Also found in: Dictionary, Idioms.
Related to plain-vanilla: Plain vanilla swap
Interest Rate Swap
The exchange of interest rates for the mutual benefit of the exchangers. The exchangers take advantage of interest rates that are only available, for whatever reason, to the other exchanger by swapping them. The two legs of the swap are a fixed interest rate, say 3.5%, and a floating interest rate, say LIBOR + 0.5%. In such a swap, the only things traded are the two interest rates, which are calculated over a notional value. Each party pays the other at set intervals over the life of the swap. For example, one party may agree to pay the other a 3.5% interest rate calculated over a notional value of $1 million, while the second party may agree to pay LIBOR + 0.5% over the same notional value. It is important to note that the notional amount is arbitrary and is not actually traded. This is also called a plain vanilla swap.
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Of or relating to the uncomplicated version of a particular type of security. For example, a plain-vanilla derivative is typically exchange-traded and void of bells and whistles. Likewise, a plain-vanilla bond is not convertible and cannot be called.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.