Secondary Market

Secondary Market

The secondary market is the platform where investors engage in the buying and selling of securities. The transactions occur among the investors and traders themselves, not directly with the companies that issued the securities. The secondary market is commonly recognized as the stock market.

Trading in the secondary market is facilitated through stock exchanges, following the initial sale of securities in the primary market.


What Is Secondary Market?

The secondary market, often called the “aftermarket,” is a segment of the capital market where previously issued securities such as stocks, bonds, and derivatives are traded. These trades take place after the issuing company has sold all securities in the initial public offering (IPO), which is known as the primary market.

In India, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) are prime examples of secondary markets.

Imagine a scenario where you bought shares of Infosys in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Once the IPO process is complete, the shares are listed on a stock exchange. If you sell your shares post-listing, the transaction will occur in the secondary market.

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Secondary Market Examples

One of the most illustrative examples of the secondary market in India is the trading of Reliance Industries Ltd.’s shares. When Reliance issued its shares for the first time in the primary market, investors bought them. If they wish to sell their shares at any point in time post the IPO, these investors will do so in the secondary market. The buyers, in this case, would be other investors looking to purchase Reliance shares.

Another example is the trading of government bonds. Suppose you bought a government bond during its issuance in the primary market. If you sell it before maturity, you will do so in the secondary market. The person buying the bond from you would also participate in the secondary market transaction.

How Secondary Market Works?

The secondary market involves transactions between buyers and sellers of existing securities. Prices are determined by supply and demand dynamics, reflecting investor perception of a security’s value. After a transaction, a settlement process transfers the security from the seller’s to the buyer’s account, and payment is made to the seller.

  1. Buyers and Sellers: The secondary market involves two parties – a buyer and a seller. The seller is an existing security owner, while the buyer is an investor looking to acquire the security.
  2. Trading Platforms: Secondary market transactions usually occur on a stock exchange via the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE).
  3. Intermediaries: The process also involves intermediaries such as brokers or dealers who facilitate the transaction.
  4. Price Determination: Prices in the secondary market are determined by supply and demand dynamics. The prices fluctuate based on the investors’ perception of the security’s value.
  5. Settlement: Once a transaction is executed, there’s a settlement process where the securities are transferred from the seller’s account to the buyer’s account, and the seller receives the funds.

Features Of Secondary Market

One prominent feature of the secondary market is its liquidity. Investors can buy and sell securities with relative ease and in real time. 

But beyond this, several other characteristics distinguish it:

  • Efficiency: Market prices in the secondary market quickly reflect the available information. The more efficient the market, the faster the prices adjust to new information.
  • Transparency: Every transaction in the secondary market gets recorded and is publicly accessible, ensuring that every investor has access to the same information.
  • Safety: Regulators like SEBI in India ensure the fair conduct of transactions, thus minimizing the risk of fraudulent activities.
  • Volume: The secondary market sees a high volume of trading activity which aids in better price discovery of the securities.
  • Variety: It offers a wide range of securities, such as equities, bonds, debentures, and ETFs, among others, catering to different investor preferences.

Secondary Market Instruments

The secondary market facilitates trading in various financial instruments, including shares, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and derivatives like futures and options.

  • Shares: Shares represent ownership in a company and entitle the shareholder to a portion of the company’s profits and assets. Investors in shares are known as shareholders or stockholders.
  • Bonds: Bonds are debt securities issued by governments or corporations to raise capital. Investors who purchase bonds lend money to the issuer in exchange for periodic interest payments and the return of the principal amount at maturity.
  • Mutual Funds: Mutual funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. They are managed by professional fund managers, offering investors a convenient way to access a diversified investment strategy.
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges, similar to individual stocks. They track various market indices or asset baskets and provide investors with diversification and liquidity in a cost-effective manner.
  • Derivatives: Derivatives are financial contracts whose value is derived from an underlying asset, such as stocks, bonds, commodities, or currencies. They include options, futures, and swaps, and are used for hedging, speculation, and risk management purposes.

Types Of Secondary Market

In the context of the secondary market, there are two primary types – Stock Exchanges and Over-the-Counter (OTC) markets.

  1. Stock Exchanges: Stock exchanges are formal and organized platforms where buyers and sellers come together to trade securities, such as stocks and bonds, through a centralized exchange. Examples include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE). These exchanges provide transparency, liquidity, and regulation for the securities traded on their platforms.
  1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) markets: OTC markets are decentralized and operate outside the physical exchange premises. In these markets, securities are traded directly between buyers and sellers through dealer networks or electronic platforms. OTC trading is less formal, with more flexibility in the types of securities traded. Examples include the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB) in the United States and certain bond markets.

Function Of Secondary Market?

The primary function of the secondary market is to provide liquidity to investors by facilitating the buying and selling of previously issued securities. It allows investors to exit or enter positions in these securities, enabling them to convert their investments into cash and providing a mechanism for price discovery based on market demand and supply. 

The secondary market performs several other key functions that contribute to the stability and efficiency of the financial system:

  • Price Determination: Through the forces of supply and demand, the secondary market aids in the price determination of securities.
  • Safety of Transactions: With the supervision of regulatory bodies like SEBI, transactions in the secondary market are safer and secure, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities.
  • Economic Growth: By allowing the trading of securities, the secondary market helps channel surplus funds from investors to industries, thus aiding economic growth.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Secondary Market

The primary advantage of the secondary market is liquidity. Liquidity ensures investors can buy and sell these securities easily without significantly impacting their prices. 

Other advantages are as follows:

  • It provides a platform for investors to buy and sell securities.
  • It helps in determining the price of a security.
  • It provides an opportunity for a diverse range of investments.

One significant disadvantage of the secondary market is the potential for volatility. Because the prices of securities are driven by supply and demand, they can fluctuate rapidly based on various factors, including economic indicators, financial reports, geopolitical events, and even market sentiment. This can lead to price swings, resulting in potential losses for investors if they need to sell during a downturn. 

Other disadvantages are:

  • The secondary market can be volatile, leading to investment risks.
  • The high transaction costs can affect an investor’s returns.
  • There is a chance of manipulation in the secondary market.
  • Lack of control and predictability can lead to investment losses.

Role Of SEBI In the Secondary Market

The role of SEBI in the secondary market is to safeguard investor interests while promoting market development in the secondary market. Through policies, inspections, and protective actions against fraudulent activities, it upholds market integrity.

  • It ensures the smooth functioning of the market by maintaining a balance between protecting the interests of the investors and promoting the development of the securities market. 
  • SEBI formulates policies and regulations, conducts audits and inspections, and takes necessary actions against market manipulation and fraud, thus maintaining market integrity.

For instance, SEBI has put in place circuit breakers to prevent excessive market volatility. If a stock’s price moves beyond a certain limit in a single day, trading gets halted, preventing potential manipulation or irrational behavior in the market.

Secondary Market – Quick Summary

  • The secondary market is the marketplace where investors buy and sell securities they own. It provides an organized and convenient platform for trading securities.
  • From stocks to bonds and debentures, the secondary market allows trading in various financial instruments. 
  • The functioning of the secondary market involves various participants, including buyers, sellers, and intermediaries such as brokers.
  • Key features of the secondary market include its high liquidity, price determination mechanism, and transparency.
  • The secondary market has various instruments like equity shares, bonds, preference shares, and more that cater to different types of investors.
  • The advantages of the secondary market include liquidity, price determination, and safety of transactions, while the disadvantages include market volatility and high transaction costs.
  • SEBI plays a crucial role in regulating the secondary market in India, ensuring fair trade practices and protecting the interests of the investors.
  • Invest in secondary markets with Alice Blue. Most notably, if you switch to our ₹ 15 brokerage plan, you can save up to ₹ 1100 in monthly brokerage fees. There are no clearing fees involved either. 

What Is Secondary Market – FAQs 

1. What does the secondary market mean?

The secondary market refers to the marketplace where securities, once issued in the primary market, are bought and sold.

2. What is the role of the secondary market?

The main role of the secondary market is to provide a platform for trading securities, offering liquidity to investors, determining the price of securities, and facilitating economic growth.

3. What is the difference between primary and secondary markets?

The primary market is where companies issue new securities to raise funds, whereas the secondary market is where these securities are traded among investors after their initial issuance.

4. What are the advantages of the secondary market?

Key advantages of the secondary market include

  • Liquidity
  • Price discovery and 
  • Diversification of investments

5. Who controls the secondary market in India?

SEBI, which stands for the Securities and Exchange Board of India, is the governing body that oversees India’s secondary market.

6. Why is the secondary market important?

The secondary market is important as it provides liquidity to investors, aids in price discovery, contributes to economic growth, and facilitates risk transfer.

We hope that you are clear about the topic. But there is more to learn and explore when it comes to the stock market, and hence we bring you the important topics and areas that you should know:

Market What is Primary Market?
Difference between IPO and FPO
Bull vs Bear Market
What Is Mutual Fund In Simple Words
Trading What is Online Trading?
What is Algo Trading?
Investment What is Bonus Share?
What is Valuation of Shares?
What is Corporate Action?
Analysis Stock Market Analysis
Individual Topics What are CTT & STT Charges?
India Vix
Difference between FDI and FII
Account What is Trading Account
What is Demat Account
All Topics
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