Trust Certificate

DEFINITION of 'Trust Certificate'

A bond or debt investment, usually in a public corporation, that is backed by other assets which serve a purpose similar to collateral. If the company experiences difficulty making payments, the assets may be seized or sold to help specific trust certificate holders recover a portion of their investment. The potential type of company assets used to create a trust certificate can vary, but most typically are other shares of company stock or physical equipment.

BREAKING DOWN 'Trust Certificate'

Investors holding trust certificates usually experience a higher level of safety than investors owning unsecured or uncollateralized bonds. But, they also typically earn a lower level of interest than those investors willing to take greater risks. While that may sound like an attractive balance for some investors, investing in trust certificates can be complex because it requires both an understanding of a company's overall financial situation and the nature of the asset that underlies the trust certificate.

Special caution should be taken when investing in trust certificates with an underlying asset that is the same company's stock. If the company runs into financial trouble, the asset backing the trust certificate can become as worthless as the trust certificate itself.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How do you get a hard copy of a stock certificate?

    Before online brokers and personally-directed accounts, holding a physical stock certificate was a necessity, as this was ... Read Answer >>
  2. I hold stock certificates in a company that just had a stock split. What happens ...

    The short answer is that a stock split will have little effect on the holder of stock certificates. In most cases when an ... Read Answer >>
  3. Is this stock certificate worthless?

    I bought 50,000 shares of restricted common stock from a company in December 2015 and received a stock certificate. I then ... Read Answer >>
  4. I lost my share certificate. Do I still own the stock?

    Regardless of whether a shareholder loses his or her stock certificate, that person still owns the shares. However, in order ... Read Answer >>
  5. Can I pass on the stock certificates to my son in my will?

    I was told I could get stock certificates from the company that I retired from. Will my son get the st... Read Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between revocable and irrevocable intervivos trusts?

    Learn what an inter-vivos trust is, the difference between an irrevocable and a revocable inter-vivos trust, and why it is ... Read Answer >>
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