What Are Corporate Bonds? Meaning, Benefits, & How to Invest?

Grip Invest
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Feb 21, 2023
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    The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Corporate Bonds

    You must have heard the phrase, "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? This age-old advice is especially relevant when it comes to investing. Diversifying your portfolio can help mitigate risk and potentially lead to higher returns. While fixed deposits (FDs) have long been a popular investment option, they offer limited returns in the long run. 

    Offering a lucrative opportunity for investors to earn better returns while maintaining a safety level, Corporate Bonds promise fixed and higher returns than FDs. Investors can avail the advantages of better liquidity during their lifespan, relatively low risk than stocks, and higher tax benefits.

    In this article, we will take a closer look at what corporate bonds are, how they work, and why they are a smart addition to any investment portfolio.

    What Are Corporate Bonds?

    Corporate bonds are a type of debt instrument issued by companies intending to access additional capital and enhance their prospects for growth. These bonds are sold to investors, allowing them to earn returns on their investments. 

    Corporate bonds typically have higher yields than other fixed-income instruments, making them attractive to investors seeking higher returns. Investors get fixed returns in the form of periodic interest payments, usually paid semi-annually or annually. Moreover, corporate bonds offer investors security, backed by a company’s assets and ability to generate future cash flows. 

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulates the issuance of Corporate Bonds. The terms and conditions applicable to the allotment will be mentioned in the prospectus prepared by the company. These instruments are traded on exchanges or over the counter (OTC).

    Corporate bonds are also rated according to their creditworthiness. Ratings range from AAA (highest) to D (lowest). AAA-rated bonds provide the highest safety against default risk and offer attractive returns through semi-annual coupon payments. Lower-rated bonds generally offer higher yields but carry greater default risk. As such, it is important that investors carefully assess their risk appetite and make an informed decision before investing in corporate bonds.

    Today, corporate bonds are one of the most popular instruments among investors looking for higher returns than FDs with lower risk exposure than stocks. With the right strategy and proper research, they can be an integral part of any investor's portfolio. Corporate bonds provide steady returns while also offering valuable tax benefits. Furthermore, they offer good liquidity compared to other investments such as real estate or stocks.

    Key Features & Benefits of Corporate Bonds

    The interest rates on corporate bonds are usually higher than those on government bonds, but the risk of default on payments by the company is higher.

    Key Features of Corporate Bonds

    • Fixed income: Corporate bonds offer a fixed rate of return in the form of interest payments, which is attractive to investors who want a predictable income stream.
    • Diversification: Investing in a portfolio of corporate bonds can help diversify an investor's overall portfolio, as they offer exposure to different types of companies and industries.
    • Credit quality: Corporate bonds are rated by credit rating agencies based on the issuer's ability to repay its debt obligations. It allows investors to assess the credit quality of potential investments and make informed decisions about risk.
    • Maturity dates: Corporate bonds have specific maturity dates, which means investors know when they will receive their principal back. It makes them useful for investors who need to plan for future expenses, such as higher education or retirement.
    • Liquidity: Corporate bonds can be bought and sold on secondary markets, which provides liquidity for investors who need to sell their holdings before maturity.
    • Potentially higher returns: Although corporate bonds typically carry more risk than government bonds and fixed deposits, they also offer higher returns due to their higher interest rates.

    Key Benefits of Corporate Bonds

    • A relatively low-risk investment, corporate bonds can provide investors with a steady income and potential capital gains.
    • The income from corporate bonds is generally higher than other low-risk investments such as government bonds or treasury bills.
    • Corporate bonds also offer more diversification to an investor’s portfolio since they are not directly influenced by stock market performance.
    • Corporate Bond investors may also benefit from tax advantages, depending on the issuer and the terms of the bond.
    • In some cases, corporate bonds can also be used for hedging against interest rate movements or currency fluctuations in certain countries.

    Overall, corporate bonds can be a valuable addition to an investor's portfolio because they offer regular income, diversification benefits, and the potential for higher returns compared to other fixed-income investments. However, Corporate bonds also come with terms and conditions that can vary from one issuer to another, so investors should make sure to understand all the details before investing in them. It is advisable to assess the investor's goals and financial capabilities before making any investments.

    Corporate Bond Framework

    The corporate bond framework in India is governed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which sets rules, regulations, and guidelines for the issuance of corporate bonds. Corporate bonds are issued to raise funds for business expansion, to increase working capital, or to refinance existing debt. In India, the primary market for corporate bonds consists of public issues, private placements, and institutional placement programs.

    The essential components of a Corporate Bond framework are:

    Bond Ratings

    A measure of the creditworthiness of a bond issuer, Bond ratings are calculated by independent rating agencies. The rating evaluates the ability and willingness of the issuer to repay principal and interest payments in time. It helps investors assess the risk associated with investing in corporate bonds.

    Bond ratings range from AAA (highest) to D (default), with intermediate ratings such as AA, A, BBB, BB, B, CCC, CC, and C. The higher the rating, the lower the risk of default, but the yield is also lower. Conversely, lower-rated bonds have a higher risk of default but offer higher yields to compensate investors for that risk.

    Rating Agencies

    CRISIL, ICRA, and CARE are some rating agencies that provide ratings for corporate bonds in India. These agencies have established a set of criteria to evaluate the creditworthiness of bonds.

    These rating agencies use a variety of factors to determine a company's bond rating, including financial metrics such as leverage ratios and interest coverage ratios, as well as qualitative factors such as industry trends and competitive position.

    What are the Other Types of Bonds?

    In addition to corporate bonds, investors can choose from several other types of bonds. The most common types of bonds in India are

    • Government Bonds are debt securities issued by the Indian government to fund its borrowing requirements. They are also known as sovereign bonds and are considered to be low-risk investments.
    • Municipal Bonds are debt securities issued by local authorities and government agencies, such as municipalities or city councils, to fund public projects like infrastructure development or social welfare programs.
    • Infrastructure Bonds are long-term debt securities issued by infrastructure companies in sectors such as power, roads, and telecommunications to finance their capital expenditures.
    • Tax-Free Bonds are debt securities issued by government entities or companies that offer tax-free interest income to investors. They typically have longer maturities and lower yields than other bonds.
    • Zero-Coupon Bonds do not pay regular interest payments like traditional bonds but offer a lump sum payment at maturity.
    • Convertible Bonds allow the bondholder to convert the bond into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company. So, suppose a company's stock price rises above a certain level. In that case, the bondholder can choose to convert their bonds into shares of stock and potentially benefit from further appreciation in the stock price.

    Corporate Bond Investing in 2023

    In 2023, corporate bond investing is expected to remain an attractive investment opportunity for investors. Indian and international trends point to continued growth in the demand for corporate bonds owing to the safe and reliable nature of the asset with a potential for higher returns.

    Nikhil Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Grip, says, “Corporate Bonds are yet another opportunity for investors to generate attractive returns as these are secured and rated financial instruments, listed on the stock exchanges, and offer inflation-beating returns with lesser volatility, compared to equity markets.” He adds, “As per our research, at present, corporate credit with an investment grade rating ('A' or higher) providing 8-11% Yield to Maturity is offering the best risk-reward to the investors with an average duration of 3 years.”

    Abhishek Bisen, head of fixed income at Kotak Mahindra AMC, adds, “Indian debt investors should look to buy bonds along the middle of the yield curve as it would help tide over any volatility in the backdrop of upcoming heavy debt supplies and high-interest rates."

    Even in the international market, bonds have been rallying since late October, and investors have been piling into the asset class due to its relatively lower risk profile.

    How Does the Bond Market Work?

    The bond market, also known as the debt or fixed-income market, is a financial market where investors can buy and sell bonds. Bonds are essentially loans made by investors to corporations or governments. In return for the loan, the borrower pays interest to the investor and pays back the principal amount by the due date.

    When a company or government needs to raise money, it can issue bonds. These bonds are sold to investors looking for a steady income stream. Several factors, including the creditworthiness of the issuer and prevailing market conditions, determine the interest rate on the bond.

    Investors in the bond market can choose from a variety of different types of bonds, including government bonds, municipal bonds, and corporate bonds. Each type of bond has its own unique characteristics and risks. Inventors must assess their goals and risk to make wise investment decisions.

    One important thing to understand about the bond market is that bond prices and interest rates have an inverse relationship. When interest rates go up, bond prices go down. Conversely, when interest rates go down, bond prices go up.

    Overall, the bond market plays an important role in our economy by providing a way for companies and governments to raise capital and for investors to earn income while managing risk.

    Identifying a Good Bond Option

    Bonds provide stability and a steady income stream, making them an attractive option for long-term investments. But with so many different types of bonds available in India, how do you know which strategy best suits your investing goals?

    Here is a step-by-step process to identify a good bond option:

    • Know your needs: Before choosing corporate bonds, it is important to assess your financial goals and needs. This can help you determine the best type of bond for you and how much risk you are willing to take.
    • Assess risk tolerance and time horizon: Fixed-income instruments such as government bonds are typically considered low-risk investments with predictable returns, but their yields may be lower than other options. In contrast, high-yield corporate bonds may also be more volatile and have higher default risks.
    • Consider the costs: Fees charged by brokers or banks vary depending on the type of bond. Government bonds are typically cheaper to purchase, while corporate bonds may require a higher initial investment and incur additional fees such as brokerage commissions. It is essential to compare the yields available from different types of bonds with the returns offered by competing investments such as stocks or mutual funds to assess the actual cost. 
    • Understand liquidity: Some bonds can be easily sold in case you need access to your money quickly, while others may not be so liquid.
    • Research the issuer's creditworthiness: Rating agencies provide useful information about an issuer’s ability to pay back its debt obligations and can help you determine if a bond is worth investing in. 
    • Calculate tax implications: Some bonds may be subject to capital gains or income tax depending on the type of bond and the duration for which it has been held.
    • Investigate different types: Corporate bonds come in many forms, such as investment grade or high-yield junk bonds, convertible bonds, callable bonds, and zero coupon bonds. You should research each type thoroughly and decide which ones will fit your investment objectives.

    Overall, finding a good bond option requires careful consideration of all these factors. Taking the time to research options can help investors make informed decisions and maximize returns. Investing in bonds is not without risks, but the right strategy increases the chances of earning high yields.

    Corporate Bond Vs. Other Asset Classes

    Investment Type




    Corporate BondsHigh liquidity & low transaction cost Default riskModerate
    Government BondsLow volatility & low transaction costPolitical & inflation riskModerate
    Fixed Deposits (FDs)Guaranteed returnsInterest rate riskModerate
    Corporate FDsHigher returns than regular FDsDefault & liquidity risksHigh to moderate
    Mutual FundsProfessional fund management Market-related risksModerate
    StocksPotentially high returnsVolatility & market risksHigh

    How to Invest in Corporate Bonds?

    There are several ways to invest in corporate bonds, depending on the investor’s risk appetite and financial goals. Investors can invest in Corporate bonds through one of the following methods:

    • Direct purchase of bonds from the issuer
    • From broker 
    • Through Mutual Funds
    • Through Electronic Traded Funds (ETFs)

    Grip is a digital investment platform offering non-market-linked alternative investment options. It is a user-friendly platform for investing in secure and investment-grade corporate bonds. Providing investors with a diverse set of options to choose from, Grip makes it easy for investors to buy bonds quickly.

    The platform has detailed information on each bond, including its credit rating and yield, allowing investors to make informed decisions about which bonds to invest in. Additionally, Grip offers competitive pricing with no hidden fees or charges, ensuring that investors get the best possible returns on their investments. Overall, if you want to invest in corporate bonds in India, Grip is the platform you can trust for transparency and reliability.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Are bonds a good investment in 2023?

    In India, bonds are a popular investment option for investors due to their relatively low risk and potential for steady returns. In 2023, Indian investors may benefit from investing in bonds as long as they are aware of any changes in the economic environment that could affect their investments

    2. Is corporate bonds a good investment?

    When considering whether or not to invest in a corporate bond, it is important to understand the returns from these bonds depend on a variety of factors. It includes the amount of risk, the interest rate, and the type of corporate bond. 

    Corporate bonds are debt instruments issued by companies that have collateral backing them up. It makes them safer to invest than stocks.

    3. Are corporate bonds better than FDs?

    Investors should consider the risks and rewards associated with both corporate bonds and FDs to make an informed decision. Corporate bonds offer higher returns, but they are riskier investments. On the other hand, FDs are typically more secure investments, but they provide lower returns. 

    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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