A bond is a legal contract in which a government, company or institution (the borrower) issues an IOU certificate, which promises to pay holders a specific rate of interest for a fixed duration and then redeem the contract at face value on maturity. In theory bonds are safer than equities because they have a fixed maturity and are repaid before any payments are made to shareholders. But if a company fails, its bond holders suffer just as much as its shareholders. See also Convertible Bond, Bearer Shares/Bearer Bonds, Bullet Bond, Fixed Income, Senior Secured Debt.
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