DEFINITION of 'Fixed Term'

Fixed term describes an investment vehicle, usually some kind of debt instrument, that has a fixed time period of investment. With a fixed-term investment, the investor parts with his or her money for a specified period of time and is repaid his or her principal investment only at the end of the investment period. In some cases, even though a fixed term is stated on the investment, the investor or issuer may not have to commit to it.


A common example of a fixed-term investment is a term deposit in which the investor deposits his or her funds with a financial institution for a specified period of time and cannot withdraw the funds until the end of the time period, or at least not without facing an early withdrawal penalty. The investor, for the most part, is committed to the fixed term of this financial instrument. Once a term deposit reaches or approaches maturity, the investor must notify his or her financial institution to either re-invest the money into another fixed term investment or deposit the cash proceeds into his or her account. If the financial institution is not given any form of notification, proceeds from the mature term deposit automatically rolls itself over to another term deposit with the same fixed term as before. The interest rate can potentially be lower than the previous rate given that each new deposit is set at the current rate. A term deposit is the opposite of a demand deposit, in which the investor is free to withdraw his or her funds at any time. As a price for the convenience of withdrawal at any time, demand deposits generally pay lower interest rates than term deposits.

Fixed terms also apply to debt instruments such as debentures and bonds. These securities are issued with a fixed term that may be short-, intermediate-, or long-term. The fixed term or time to maturity is stated in a bond indenture at the time of issuance. Unlike term deposits, bonds can be sold before they mature. In other words, investors are not committed to the fixed term of the security. For example, assume a bond is issued with 20 years to maturity. An investor can hold the bond for 20 years or can sell the bond before its term expires. The bond will continue to be traded in the secondary markets until it matures, at which point it will be retired.

Issuers can also retire a bond before it matures if the bond has an embedded call option. The trust indenture specifies the term a bond can be fixed for before an issuer redeems it from bondholders. For example, if a bond’s fixed term is 20 years, the call protection period may be seven years. In other words, the fixed term of the call protection is seven years and investors are guaranteed periodic interest payments on the bond for seven years. Once the call protection term elapses, the issuer can choose to buy back its bonds from the market regardless of the 20-year overall fixed term. Callable bond issuers are not committed to the fixed term of the bond.

  1. Term Deposit

    A term deposit is a deposit held at a financial institution that ...
  2. Term Bond

    Term bonds mature on a specific date in the future and the bond ...
  3. Term To Maturity

    In bonds, term to maturity is the time between when a bond is ...
  4. Call Protection

    A call protection is a protective provision of a callable security ...
  5. Fixed Income Forward

    A fixed income forward is a contract between two parties to either ...
  6. Call Risk

    Call risk is the risk faced by a holder of a callable bond that ...
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    7 Questions to Consider Before Investing in Bonds

    There is a significant number of questions every investor, private or institutional, should consider before investing in bonds.
  2. Personal Finance

    Where to Put Your Cash: Call Deposit vs. Time Deposit Accounts

    Time deposit accounts and call deposit accounts allow customers to earn higher interest in exchange for less access to their cash.
  3. Investing

    Why Bond Prices Fall When Interest Rates Rise

    Never invest in something you don’t understand. Bonds are no exception.
  4. Investing

    Bond Call Features: Don't Get Caught Off Guard

    Learn why early redemption occurs and how to avoid potential losses.
  5. Investing

    Key Strategies To Avoid Negative Bond Returns

    It is difficult to make money in bonds in a rising rate environment, but there are ways to avoid losses.
  6. Investing

    Simple Math for Fixed-Coupon Corporate Bonds

    A guide to help to understand the simple math behind fixed-coupon corporate bonds.
  7. Investing

    Corporate Bonds: Advantages and Disadvantages

    Corporate bonds can provide compelling returns, even in low-yield environments. But they are not without risk.
  8. Investing

    Why Companies Issue Bonds

    When companies need to raise money, issuing bonds is one way to do it. A bond functions as a loan between an investor and a corporation.
  1. What determines bond prices on the open market?

    Learn more about some of the factors that influence the valuation of bonds on the open market and why bond prices and yields ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Gross Margin

    A company's total sales revenue minus its cost of goods sold, divided by the total sales revenue, expressed as a percentage. ...
  2. Inflation

    Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services is rising and the worth of currency is dropping.
  3. Discount Rate

    Discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions for loans received from ...
  4. Economies of Scale

    Economies of scale refer to reduced costs per unit that arise from increased total output of a product. For example, a larger ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations with its most liquid assets.
  6. Leverage

    Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a source of funding when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate ...
Trading Center