Hybrid securities are securities that have features of both debt and equity.
The classic example of a hybrid instrument is a convertible bond. This is, generally, a corporate bond with a condition attached to it. This condition states that if the equity shares of the corporation issuing the bond hits a certain valuation in the market, the bondholder will be allowed to exchange the bond for a certain number of shares. The number of shares is determined by the bond’s principal value, which is almost always $1000, and how many shares that principal could buy. For a buyer of bonds, this reduces the risk of losing out on exposure to equity if the issuing corporation does very well, without losing the status of a bond, which, as a debt, will be paid back before assets are distributed to non-debt liability holders. For the issuing corporation, usually the bonds hold a slightly lower interest rate than it would otherwise.
About the Author: Marcus Maltempo is a compliance professional with more than a decade of experience helping banks, law firms and clients manage investigations and regulatory responses.