On financial markets, no matter when, while working there or just getting to know them, investors will surely face such things as financial instruments. What are they? We’ll paint it in details.
Financial instruments imply a wide range of terms and definitions. It’s very easy to see how numerous they are: they include a category of banking tools, a group of market assets, and a lot of other financial operations that many people have heard of, but only few have really seen and used them.
All financial instruments can be roughly divided into two main groups: the first group is available to everyone without any exceptions, while the second one requires particular knowledge and skills. As a result, the first group will contain credits, loans, bank deposits, and leasing.
Credits and loans are the most widespread financial instruments for citizens. The only thing that may really compete with them is a bank deposit. A credit is an operation when a lender grants money to a borrower at a certain interest. The money, of course, is subject to return according to the agreement. As the years go by, global lending terms are getting “milder”, because banks are competing to retain customers, thus offering them better conditions. However, in developing economies it doesn’t work this way: in most cases, the rate on credit is a primary source of banks’ revenue.
Bank deposits are another widespread financial instrument, which doesn’t imply any in-depth knowledge. In this case, a bank acts as a borrower and pays interests to a lender (an individual) for using their money after a specified period of time is over. The deposit rate is calculated based on the value of the country’s key interest rate, but sometimes there are other possible options.
Leasing is a more complicated financial instrument, but it’s quite available for citizens. Leasing agreements have 3 parties: after concluding an agreement, a lessor gets a long-term asset, a lessee undertakes an obligation to pay money on account of debt repayment, while a distributor of a property or equipment sell their products.
Now let’s talk about the second group of financial instruments, which is related to trading on financial markets and speculations of different types. In this case, speculations mean investment in high-risk assets with a possibility of a large income.
So, what are stocks and bonds? A stock is an ownership share. After buying stocks on financial stock exchanges, an owner is guaranteed the right to receive dividends. A bond is an issued security similar to a stock, but with the attached right to receive its nominal value or money, or their equivalent within the time specified. A bond is a debt security. When it comes to risk, stocks are considered more risky financial instrument, while bonds – more conservative.
Then come derivative instruments. In other words, these are assets that are based on a basic concept, but the instruments themselves are pretty specific tools. Futures are derivative financial instruments based on the SPA of an asset (stocks, good, etc.), and when entering into the agreement parties agree only on the price and the delivery date. Other parameters are usually quite standard and defined by specifications. Futures are trade offers, which are traded on the market on a regular basis.
Among other specific financial instruments are options, swaps, Repo (repurchase agreement), and a lot of different even more extremely specialized tools. Any investor will surely find in this great variety of financial instruments something matching their purposes, knowledge, and financial possibilities.