Back Up

What is ‘Back Up’

A back up is a slang term for the movement in spread, price or yield of a security, which makes it more expensive to issue. A back up is characterized by an increase in bond yields and a decrease in price. The price of a security “backs up” when a company finds the security more costly to issue when raising funds.

Explaining ‘Back Up’

When a backup occurs, the fund-raising efforts of a company are diminished. For example, if interest rates increase, the required yields on most bonds rise as well. This forces a company to raise the coupon on its bond issue, which increases the interest payment, or sell the bonds at a discount, reducing the level of incoming cash.

Additional Definitions of Back Up Within Finance

A back up can also represent the action of selling one bond, generally with a longer maturity, and using those proceeds to purchase a different bond, often with a shorter maturity. This method is most commonly used in situations where short-term interest rates are more favorable than the longer-term rate. In these instances, the newly acquired bond results in more favorable yields than the one that was traded.

Interest Rates in the Bond Market

Although the bond market is generally seen as a safer investment when compared to some other options, it carries the same risks as others. The factor with the highest impact on the price of a bond is interest rates. As interest rates rise, prices on existing bonds fall. This is because the existing bonds have lower interest rates. This makes them less valuable on the bond market than newer bonds issued at the current, higher interest rate.

Further Reading

  • Are banks still important for financing large businesses? – papers.ssrn.com [PDF]
  • From social control to financial economics: the linked ecologies of economics and business in twentieth century America – link.springer.com [PDF]
  • Chaos and nonlinear forecastability in economics and finance – royalsocietypublishing.org [PDF]
  • Trends in park tourism: Economics, finance and management – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • The challenge of poverty and the poverty of Islamic economics – papers.ssrn.com [PDF]
  • Structural causes of the global financial crisis: a critical assessment of the 'new financial architecture' – academic.oup.com [PDF]