Equity Swap

What is an 'Equity Swap'

An equity swap is an exchange of cash flows between two parties that allows each party to diversify its income, while still holding its original assets. The two sets of nominally equal cash flows are exchanged as per the terms of the swap, which may involve an equity-based cash flow (such as from a stock asset) that is traded for a fixed-income cash flow (such as a benchmark rate), but this is not necessarily the case. Besides diversification and tax benefits, equity swaps also allow large institutions to hedge specific assets or positions in their portfolios.

BREAKING DOWN 'Equity Swap'

Most equity swaps today are conducted between large financing firms such as auto financiers, investment banks and capital lending institutions. LIBOR rates are a common benchmark for the fixed income portion of equity swaps, which also tend to be held at intervals of one year or less, much like commercial paper.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. Can bond traders trade on interest rate swaps?

    Read about interest rate swaps and why these transactions are performed by institutional actors in the bond market, not individual ... Read Answer >>
  2. What would motivate an entity to enter into a swap agreement?

    Learn why parties enter into swap agreements to hedge their risks, and understand how the different legs of a swap agreement ... Read Answer >>
  3. How are swap agreements financed?

    Learn how swap agreements are now cleared by swap execution facilities and require the use of collateral margin to hold, ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are some risks a company takes when entering a currency swap?

    Read about the risks associated with performing a currency swap, including counterparty credit risk in the event that one ... Read Answer >>
  5. How do companies benefit from interest rate and currency swaps?

    An interest rate swap involves the exchange of cash flows between two parties based on interest payments for a particular ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are interest rate swaps on the OTC market?

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