Companies traditionally have sold bonds through their underwriters to institutional investors and pension funds. Now, a small but growing number of companies, including familiar names such as International Business Machines, Dow Chemical, and Diageo PLC, are selling a new breed of bonds earmarked for individual investors.
With a minimum investment of $1,000, investors have the opportunity to buy the debt securities of investment-grade companies through programs that include: Merrill Lynch’s CoreNotes, La Salle’s Direct Access Notes, and InCapital’s InterNotes.
These programs offer investors a range of securities on a weekly basis that are priced to be purchased at par. Each week’s offerings include a variety of maturities, coupon rates, and interest payment schedules.
Medium-term notes generally go on sale every Monday, and their price remains constant at $1,000 for an entire week. That removes the pressure to buy now, and allows investors the opportunity to shop for the bonds that best meet their needs. Some of the issuers include GE Capital, Bank of America, Sears Roebuck Acceptance Corp, Household Finance, DaimlerChrysler, Boeing Capital, Fannie Mae, Diageo, and Merrill Lynch.
Advantages of investing in medium-term notes include:
- Bonds are issued at par
- Interest is not accrued
- Payment options monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually
- Maturities range from 1 to 25 years
Why Individual Bonds Versus Bond Funds?
Bond funds charge annual management fees and other expenses. And unlike individual bonds, bond funds never mature. So investors are never sure that they will get their principal back when they sell (and may lose money if interest rates go up).
If an investor has to sell the note before maturity, they may receive less than the purchase price. These bonds work best as buy-and-hold investments, and that is how they are marketed. Additionally, bonds are subject to credit market risk.
Available On BondCentral®
Medium-term note new issues are now available via the “New Issue Center” link on the BondCentral homepage1. The prospectuses for these new issues are available online through the “Prospectus Center” link.
1This is a free entitlement on a firm-by-firm basis
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The information contained in these materials is believed accurate at the time of writing but is not guaranteed.
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