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What is leveraging and how it applies to fixed-income investments

What is leveraging and how it applies to fixed-income investments

05/27/2021 03:11
Paula M. Graham

Table of Contents

What’s Leveraging?How does it work? Advantages of Leveraging Disadvantages of LeveragingQuestions to ask yourself before leveragingLeveraging in StocksLeveraging in Bonds (Fixed Income)How do leveraging bonds work?A good example of leveraged fixed income

When you invest, you will hear people say they are using leverage to increase the possibility of making more profit.

Yes, leveraging provides you more capital than what you can really afford. It’s like borrowing the money you add on top of your capital then paying it later when you close your investment.

While many investors are happy with leveraging, there’s more to it that you need to consider.

What’s Leveraging?

Leverage is derived from the use of lent capital as a means of finance to increase the company's asset base and earn returns on risk capital. Leverage is an investing technique used to maximize the investment's future gain, specifically by leveraging different financial assets or borrowed funds. Leverage can also apply to the sum of loans used by a company to purchase investments.

It is also the usage of debt to pursue an acquisition or operation (borrowed capital). The consequence is a multiplication of future project returns. Leverage, therefore, increases the future downside risk in the event that the expenditure does not decrease. Where a business, property, or investment is defined as' extremely levied, 'it implies that the item seems to have more debt than equity.

The leveraging term is utilized by consumers and businesses alike. Investors use equity to boost the returns on investment dramatically. They use several tools, including stocks, futures, and margin accounts, to leverage their portfolios. Companies may use their investments to fund their operations. That is, businesses may use debt finance to participate in corporate transactions in an effort to maximize equity valuation instead of selling shares to collect money.

Investors that are not comfortable utilizing leverage may indirectly enter a number of forms. They will invest in businesses that fund or extend their activities with leverage in the usual course of their market, without increasing their spending.

How does it work? 

Leverage is the technique to use borrowed capital to boost investment returns. You will gain substantial gains if the yield on the net value invested on the protection (your own cash and borrowed money) is more than the interest paid on the borrowed funds.

Although the leverage would not adjust the percentage return rate (from $100 to $115 in both instances, and from $1000 to $115 in both), leverage could not raise the overall dollar return value (the return of $15 is slightly lower than the return of $150).

This is an indication of how equity will lead to outsized returns. Let us assume that you have 100 dollars of your own capital and that you can borrow 1500 dollars from the bank at a cost of 6%.

Let's presume you spend a whole $1,600 on an investment that you are sure would increase by 15% in one year, and at the end of one year, you return the borrowed money plus interest. The amount of expenditure will be 1840 dollars by the end of the year, and you will pay it back 1500 dollars + 90 dollars = 1590 dollars, which leaves you 250 dollars and a net profit of 150 dollars after you withhold the original 100 dollars. That's a return of 150 percent!

Advantages of Leveraging 

Powerful capital entry

Financial leverage increases the strength of any dollar you work with. If employed effectively, leveraged financing will do far more than you could without leveraging.

Ideal for purchases and buyouts

Due to increased costs and debt risk, leveraged lending is better suited for fleeting phases when the company has a clear goal for expansion, such as a takeover, management buy-out, equity buy-back, or one-time dividend.

Disadvantages of Leveraging

Leveraging increases the possibility of losses

Leverage is a dynamic, multi-faceted instrument. The idea sounds fantastic, and the usage of power, in fact, maybe lucrative, but the opposite is valid. Leverage increases win and defeats. When an individual uses equity to make an investment and the investment goes against the investor, their losses are much higher than if they did not make use of the investment.

For this reason, first-time buyers should also stop leveraging until they have more expertise. The corporate environment should use equity to create shareholder capital, but failing that, interest expenditure and default credit risk kill shareholder value.

Risky financial type

Debt is a means of finance that will make a company expand faster. Leveraged financing is much worse, but a larger than average amount of debt will make a company's leverage too large to increase risk exposure.

More expensive

Higher interest rates cost leveraged finance securities, including leveraged loans and high yield bonds, to reward borrowers with further harm.


The financial structures concerned are more nuanced, such as subordinated mezzanine debt. This uncertainty requires more management time and entails different threats.

Questions to ask yourself before leveraging

Despite having pros and cons, there are still investors who continue to use leverage in the hopes that they will profit big even after short trades. If you want to use leverage, these are the possible questions you might want to ask yourself.

  • Do you have a temporary financial requirement or are you in exceptionally big money short in a particular circumstance, such as a buy-out or an acquisition?
  • Are you at peace with the added expense, difficulty, and risk of this type of funding?

If you have "Yes" answers to these questions, then that’s the time you can use leverage in your investment.


Leveraging in Stocks

Most novice traders, including buy-and-hold traders, use cash to sell. This means that if you want to buy $10,000 in stock, you must have $10,000 in cash in your trading account. Professional traders use equity (debt), which means they only need a small portion of the value they intend to trade in order to buy $10,000 worth of stocks.

Leveraging in Bonds (Fixed Income)

Fixed income portfolios, including shares, give holders the advantage of collecting fixed interest payments before the date of maturity. This may contain both government and business bonds. This can play an important role in maintaining assets but can be a little dull and not produce large amounts of wealth.

How can you fix this? By leveraging the bond portfolio.

How do leveraging bonds work?

Leveraged bonds exist as a lender uses borrowed funds and/or derivatives to capitalize on its return on investment. For example, a $5 million asset bond fund will gain 6 percent of the assets of a lender, equivalent to 300,000 dollars per year.

Typical leveraged bond funds are used to build a portfolio of investment-grade bonds. Investment bonds have a poor credit rate, which suggests that the risks of default are low. However, high-income bonds have a greater intrinsic chance.

Some see high-performance bonds and believe that leverage is not worth taking the risk. Any high-end bonds will actually generate the same return as a leveraged bond fund in terms of ROI. Although a leveraged bond fund that looks beyond ROI also defends the lender from defaults. Leveraged bond fund recovery ratios are typically much better than high-yield loans.

The majority of the global leveraged bond investment industry is formed with the highest-grade secured bonds consisting of companies at the peak of the capital structure. They are often produced by governments of countries with strong economies and hence provide better security of resources.

A good example of leveraged fixed income

A good consideration in terms of leveraged fixed income is a Treasury Note.

Imagine that the return of a treasury note was 1 percent – a leveraged trust fund would return three times (3 times) 3 percent. Similarly, a 3% reduction in the bond valuation of a leveraged bond fund will generate a 9% loss.

An assessment of the behavior under the ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury ETF (UBT) in the autumn of 2011 shows the intrinsic danger and leverage uncertainty.

The fund increased to $35.13 on October 3 from a close-out price of $26.31 on August 31, to $27.84 on October 27 — a loss of 20.7 percent on just 18 trading days.

Paula M. Graham | Paula is a writer and editor who works as a freelancer. She covers subjects such as banking, insurance, and digital marketing in his writing. Paula is a bookworm who also enjoys podcasts and freshly made coffee.


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