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Auction Market Preferred Stock (AMPS)

Auction Market Preferred Stock (AMPS)

What Is Auction Market Preferred Stock (AMPS)?

Auction market preferred stock (AMPS) alludes to preferred equity shares that have interest rates or dividends that are occasionally reset through Dutch auctions. The interest rate on an AMPS issue is reset intermittently through such auctions, commonly at time periods 7, 14, 28, or 35 days.

Auction market preferred stock is otherwise called auction-rate preferred stock.

Understanding Auction Market Preferred Stock (AMPS)

Adjustable preferred stock shares a large part of similar traits as traditional, or "fixed-rate" preferred shares. In the two cases, corporations must initially pay out dividends to preferred stockholders before paying out any dividends to common stock shareholders. Be that as it may, not at all like ordinary preferred shares, the value of the dividend from the adjustable preferred share is set by a predetermined mechanism to move with rates, and due to this flexibility preferred prices are many times more stable than fixed-rate preferred stocks. On account of AMPS, this mechanism is as a Dutch auction.

Institutional borrowers started giving auction-rate securities during the 1980s when the interest rate environment was very high. These variable rate securities were marketed to investors searching for higher yields at that point, despite the fact that they gave less liquidity than traditional investments like stocks, bonds, or CDs.

Traditionally, auction rate securities become short-term investment vehicles, since auctions are held so as often as possible. The benefit for investors has forever been that they are holding a somewhat liquid security that can be bought and sold rather consistently. In a liquid investment, buyers and sellers of a security are not difficult to come by.

One more benefit to investors is that they basically are investing in a short-term security since they have the option to sell so often, however they normally earn interest rates that surpass other short-term investments. This is on the grounds that, despite the fact that auction-rate securities are technically issued as long-term contracts, they are liquid investments that can change hands at auctions before the contract lapses. Investors in auction-rate securities are primarily institutional investors and rich people.

The auction market preferred stock can be a beneficial investment for bigger investors. The auction interaction will no doubt uncover the current market yield for safer asset classes, like preferred stock, and will self-adapt to the effects of alternative investments and inflation.

Auction Market Preferred Stock During the 2008 Financial Crisis

During the worldwide financial crisis of 2008, the AMPS market failed when the auctions couldn't draw in an adequate number of bidders to lay out a clearing rate. This implied numerous investors were left holding illiquid investments with long-term maturities they couldn't sell, where lead underwriters decided not to step in to support the auctions as opposed to focus on holding toxic securities.

Since its collapse, the SEC, FINRA, and state regulators have arrived at settlements with major financial institutions, including agreements to repurchase AMPS from qualified investors.


  • The dividend rate on an AMPS commonly resets each one to five weeks by means of a Dutch auction.
  • A Dutch auction is a public auction where investors place offers for the amount of the offering they will buy and the price they will pay.
  • Auction market preferred stock (AMPS) is a type of preferred shares highlighting a variable dividend yield.