Financial products refer to instruments that help you save, invest, get insurance or get a mortgage. These are issued by various banks, financial institutions, stock brokerages, insurance providers, credit card agencies and government sponsored entities. Financial products are categorised in terms of their type or underlying asset class, volatility, risk and return.
Types of financial products
Shares: These represent ownership of a company. While shares are initially issued by corporations to finance their business needs, they are subsequently bought and sold by individuals in the share market. They are associated with high risk and high returns. Returns on shares can be in the form of dividend payouts by the company or profits on the sale of shares in the stockmarket. Shares, stocks, equities and securities are words that are generally used interchangeably.
Bonds: These are issued by companies to finance their business operations and by governments to fund budget expenses like infrastructure and social programs. Bonds have a fixed interest rate, making the risk associated with them lower than that with shares. The principal or face value of bonds is recovered at the time of maturity.
Treasury Bills: These are instruments issued by the government for financing its short term needs. They are issued at a discount to the face value. The profit earned by the investor is the difference between the face or maturity value and the price at which the Treasury Bill was issued.
Options: Options are rights to buy and sell shares. An option holder does not actually purchase shares. Instead, he purchases the rights on the shares.
Mutual Funds: These are professionally managed financial instruments that involve the diversification of investment into a number of financial products, such as shares, bonds and government securities. This helps to reduce an investor’s risk exposure, while increasing the profit potential.
Certificate of Deposit: Certificates of deposit (or CDs) are issued by banks, thrift institutions and credit unions.They usually have a fixed term and fixed interest rate.
Annuities: These are contracts between individual investors and insurance companies, where investors agree to pay an allocated amount of premium and at the end of a pre-determined fixed term, the insurer will guarantee a series of payments to the insured party.
Complex Financial Products
There are certain financial products that are highly complex in nature. Among these are:
Over the past several decades, we have seen how China’s high economic growth and increasing economic integration with other countries have led to a dramatic increase in its clout in global output and trade.
Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. IMF’s Chief Economist from September 2003 to January 2007. Inaugural recipient of the Fischer Black Prize.
QFINANCE is a unique collaboration of more than 300 of the world’s leading practitioners and visionaries in finance and financial management, covering key aspects of finance including risk and cash-flow management, operations, macro issues, regulation, auditing, and raising capital.
Andrea Edwards has worked in marketing and communications all over the globe for 20 years, and is now focused on her passion – writing. A gifted communicator, strategist, writer and avid blogger, Andrea is Managing Director of SAJE, a digital communications agency, and The Writers Shop – a regional collaboration between the best business writers in Asia Pacific
James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University. Director of Program in International Finance and Macroeconomics at the National Bureau of Economic Research.