Liquidity Premium: Definition, Examples, and Risk

Illiquidity in the context of a business refers to a company that does not have the cash flows necessary to make its required debt payments, although it does not mean the company is without assets. Capital assets, including real estate and production equipment, often have value but are not easily sold when cash is required. They generally include any property owned by the company that is outside of the products produced for sale.

  1. Suppose you have two bonds, each with the same characteristics (maturity, credit risk, tax status, etc.), but one can be traded more easily.
  2. Prior to investing, carefully consider the respective fund documentation for details about potential risks, charges, and expenses.
  3. A classic indicator of funding liquidity risk is the current ratio (current assets/current liabilities) or, for that matter, the quick ratio.

IMAGINE TWO bonds listed on different exchanges that are otherwise identical. A central bank acts as market-maker, supplying cash on demand for bonds. To cover its costs, the price the central bank pays (the bid) is a bit below the fair value of a bond, which is the price it requires buyers to pay for it (the ask). For B-bonds, which are listed on an inefficient exchange that charges higher fees, it is 4%. Private equity has characteristically low liquidity and there are times when private equity investors do not have access to their capital at all.

Examples of illiquid in a Sentence

Miranda is completing her MBA and lives in Idaho, where she enjoys spending time with her son playing board games, travel and the outdoors. Understanding an asset’s liquidity is an essential part of risk management and portfolio https://g-markets.net/ strategy. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.


During these times, holders of illiquid securities may find themselves unable to unload them at all, or unable to do so without losing money. But in practice the risks that go with it often prove to be bigger than many investors had expected. The simplest way to calculate a liquidity premium is to compare similar investments, one of which is liquid and one of which is not. For example, you could compare two bonds from companies with similar credit ratings. If one bond is publicly traded and one bond is not traded on the open market, they will likely have different yields, with the one that is publicly traded providing a lower return.

Incorporating Liquidity Risk

Whether these behaviors contribute to reduce bond market liquidity is difficult to judge. In fact, one could make the case that the dealer banks are in much better position than they were in 2007 to absorb a liquidity event, for example, by absorbing a sell-off in corporate bonds with sales of Treasuries. Much of the bond supply is intermediated through money market mutual funds. Historically, these funds have sought to maintain fixed exchange rate regimes subject to speculative attack. The vulnerability of these funds to mass redemption events, however, may be curtailed with the passing of Rule 2a-7 by the U.S.

While liquid assets provide greater security, they may not offer a great return. It is important to understand, however, that such measures are not a guarantee against price volatility. They are simply measures to mitigate the “excess” price volatility that accompanies thinly traded markets. If everyone wants to sell bonds, their price will decline even in the most liquid of bond markets.

Acid-Test Ratio (Variation)

Liquidity premium is the higher yield offered among similar investments for those that are less liquid. The less liquid an investment is, the harder it is to sell quickly for its fair market value and the greater its liquidity premium tends to be. When considering liquidity, it’s essential to gauge whether the added return is worth the extra risk and limitations that less liquid investment options can have. You can then more accurately assess the true costs and potential rewards of different investment options. In general, investors who choose to put money in such illiquid investments need to be rewarded for the added risks that a lack of liquidity poses. Investors with the capital to put money in longer-term investments can benefit from the liquidity premium earned from these investments.

Marketable securities, such as stocks and bonds listed on exchanges, are often very liquid and can be sold quickly via a broker. Gold coins and certain collectibles may also be readily sold for cash. In terms of investments, equities as a class are among the most liquid assets. Some shares trade more actively than others on stock exchanges, meaning that there is more of a market for them. In other words, they attract greater, more consistent interest from traders and investors. There are several ratios that measure accounting liquidity, which differ in how strictly they define liquid assets.

When it comes to stocks, large-cap companies, which are considered low-risk investments, tend to have high liquidity, while micro-cap stocks with higher risk attached tend to come with low liquidity. To calculate the Current Ratio, Current Assets are divided by Current Liabilities.The Quick Ratio provides a short-term picture of how liquid types of enterprise management systems a company is. To calculate the Quick Ratio, Quick Assets are divided by Quick Liabilities. This means assets that can be converted to cash quickly, including cash, marketable securities, short-term cash convertible investments and trade receivables. The two main measures of liquidity are market liquidity and accounting liquidity.

Market data provided is at least 10-minutes delayed and hosted by Barchart Solutions. To see all exchange delays and terms of use, please see disclaimer. The most well-known example of a recent liquidity trap occurred in Japan. The Japanese economy suffered through a period of prolonged stagnation, despite near-zero interest rates. Patience in terms of timing an exit can often benefit long-term return prospects.

It may even require hiring an auction house to act as a broker and track down potentially interested parties, which will take time and incur costs. Accounting liquidity measures the ease with which an individual or company can meet their financial obligations with the liquid assets available to them—the ability to pay off debts as they come due. Conversely, illiquidity refers to an asset or security that cannot be easily converted into cash without significant degradation to its market value. Stocks that trade on over-the-counter (OTC) markets are also often less liquid than those listed on robust exchanges.

This can hamper efforts by central banks to boost economic activity. It can also happen when yields fall so low that people hesitate to buy bonds. As a result, changes in the money supply have little effect on changing economic behavior, leaving an economy stuck in a period of slow growth and low inflation or even deflation. In addition, real estate purchases are commonly financed, and the financing usually takes some time for the buyer to secure.

A common way to include market liquidity risk in a financial risk model (not necessarily a valuation model) is to adjust or “penalize” the measure by adding/subtracting one-half the bid-ask spread. Many have rules that restrict the owner’s ability to sell immediately. While it’s still ordinarily possible to sell your shares in these funds, doing so typically incurs a steep penalty. While a piece of land has significant value, converting that value into cash through a sale takes time.

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