Investment Grade Bonds: Your Comprehensive Guide For Balanced Investing

Published on
Jun 26, 2023
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    Investment Grade Bonds

    Investment grade bonds, as the name suggests, are bonds suitable for investment purposes based on their lower risk characteristics when compared to speculative or junk bonds. They are gaining popularity as they offer better returns on investments than traditional saving tools like fixed deposits, while at the same time having limited risk of default. 

    These bonds are accredited by credit rating agencies under the regulations of the Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI). If you are looking for balanced investment opportunities then investment grade bonds can prove to be beneficial. Let's discuss all you need to know about investment grade bonds before making the right investment choice. 

    Characteristics Of Investment Grade Bonds

    Investment grade bonds provide excellent opportunities to earn passive income with minimum risk of default. These bonds are issued by governments or corporates who are desirous of raising funds through debt financing. They are issued for a pre-determined tenure and yield to maturity. 

    Some of the critical characteristics of investment grade bonds are: 

    1. Credit Ratings

    Investment grade bonds are backed by the confidence of Indian credit rating agencies (CRAs). SEBI keeps a check on the standard operational procedures of these CRAs and implements timely updates to suit current market needs. 

    Demarcation of Investment Grade Bonds As Per Indian Credit Rating Agencies

    2. Face Value

    The face value of a bond refers to the price of a single unit of a bond issued by the company in the primary market. It is also known as the principal, nominal, or par value of a bond. It is the value that the issuer is obligated to pay the investor back at maturity. 

    Face value is different from the market value which represents the amount an investor has to pay to buy the bonds in the secondary markets. The market value depends upon various economic factors like prevailing interest rates, changes in credit ratings, and demand and supply. 

    3. Tenure 

    Tenure of investment grade bonds varies from a few months to 30 years.  However, some bonds come with an option of early redemption after 3 to 7 years at a premature penalty, depending on the issuer.

    Benefits And Risks Of Investment Grade Bonds

    Investment grade bonds offer the following advantages to investors:

    • They are less risky than stock market investments.
    • They offer stable, regular, and lower-risk passive income generation
    • They provide higher returns than fixed-income alternatives like fixed deposits or sovereign-gold bonds.

    As the famous investor, Warren Buffett, once said “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing." The theory applies to investment grade bonds too as no investment is risk-free. Some of the risks and disadvantages involved with these assets are:

    • Since the returns of investment grade bonds are lower than that offered by stock markets (although at lower risks of default and volatility), an overallocation in these instruments may not be enough to generate the required returns to meet all your future needs. 
    • Investing in bonds comes with the restrictions of lock-in periods and low liquidity in secondary markets.

    Role In Portfolio Diversification

    We have heard the saying “Never put all your eggs in one basket” millions of times when it comes to investing. Consequently, the term “portfolio diversification” aptly encapsulates the different investing instruments like equities/ mutual funds, bonds, fixed deposits, etc. The allocation of funds in any or all of these opportunities requires careful consideration based on an investor’s income, age, risk appetite, and prediction of future needs. 

    With the advent of Online Bond Providing Platforms and stringent regulations laid down by the SEBI to protect retail investors’ sentiments, more investors are choosing investment-grade bonds over other fixed-income options. It allows them to take a balanced approach spread between high-risk and high-yielding investments in stocks and contraband parking of their savings in comparatively stable investment grade bonds. And the cherry on the cake comes in the form of low-ticket size investment opportunities at these platforms starting as low as INR 10,000. The feature allows retail investors to reap the benefits of high-growth investments.

    Considerations For Investors

    If you are planning to invest in investment grade bonds, here’s a checklist for bond investing:

    1. Choose appropriate credit ratings based on your risk appetite. Remember: Higher the rating, the lower the risk of default.
    2. Choose a reliable platform for investing that provides hassle-free operations and is regulated by the country’s governing body. Grip, a SEBI-compliant, online bond providing platform offers numerous curated investment opportunities to choose from.
    3. Before investing in corporate bonds of investment grade, assess your future requirements and invest only the amount that you can lock in till maturity. 
    4. Diversify within the investment grade bonds. If you want to cover all your bases and the stability of investment grade bonds attracts you, you can think of investing in multiple bonds with different characteristics. 

    Current Market Trends And Outlook On Investment Grade Bonds

    For any fast-paced growing economy like India, a robust corporate bond market enables risk sharing with the banking system. According to the Bank of International Settlements, the escalating size of the Indian corporate bond market presents testimony to Indian regulators’ efforts toward stabilizing our economy. 

    Investment grade bonds play an important role as Indian investors are inclined towards safer investment options. In FY22, the highest-rated bonds (AAA) accounted for 80% of issuance followed by 15% investment in AA-rated bonds. According to the SEBI, we have seen a four-fold increase in the outstanding stock of corporate bonds from INR 10.51 lakh crore in FY 2012 to INR 40.20 lakh crore at the end of FY 2022. 

    Although the issuer and investor base in the investment grade bonds keeps on rising with the GDP trends, we still lack behind our Asian counterparts. Therefore, the growth projections are riding on the shoulders of the improvement offered in terms of reinforcing complimentary markets, introducing better liquidity, and assuring easy access to investors.


    Investment grade bonds provide lucrative investment options for non-institutional investors. They are considered to be better yielding than fixed deposits and less risky than stocks and speculative bonds. Considering the benefits they offer; investment grade bonds are the best solution to create a balanced portfolio for long-term investors. 

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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 judgment. Investments in debt securities are subject to risks. Read all the offer-related documents carefully.

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