Secondary Market – An Ultimate Guide for Beginners

What is Secondary Market

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) are secondary markets. This article will break down all the clusters of elements into secondary markets. 

What is the Secondary Market?

In the secondary market, investors buy and sell securities such as bonds and stocks. In layman’s language, it is the stock market or follow-on public offerings.

It is the place for trading IPOs in the primary market. In the secondary market, investors trade with each other. They do so without the company’s permission. The secondary market is also known as the aftermarket.

In the secondary market, you can buy and sell mutual funds and bonds, in addition to stocks. Investment institutes, Asset Management Companies, and companies do this.

What are the Types of Secondary Markets

There are two types of secondary markets:

  1. Stock Exchanges
  2. Over-the-Counter Markets

1. Stock Exchanges:

Securities are traded on stock exchanges. They are organized marketplaces. In them, buyers and sellers only interact with the help of brokers.  

The secondary market is a reliable option for all traders. Investors can depend on it.

They are strictly regulated to exclude any possibility of fraud. Due to exchange fees and commissions, transfers have an extremely high transaction cost.

Examples include the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

2. Over the Counter Markets:

Buyers and sellers exchange securities in a decentralized setting. It is the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Sellers compete for more stocks, which causes price variations. The risk is larger than with stock exchanges because the transactions happen one-to-one.

Different companies have different prices for securities. As a result, not all sellers in an OTC market will always give the stocks the greatest price.

OTC marketplaces are risky. This is because the parties trading on them face counterparty risk. They are interacting with each other.

An example of an OTC market is the Foreign Exchange Market (FOREX).

Importance of Secondary Market:

  • Liquidity: Allows investors to convert their investments into cash promptly.
  • Price Discovery: Reflects the accurate value of securities based on demand and supply dynamics.
  • Risk Management: Offers ways like futures and options to reduce investment risks.
  • Capital Flow: Ensures seamless movement of funds to foster economic growth.
  • Economic Indicators: Acts as a gauge of the economy’s performance, influencing decisions made by entities and investors.

Features of the Secondary Market:

  • Liquidity: Facilitates swift transactions of securities for instant cash conversion.
  • Price Discovery: Establishes fair values of securities based on market forces.
  • Transparency: Most markets, especially stock exchanges, exhibit openness regarding pricing, fostering equality.
  • Accessibility: Online platforms simplify trading access for all, not just elite investors.
  • Market Orders: Various order types empower investors to manage their transactions effectively.

Instruments of Secondary Market:

The instruments that are traded in the aftermarket can be broadly classified into three categories:

  1. Fixed Income Instruments
  2. Variable Income Instruments
  3. Hybrid Instruments

1. Fixed Income Instruments

These investments provide a fixed income at a fixed price. They are usually debt instruments that assure a constant payment, such as interest or principal, at maturity.

Examples: Debentures, bonds, and preference shares 

Debentures are unsecured debts – The issuing company’s credibility will determine the repayment.

Bonds – These are contracts between two parties issued by an entity or the government. Investors who purchase these bonds can provide the issuing company with a large sum.

In exchange, investors get interest payments at regular intervals. They also get their principal back when the investment matures.

Preference Shares give benefits to their owners. They get them before equity shareholders. Preference shareholders have the right to be paid first. They come before other shareholders if the company goes bankrupt.

2. Variable Income Instruments:

Investments in these instruments do not ensure a continuous, stable income. Instead, the rewards fluctuate according to market changes. 

The investment in this situation is risky, but it can also be very profitable. The returns are generated based on risk and reward considerations.

Examples: Equity and Derivatives

Equity Shares refer to a company’s net value. If a company goes into bankruptcy, equity share investors have a right to claim the company’s net profits and assets.

Derivatives are agreements between two parties. In them, one party promises to offer returns within a specific period. They carry more risk. But, they may provide higher returns than less risky investments like bonds.

3. Hybrid Instruments:

Combining two or more different financial instruments creates hybrid financial instruments. Convertible debentures are hybrid investments. They can be changed into equity shares after a certain period. 

This type of security can be obtained as debt or loan securities. It offers many advantages for your portfolio.

Convertible Debentures can be converted into equity shares after a set time. They also serve as principal debt security.

Functions of Secondary Market

The main functions of secondary markets are as follows:

Acts as a Reliable Source – Secondary markets check a company’s value before listing it on their trade list. As a result, investors can be assured that they are purchasing from a trusted source.

Trading Platform – Stock exchanges offer investors a platform to trade securities, including stocks, bonds, and more. This happens without the involvement of the issuing companies.

Supports Active Trading You can trade anytime. The market allows quick buying and selling, and prices change little across many trades.

Creates Liquidity – Investors can sell their shares on a trading platform, and you can sell the securities you own on various stock markets.

Market Valuation Data – Investors can use it to estimate how many securities they have bought. They do this using secondary market values.

Easy Share Exchange – Investors can quickly sell their holdings for cash on the secondary market.

Maintaining Fair Stock Value – Secondary markets are benchmarks for pricing assets. They are based on demand and supply in transactions. The price is public, and investors can use it to make decisions.

Indicator of a Country’s Economy – It bridges investment and savings. It shows a country’s economic health.

Advantages of the Secondary Market:

  • Liquidity: Facilitates swift security transactions.
  • Price Discovery: Sets fair prices grounded on market demand and supply.
  • Facilitates Trading: Enables trading independently of issuing companies.
  • Promotes Diversification: Enhances risk management through investment spread.
  • Capital Formation: Uphold’s continuous investment flow for economic growth.
  • Exit Gateway: Allows easy investment adjustment or withdrawal based on market shifts.

Disadvantages of the Secondary Market

  • Price Fluctuations: Exposes investors to volatile price changes.
  • Time-Consuming: Transaction processing can be lengthy due to documentation.
  • Government Policies: Regulatory interventions sometimes hamper trading activities.
  • High Brokerage Fees: Investors encounter substantial fees with each trade, diminishing profits.


The investments you make today will serve as a strong foundation for your future. The secondary market is a great place to invest. You can get a fair return there.

It makes stock trading easier and allows the exchange of securities for cash. It is advisable to use a fund manager’s services when investing in unstable situations.


  • Who are the participants in the Secondary market?

    Investors play in the secondary market. They include individuals, corporations, banks, brokers, and dealers. These figures conduct transactions. They involve various securities like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and derivatives.

  • What types of securities are typically traded in the Secondary market?

    Fixed Income Instruments: Types such as debentures, bonds, and preference shares.

    Variable Income Instruments: These are investments where payments can vary, like stocks.

    Hybrid Instruments: Notable examples like convertible debentures that hold traits from both debt and equity.