Government Bonds Vs Private Bonds: How To Decide Which Is Better For You

Published on
Jul 14, 2023
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    Government Bonds vs. Private Bonds

    Government Bonds and Private Bonds are two types of fixed-income investments that offer investors the opportunity to earn a steady stream of income over time. Investing in bonds can be a crucial part of a well-rounded investment strategy, providing stability and income for investors. Each bond has its distinctive characteristics that should be evaluated based on individual preferences and investment goals. In this blog, we will evaluate both bonds and explore the benefits and key differences which will help you in making an informed decision that aligns with your financial objectives.

    What Are Government And Private Bonds?

    Government Bonds are debt securities issued by the Central Government or the State Governments to finance their fiscal deficit and meet other expenditure requirements. These are commonly known as ‘Government of India Securities’ or ‘G-Secs’. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) acts as the central authority for issuing and managing these debt securities in India.

    The Government issues Debt securities that have different maturity periods1:

    1. Treasury Bills (T-Bills) issued by the Central Government with maturity periods of 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days.

    2. Government Bonds or Dated Securities issued by the Central Government with longer maturity periods ranging from 1 year to 40 years.

    3. The State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities with maturity periods ranging from 1 year to 40 years. They are called State Development Loans (SDLs).

    Private Bonds are issued by private corporations, financial institutions, banks, infrastructure companies, and other non-government entities. These bonds are referred to as corporate bonds or corporate debt securities. These entities raise capital through bond issuances to fund their business operations, expansion, projects, or debt refinancing.

    Bonds are assigned credit ratings by rating agencies like CRISIL, ICRA, CARE, etc. These ratings assess the creditworthiness and default risk of the issuing company. Higher-rated bonds indicate lower credit risk, while lower-rated bonds carry higher risk but may offer higher yields to compensate investors.

    Benefits Of Investing In Government And Private Bonds

    Government and Private Bonds provide a great opportunity to diversify your portfolio along with earning a steady stream of income. They provide investors with higher returns compared to Fixed Deposits along with stability and security.

    Government Bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of issuing governments, making them safe investment options. Private Bonds, on the other hand, are not as secure as Government Bonds but offer higher yields and flexibility.

    Below, we will discuss the benefits of both Government and Private Bonds so that investors can make an informed decision about which type of bond they should invest in.

    Benefits Of Government Bonds

    • Regular and Consistent Returns: Government Bonds offer consistent and regular income to investors. This can be their secondary income for a longer period as G-Secs are generally issued for more than 5 years.
    • Sovereign Guarantee: The risk of default is non-existent because the issuer is the Government itself. The bond issuance is a type of formal declaration of the government’s debt obligation, it implies issuing governmental body’s liability to repay as per the stipulated terms.
    • Portfolio Diversification: With almost no-risk and assured returns, investors can diversify their fixed-income portfolio and lower the risk in their portfolio by adding Government Bonds to their portfolio.
    • Liquidity: Government Bonds are easily tradeable on exchanges and make G-Secs more liquid than fixed-income instruments like bank fixed deposits where there is a penal interest for withdrawing before the maturity date.
    • Low Volatility: Government Bonds have stability in their price movements. Their prices are influenced by changes in interest rates which are less volatile.

    Benefits Of Private Bonds

    • Higher Yields: Private Bonds offer higher yields compared to Government Bonds due to the increased credit risk associated with private issuers. Investors seeking higher returns may find Private Bonds more attractive.
    • Potential for Capital Appreciation: Private Bonds can provide opportunities for capital appreciation if their market value increases. Changes in credit ratings, market conditions, and investor demand can impact the prices of Private Bonds, offering potential capital gains to investors.
    • Portfolio Diversification: Investing in Private Bonds allows for diversification. Including Private Bonds in one’s investment portfolio can help spread risk and enhance overall diversification.
    • Potential for Sector-Specific Investments: Private Bonds provide the opportunity to invest in specific sectors or industries that align with an investor's interests or expertise. This allows investors to participate in the growth and development of specific sectors or companies.

    A few of the significant differentiating factors between Government Bonds and Private Bonds are as under:


    Government Bonds

    Private Bonds

    Yield and Coupon RateOffer lower yields due to their lower risk profile.Offers higher coupon rates to compensate investors for the additional risk they carry.
    Credit RiskDefault risk is nil as they are backed by the Sovereign Guarantee.Default Risk is higher compared to Government Bonds. Within Private Bonds, A, AA, and AAA-rated bonds are considered safest and the industry has seen limited defaults in such bonds

    Embedded Options – Call Provision and Call Risk


    May have provisions wherein the issuer has the option to buy back (call option) or the investors have the option to sell the bond (put option) to the issuer during the tenure of the bond after the initial lockout period.May have a call and put options that allow the issuer or investor to redeem the bonds before maturity.

    Covenants and Terms of the Bonds


    Have standard terms and conditions without any complex covenants. They are straightforward investments with transparent terms.May have customized terms and conditions, including covenants related to collateral, and contractual obligations.
    Diversification Benefits and Portfolio FitAre considered low-risk investments, providing stability and capital preservation. They can serve as a core component in a diversified investment portfolio, offering stability and income.Can provide higher yields and potential for higher returns but carry additional credit risk. They can be suitable for investors seeking higher income and willing to take on additional risk.
    Issuer Information and Financial HealthThe government is considered a highly reliable and financially stable issuer. There is transparency in terms of its financial statements, policy decisions, and market information. The government's fiscal health is closely monitored providing investors with a higher level of confidence.The financial health and issuer information of private companies issuing bonds varies. Investors need to conduct thorough research on the financial statements of the issuer, their track record and management quality, and industry prospects to assess the issuer's ability to meet its debt obligations.


    It requires careful evaluation based on the risk appetite, income requirements, liquidity needs, and portfolio objectives while choosing between Government and Private Bonds. On one hand, Government Bonds offer liquidity, safety, stability, and lower risk, making them suitable for investors who are more conservative and risk-averse. On the other hand, Private Bonds offer better yields but have higher risk and require careful analysis of the issuer's financial health. They are usually recommended for investors comfortable with taking on additional risk in the pursuit of higher returns.

    It becomes essential for investors to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and diversify their bond holdings thereby ensuring a well-rounded investment approach. The decision to invest in Government or Private Bonds is linked to an investor’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. To have the best risk management and portfolio optimization, it is advisable to have diversification between Government and Private Bonds.

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    1. Reserve Bank of India <> 

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    Disclaimer: This communication does not constitute advice relating to investing or otherwise dealing in securities and is not an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities. Grip Invest Technologies Private Limited ("Grip", formerly known as Grip Invest Advisors Private Limited) is not registered with SEBI in any capacity and does not advise, encourage, or discourage its users to invest or not invest in any securities. Grip is solely an execution-only platform and does not guarantee or assure any return on investments made by you in any opportunities sourced by Grip and accepts no liability for consequences of any actions taken based on the information provided. Your investment is solely based on your judgement. Investments in debt securities are subject to risks. Read all the offer-related documents carefully.

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