Subordinated Debenture Bond
A class of unsecured bond that, in the event of liquidation, is prioritized lower than other classes of debt. In essence, a subordinated debenture bond is an unsecured loan, which has no collateral. Should the issuer be liquidated, all other bonds and debts must be repaid before the subordinated debenture bond is repaid. This class of debt carries higher risk, but also pays higher interest than other classes. It is a type of junior debt.
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An unsecured bond with a claim to assets that is subordinate to all existing and future debt. Thus, in the event that the issuer encounters financial difficulties and must be liquidated, all other claims must be satisfied before holders of subordinated debentures can receive a settlement. Frequently, this settlement amounts to relatively little. Because of the risk involved, the issuers have to pay relatively high interest rates in order to sell these securities to investors. Many issues of these debentures include a sweetener such as the right to exchange the securities for shares of common stock. The sweeteners are included so that interest rates on the subordinated debentures can be reduced below the level that would be required without them. Subordinated debentures without the conversion option appeal to risk-oriented investors seeking high current yields. See also convertible security.
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.