DEFINITION of 'Call Privilege'

The provision in a bond indenture that gives the bond issuer the option to redeem all or part of the bond issue, at pre-determined prices on certain specified dates. These dates are known as "call dates" and form the call schedule. The term "call privilege" derives its name from the fact that the issuer's option to redeem the bond issue, is akin to a call option on the bonds. In return for this privilege, the issuer will generally pay a coupon rate that is higher than that paid by straight bonds of comparable maturity and credit quality.

BREAKING DOWN 'Call Privilege'

The pre-determined price at which a bond can be called is generally higher than the par or issue price. This call premium is demanded by investors to justify the risk involved in holding bonds that have call privileges embedded in them. Since an issuer is quite likely to exercise its call privilege when prevailing interest rates are significantly lower than they were at the time the bond was issued, buyers of callable bonds have to deal with reinvestment risk, or the risk of investing bond proceeds at lower interest rates. In the case of bonds that contain call privileges, "yield to call" may be a better measure of the yields that investors can expect from such bonds, rather than "yield to maturity."

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What risk factors should investors consider before purchasing a callable bond?

    Understand the difference between callable and non-callable bonds and consider all the various risk factors associated with ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why doesn't the price of a callable bond exceed its call price when interest rates ...

    A callable bond provides the issuer (borrowing entity) with an option to redeem the bond before its original maturity date. ... Read Answer >>
  3. A corporate bond I own has just been called by the issuer. How can a company legally ...

    Bond issues can contain what is referred to as a call provision, which is a right afforded to the issuing company enabling ... Read Answer >>
  4. Under what circumstances might an issuer redeem a callable bond?

    Understand why an interest rate drop usually compels bond issuers to redeem callable bonds and re-issue them at the new, ... Read Answer >>
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