilized for other financial goals.

Thereafter, the effective interest recognized each period will be below the cash interest. Adjustment is made to lower the cash interest rate to the effective rate, which also reduces the reported principal balance moving it toward face value. Thus, when the negotiated rate is below the stated cash rate, a premium is created rather than a discount. The subsequent accounting process is not affected except that the increases and decreases are reversed from the examples shown here for a discount. Serial bonds provide advantages such as lower interest rates, lower repayment liability, and the ability to diversify an investment portfolio.

Potential for Lower Yields

Suppose that the city of San Francisco issues $5 million of serial bonds whose terms require that $500,000 of the bonds are repaid every 5 years, beginning 5 years after the date of issue. Term bonds can be backed by specific collateral (secured term bonds), where the collateral is set aside to secure the bonds if they cannot be repaid at maturity. Additionally, just as longer-term bonds fell when interest rates went up, the prices of long-term bonds will rise when interest rates go down. That is because investors looking to reinvest the proceeds from their maturing CDs are willing to pay extra for long-term higher rates, which are no longer available in the marketplace. Given all this, it seems like a no-brainer to invest in the short-term options and receive the higher interest rates and better liquidity that come with them.

Debenture vs. Debenture Stock: Corporate Finance

Serial bonds are often used to finance large projects or infrastructure developments, where the issuer repays a portion of the principal at regular intervals. This structure allows issuers to spread out their repayment obligations over time, providing more flexibility in managing cash flows. Term bonds that have a call feature can be redeemed at an earlier stipulated date before the maturity date. A call feature, or call provision, is an agreement that bond issuers make with investors. This agreement is written in a document referred to as an indenture, which explains how and when the bond can be called, including the multiple call dates throughout the bond’s life. Thus, the issuer of a callable bond can redeem the bond at a predetermined price, at specific times before the bond matures.

While they offer a way to invest responsibly, it’s essential to ensure that they are actually funding initiatives with a positive ecological influence and avoid greenwashing. Essentially, buying a bond means lending money to the issuer, which could be a company or government entity. The bond has a predetermined maturity date and a specified interest rate. The issuer commits to repaying the principal, which is the original loan amount, on this maturity date. In addition, during the time up to maturity, the issuer usually pays the investor interest at prescheduled intervals, typically semiannually.

The Difference Between a Serial Bond and a Sinking Fund

This comparison will help you understand the key differences between these two types of fixed income investments. Overall, serial bonds can be a beneficial investment option for those seeking regular income, reduced repayment liability, and portfolio diversification. However, it is important to carefully consider the specific investment goals and risk tolerance before deciding to invest in serial bonds. Additionally, the profitability and stability of the underlying project should be thoroughly evaluated to ensure the ability to meet debt obligations.

Types of Bonds and How They Work

Serial bonds differ in that they come with various maturity dates that are spread out over a period of several years. They’re referred to as serial bonds because of withholding the staggered maturity dates. Funds for repayment of the bond are used from the revenues generated from the project that has been funded by the sale of the bonds.

They allow investors to diversify their portfolios geographically and potentially benefit from currency fluctuations or higher yields. Serial bonds are not suitable when the cash flows expected to be generated by a project funded with the bonds will be irregular, delayed, or uncertain. In such cases, structuring a bond as a serial bond could result in a default rather early in the buy-back period. A serial bond is designed to support the financing needs of a capital project that delivers a steady stream of funds to pay down the debt over time. For example, a toll road may require initial funding with a bond issuance, after which toll proceeds are used to pay off the bonds over a long period of time. The same situation arises for an apartment complex, where bonds are used to pay for construction of the complex, and the resulting rents are used to pay for the bonds.