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Securities Markets

Primary and Secondary Markets
The securities markets can be divided into the primary markets and the secondary markets. Primary markets (also known as capital markets) comprise of new securities to their first holders. The issue of new securities is commonly known as an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Issuers usually retain investment banks to assist them in finding buyers for these issues, and in many cases, to buy any remaining interests themselves. This arrangement is known as underwriting. In recent years the business of managing or underwriting issues of securities has been concentrated in the hands of a small number of investment banks, the most prominent of which are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. The International Primary Markets Association (IPMA) is the trade association of banks and other investment institutions who are active in the primary markets.

Transferability is an essential characteristic of securities. This trading is called the aftermarket or secondary market. Secondary markets often consist of what is called an exchange to facilitate the meeting of buyers and sellers. They are often referred to as stock exchanges, even though there are exchanges such as the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, where no stocks are traded. The International Securities Market Association (ISMA) is the trade association for the banks and other investment institutions that are active in the secondary markets.

Public Offers and Private Placements
In the primary markets, securities may be offered to the public in a public offer. Alternatively, they may be offered privately to a limited number of persons in a private placement. Often a combination of the two is used. The distinction between the two is important to securities regulation and company law.

Another category, sovereign debt, is generally sold by auction to a specialized class of dealers.

Listing and OTC Dealing
Securities are often listed in a stock exchange, an organized and officially recognized market on which securities can be bought and sold. Issuers may seek listings for their securities in order to attract investors, by ensuring that there is a liquid and regulated market in which investors will be able to buy and sell securities.

Growth in informal electronic trading systems has challenged the traditional business of stock exchanges. Large volumes of securities are also bought and sold "over the counter" (OTC). OTC dealing involves buyers and sellers dealing with each other by telephone or electronically on the basis of prices that are displayed electronically, usually by commercial information vendors such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

There are also eurosecurities, which are securities that are issued outside their domestic market into more than one jurisdiction. They are generally listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange or admitted to listing in London. The reasons for listing eurobonds include regulatory and tax considerations, as well as the investment restrictions.

International Debt Markets
London is the center of the eurosecurities markets. There was a huge rise in the eurosecurities market in London in the early 1980s. Settlement of trades in eurosecurities is currently affected through two European computerized systems called Euroclear (in Belgium) and Clearstream (formerly Cedelbank in Luxembourg).

 
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