Uses of Securities
For the issuer:
Issuers of securities include commercial companies, government agencies, local authorities and international and supranational organisations (such as the World Bank). Repackaged securities are usually issued by a company established for the purpose of the repackaging – called a special purpose vehicle (SPV).
New capital: Commercial enterprises have traditionally used securities as a means of raising new capital. Securities are an attractive alternative to bank loans, which tend to be relatively expensive and short term. Also, the bank may seek a measure of control over the business of the borrower via financial covenants.
Repackaging: Recently, securities have been issued to repackage existing assets. In a traditional securitization, a financial institution may wish to remove assets from its balance sheet in order to achieve regulatory capital efficiencies or to accelerate its receipt of cash flow from the original assets. Alternatively, an intermediary may wish to make a profit by acquiring financial assets and repackaging them in a way which makes them more attractive to investors.
For the holder:
Investors in securities may be retail, i.e. members of the public. The greatest part in terms of volume of investment is wholesale, i.e. by financial institutions acting on their own account, or on behalf of clients. Important institutional investors include investment banks, insurance companies, pension funds and other managed funds.
The traditional function of the purchase of securities is investment, with the view to receiving income and/or achieving capital gain. Debt securities generally offer a higher rate of interest than bank deposits, and equities may offer the prospect of capital growth. Equity investment may also offer control of the business of the issuer.
The last decade has seen an enormous growth in the use of securities as collateral. Collateral arrangements are divided into two broad categories, namely security interests and outright collateral transfers.