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Auction Rate Bond (ARB)

Auction Rate Bond (ARB)

What Is An Auction Rate Bond (ARB)?

An auction rate bond (ARB), otherwise called a auction rate security (ARS), is debt security with an adjustable interest rate. The maturities are fixed-terms of 20 to 30 years. The interest rate is reset consistently. Non-benefit institutions and municipalities use ARBs as a means to reduce borrowing costs for long-term financing.

An auction rate bond sells at interest rates that unmistakable the market at the most reduced conceivable yield. This interaction guarantees all bidders receive a similar return on the bond. Starting around 2008, the demand for these bonds has become illiquid.

The Basics Of An Auction Rate Bond

Numerous investors invested in auction rate bonds due to their high investment grade rating, their tax-exempt status, and their money comparable status. In any case, they never again trade. Generally speaking, they are exempt from federal, state and neighborhood taxes. The ARB has a somewhat higher after-tax yield than a money market and certificate of deposits (CD) due to their increased risk and complex nature. Additionally, auction rate bonds are not quite as liquid as money market funds, and CDs so might be more enthusiastically to trade.

An auction rate bond has an interest rate determined through a modified Dutch auction. A Dutch auction is a public offering auction structure in which the setting price of the offering is complete after tolerating all bids. This method permits the determination of the highest rate and the least yield at which the total offering can sell. In this type of auction, investors place a bid for the amount they will buy and the yield they hope to receive.

As indicated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), auction rate bonds, or securities, intermittently re-set their interest rates each 7, 14, 28, or 35 days. Student loan suppliers, municipalities, public specialists, and institutional borrowers use ARBs. Following the financial crisis of 2007-08, barely any auctions have been held, and the market has become illiquid. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), SEC, and state lawyers commanders agreed with the critical sellers of these investments. Most large brokers have repurchased or replaced the ARBs.

The medium to long-term bond ARB acts much the same way to a more limited term bond, as the schedule of the bond is reset on a set schedule. A Dutch auction structure capabilities by setting the price after taking bids considering the highest offering that anyone could hope to find.

Illustration Of Dutch Auctions And ARBs

Assuming you were interested in investing in a company that disclosed an initial offering (IPO) utilizing a Dutch auction model, you would present a bid to the company along with the wide range of various interested investors. The bid would incorporate the number shares and the price you will pay for them. You might decide to enter your bid for 50 shares at $200 a share, though one more investor could present a bid of 200 shares at $190 per share.

The company gathers the bids from every single interested party and afterward sets the price for every one of the shares at the cost of the most reduced accepted bid. That's what this method means assuming they took the proposal of the investor offering $190 per share, however they purchase 200 and you just purchase 50 shares you will in any case pay $190 per share.

The U.S. Treasury utilizes a Dutch auction structure to sell its securities. However ARBs utilize a comparable structure, when an auction bombs due to a lack of buyers, it impacts the two bondholders and bond issuers negatively. The bondholders can't sell what should be a liquid investment and issuers are forced to pay higher default rates.


  • Auctions for ARBs are held each 7, 28, or 35 days, when the rates are reset.
  • ARBs are sold through a Dutch auction where the bond is sold at an interest rate that will clear the market at the most minimal yield conceivable.
  • An Auction Rate Bond (ARB) is a long term bond with adjustable interest rates set by a market auction.
  • Numerous municipal bonds as well as the U.S. Treasury utilizes a Dutch auction structure to sell its securities.