How to Sell Bonds Vs. Issued Stock

by Eric Feigenbaum

Much like selling issued stock, bond holders can turn to their stockbrokers and financial adverse, who facilitate trades on all varieties of securities. However, unlike shares of stock, selling bonds takes place outside a formal public exchange. In fact, it wasn't until 2002 that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) began tracking secondary bond market trades and not until 2005 that computer systems made recent bond trade information readily available. This makes the bond market far less organized than stock trading and its real-time market information.

1. Inform your stockbroker or financial adviser that you want to sell your bonds. Ask your broker the approximate price you can get for your bonds and what his markdown -- the amount of the trade he will keep as a commission -- will be before proceeding.

2. Decide on a price at which you are willing to sell. You can order your broker not to sell for anything less. Your brokerage will then use the over-the-counter secondary bond market to try to get the amount you seek.

3. Give the broker any bond certificates you are holding. The brokerage will need to pass along the physical bond papers if the primary issuance of the bond was not electronic.

4. Receive your funds either as a credit to your brokerage or financial account, or as a cashier's check issued by the transacting brokerage.

5. Notice how this process varies from stocks largely because bonds are sold via over-the-counter markets, whereas stock trades are usually instant via publicly regulated stock exchanges.

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