Features of debt instruments

This article deals with all the features that debt instrument carried. Each debt instrument has three features: Maturity, coupon and principal.

Maturity: Maturity of a bond refers to the date, on which the bond matures, which is the date on which the borrower has agreed to repay the principal. Term-to-Maturity refers to the number of years remaining for the bond to mature. The Term-to-Maturity changes everyday, from date of issue of the bond until its maturity. The term to maturity of a bond can be calculated on any date, as the distance between such a date and the date of maturity. It is also called the term or the tenure of the bond.

Coupon: Coupon refers to the periodic interest payments that are made by the borrower (who is also the issuer of the bond) to the lender (the subscriber of the bond). Coupon rate is the rate at which interest is paid, and is usually represented as a percentage of the par value of a bond.

Principal: Principal is the amount that has been borrowed, and is also called the par value or face value of the bond. The coupon is the product of the principal and the coupon rate. The name of the bond itself conveys the key features of a bond. For example, a GS CG2008 11.40% bond refers to a Central Government bond maturing in the year 2008 and paying a coupon of 11.40%.