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In finance, a fixed rate bond is a type of debt instrument bond with a fixed coupon (interest) rate, as opposed to a floating rate note. A fixed rate bond is a long term debt paper that carries a predetermined interest rate. The interest rate is known as coupon rate and interest is payable at specified dates before bond maturity. Due to the fixed coupon, the market value of a fixed-rate bond is susceptible to fluctuations in interest rates, and therefore has a significant amount of interest rate risk. That being said, the fixed-rate bond, although a conservative investment, is highly susceptible to a loss in value due to inflation. The fixed-rate bond’s long maturity schedule and predetermined coupon rate offers an investor a solidified return, while leaving the individual exposed to a rise in the consumer price index and overall decrease in their purchasing power.
The coupon rate attached to the fixed-rate bond is payable at specified dates before the bond reaches maturity; the coupon rate and the fixed-payments are delivered periodically to the investor at a percentage rate of the bond’s face value. Due to a fixed-rate bond’s lengthy maturity date, these payments are typically small and as stated before are not tied into interest rates.
Difference between fixed- and floating-rate bonds
Unlike a fixed-rate bond, a floating rate note is a type of bond that contains a variable coupon that is equal to a money market reference rate, or a federal funds rate plus a specified spread. Although the spread remains constant, the majority of floating rate notes contains quarterly coupons that pay-out interest every 3 months with variable percentage returns. At the beginning of each coupon period, the rate is calculated by adding the spread with the reference rate. This structure differs from the fixed-bond rate which locks in a coupon rate and delivers it to the holder semi-annually over a course of multiple years.
Some fixed rate bonds allow for the issuer to repay the principal amount earlier than the contractual repayment date, sometimes on payment of a specified penalty or "make whole" payment. The provisions specifying such a penalty are known (particularly in the UK) as a spens clause.