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Overview of what is a bond and why they are seen n
● 张美霓 flavia cheong



  a bond is a long term debt security. it represents debt

because the investors ac-tually lend the face amount to the 

bond is-suer. however, unlike loans, bonds can be traded in

the open market, ie. the investor need not hold it to 

maturity or suffer a pe-nalty should he choose to sell the 

bond.



  a typical bond (plain vanilla) specifies:



  -the amount of the loan. the face a-mount or par value

is the amount that the bond issuer has agreed to repay. a 

typical face amount is s$1,000 for bonds issued by the 

singapore government;



  -a fixed date when the principal is due. the date on 

which the principal is required to be repaid is called the 

maturity date;



  -if the bond is secured by a collateral. investors of 

the orchard 300 bond issued by hallgaden investment pte ltd 

( a joint venture between singapore press holdings and lum 

chang) have the first legal mort-gage rights to the 

promenade, a commer-cial property at the heart of orchard 

road.



  -the contractual amount of interest which is paid out 

either every six months or annually. the coupon rate is 

deter-mined largely by market conditions at the time of the 

bond's sale. once determined, it is set contractually for 

the life of the bonds. however, some bonds have interest 

rates that fluctuate during the life of the bond, usually at

a spread over a reference rate. these are called variable 

rate bonds or floating rate notes (frn). 



  one example of a fixed rate bond is the singapore 

government bond 4.5% 03/00, the issuer is the government of 

singapore, the interest payable is 4.5%. the sgb's coupon 

is payable on a semi-annual basis, i.e. the singapore 

government will pay the investor 2.25% of s$1,000 or $22.40 

every six months. the government promises to repay the 

principal in march 2000 to the investor. on the other hand,

the dbs land 4/00 frn pays a coupon of 35 basis points over 

the 6 months singapore dollar swap rate, where the reference

rate is fixed every six months and the principal is due on 

april 2000.



  prior to the early 1980s, the bond market was comprised 

mainly of 'plain vanilla' bonds with simple cashflow 

structures, where coupon payments and maturity were fixed at

the outset. but since then, the market has progressed, and 

many securities in the bond market have options embedded in 

them. examples include securities such as "callable bonds" 

and "puttable bonds". the former offers the issuer the 

option to redeem the bonds at an earlier date, and in this 

case, the investor is usually paid a pre-mium over the par 

value to compensate for the inconvenience. suppose interest 

rates have fallen substantially since the bond was issued, 

then it would pay the issuer to redeem the bonds early and, 

at the same time, sell a new issue with a lower cou

pon rate. the end result, interest savings for the issuer. a puttable bond is a plain vani-lla bond with an option for the investors to sell or put the bond to the issuer at a date before maturity. investors usually put a bond back to the issuer when they think that the money invested could be better used elsewhere.   convertible bonds gives investors the option to convert their corporate bonds into company stocks instead of getting a cash repayment. the terms are set at issue, they include the date the conversion can be made and how much stock each bond can be exchanged for. the conversion option usually lets the issuer offer a lower initial interest rate and makes the bond price less sensitive than conventional bonds to changes in the interest rate. exchangeable bonds are the same except that the option is to convert to another entity's stocks. for example, fullerton global's 2003 zero coupon bond is exchangeable into singa-pore telecom shares. other variations of the plain vanilla bonds include zero cou-pon bonds which does not pay out interest but interest accrues and is paid in a lump sum at maturity.   a major appeal of investing in bonds is that they provide investors with a steady stream of income and barring defaults, guarantees the repayment of the loan in full at maturity. for the conservative investors, bonds also provide greater protection. e-quity investors are the last in line of all those who have a claim on the assets and income of the corporation. in a liquidation of the firm's assets, bondholders and other creditors will have to be paid first. for a firm not in liquidation, shareholders have claim to part of the operating income left over after taxes and interest to bond hold-ers have been paid. for secured bonds, in-vestors have the legal right to the asset that has backed the bonds. some bond cove-nants provide further protection to the in-vestors by stipulating that the bonds can be put back to the issuer in the event the ma-jority shareholder sells down his stake or when certain financial ratios, eg. debt to e-quity ratio, breach a set level.   bonds can also be exciting with scope for capital appreciation. take for instance a fall in interest rates, in this case bonds which were issued when interest rates were high will become increasingly valuable and as the bond price rises, this provides profit for bond sellers.   investors can also ''stock pick'' as they do in the equity market. bonds do get mis-priced and investors who can pick this up can gain substantially. when sentiment towards asia was at its low last year, the petronas 2006 us$ bond was trading at a huge spread of 1,200 basis points over the equivalent u.s. treasury, and since then the spread has narrowed as fears over a possi-bility that the malaysian governmen

t would default on its external liabilities subsided. for the investors who had bought the bond, the capital gain would have been quite significant. (the writer is investment manager of aberdeen asset management. this column has the support of investment management association of singapore and the stock exchange of singapore. )   
对债券的基本认识
    投资者把钱借给发行债券的机构,因此债券也可说是种长期债务 凭证。www.11665.Com但它和普通债务不同,因债券可在公开市场买卖,换句话说, 投资者不需要长期持有至到期日,也不会因提早卖出而缴付违约金。   一般债券会注明:   —贷款额。债券的面值是发行债券的机构承诺偿还的金额。新加 坡政府债券的面值通常是1000元。   —到期日。债券发出机构将在这一天付还面值的金额。   —债券是否有担保。由hallgaden投资私人有限公司(报业控股 与林增的联营公司)发行的乌节300债券便拥有宝龙坊的第一法律抵 押权。   —债券每六个月或每年将付的利息。票面利率通常是在发售债券 时根据市场状况定下的,而且在债券有效期间是固定的。举例说,新 加坡政府的4.5%03/00债券,发行机构是新加坡政府,年利率是4.5% ,持有人每半年所拥有的1000元债券将获得22.40元的利息,发行机 构承诺在2000年3月偿还本金。   不过,也有一些债券的利率在有效期间是浮动的,一般上它们会 根据一个参考利率制定,这类债券称为“浮动利率债券”。以发展置 地4/00浮动利率债券为例,它的票面利率定在比新元6个月期掉期率 高35个基点,每六个月将重新计算,本金退还日是2000年4月。   在80年代以前,债券一般上都相当简单,即包括不太复杂的现金 流动结构,票面利率和到期日在发行时已定下。但这些年来,市场发 展了许多,许多债券还包括了一些选择。   “买回债券”和“卖回债券”便是例子。前者让发行机构有权在 到期日前赎回债券,在这种情形下,为了补偿持有人的不便,他取回 的金额通常会高过本金的数目。发行机构通常会在利率下降的时候这 么做,然后它可再发行利率较低的债券,以省下一笔利息开支。   至于“卖回债券”则让投资者在到期前把债券卖给发行机构。债 券持有人通常会在他们认为能从其他投资途径获得更高回报时这么做 。   “可转换债券”让投资者有权把手上的债券转换成公司股票,而 不是领回本金。所有转换条件在发行时已定好,包括转换日期以及每 单位的债券可转换为多少单位的股票。由于可以转换成股票,这类债 券所付的利息通常较低,因此它们对利率的变动不那么敏感。   “可对换债券”与“可转换债券”类似,唯一的不同的是转换为 另一家公司的股票。fullerton环球2003年到期的债券便可对换成新 电信的股票。   其他特殊种类债券还包括“无息债券”,它在有效期内不付利息 ,而是累积起来在到期时一次偿还。   债券吸引人的一大特点是它让投资者有一笔固定收入,到期时能 领回借出的金额(除非是碰上发行机构违约)。   对保守的投资者来说,它的保障也较大,因为公司清盘变卖资产 时,债券持有人和其他债权人有权先领回资金,最后才轮到股东。即 使公司没有清盘,股东也只有在公司已付给债券持有人利息后才可领 到股息。至于有担保债券,投资者在法律上有权取得债券的抵押资产 。一些债券还给投资者进一步的保护,例如在大股东减持股权或一些 财务比率无法达到一个水平时,债券持有人可把债券卖给发行机构。   债券也有增值的机会。例如在利率下跌时,那些在利率高时发行 的债券价格将会升高,让持有人有机会赚取利润。   投资者在债券市场也可以像在股市那样挑选债券来投资。债券的 价格有时可能没有反映真正的价值,选中这些债券的投资者也有赚取 利润的机会。去年,全球对亚洲看淡时,马来西亚国家石油公司2006 年到期的美元债券与同等的美国国库券相差1200个基点,但随着市场 对马来西亚政府拖延偿还外债的忧虑减低后,差距已经缩小。那些在 价低时买进的投资者,可赚了相当可观的利润。   (作者是安本信托基金管理公司的投资经理。本栏是新加坡投资 管理协会与股票交易所联办的公众教育计划。)

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