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Bond ETFs are rising in popularity due to their potential for liquidity, transparency, and low costs. Several factors determine how much you will pay when trading bond ETFs.

What Are Bond ETFs?

A bond ETF is a type of mutual fund that invests in bonds and trades like a stock. A bond ETF attempts to match the returns of an index of bonds. These financial instruments, which only invest in bonds, trade on exchanges like stocks, giving them specific equity-like characteristics.


When traders buy or sell a bond or any other security, they usually do not possess the actual security itself. Instead, they must deposit the funds with another entity to enter into a contract to purchase an undetermined amount of bonds (or other securities) at a future date and price. This party is usually referred to as either the counterparty or the intermediary.

Holding bonds ETFs

For those simply seeking to hold bonds until maturity, you should give little thought about who this intermediary is; it’s less critical than understanding contractual obligations such as the face value of your initial investment, interest rate pledged to bondholders or maturity date.

However, for those who wish to buy and sell bonds before the contracted maturity date, these parties can have a material impact on how much you pay for each transaction.

Buy and sell bond ETFs.

Compound fees are used by many derivatives brokers because they’re an easy way to generate revenue. The compounded fee means that your broker charges you every time you trade–whether buying or selling–and treats it as part of the overall commission. If you make two trades within one year using this method, then the second will cost twice as much as the first did


Flat fees are what they sound like: You pay X amount per trade regardless of how much you buy or sell.

The Differences Between Bonds And Bond ETFs

Bonds and bond ETFs may have the same essential investments, but exchange trading has a significant impact on how bond ETFs operate:


Bond ETFs do not mature. Each day you invest in a bond fund, one day goes by closer to the maturity date. However, bond ETFs retain a constant maturity since their portfolio’s weighted average maturity is maintained. Some of these bonds will be expiring or exiting the age range for which a bond ETF is intended (e.g., a one- to three-year Treasury bond ETF kicks out all bonds with less than 12 months to maturity). As a result, additional bonds are bought and sold to maintain the maturity of the portfolio constant.


Bond ETFs are liquid even in illiquid markets. The traceability of single bonds varies significantly. Some bonds are traded every day, while you may only trade others once a month. During periods of strain, they might not trade at all. In contrast, bond ETFs are traded on an exchange, which means they can be purchased and sold at any time during market hours, even if the underlying bonds aren’t trading.

Bond ETF Advantages

The advantages of bond ETFs over single bonds include:


You can own hundreds, if not thousands, of bonds in an index at a cost far less than what it would cost to invest in each bond individually with an ETF. It’s like having institutional-style diversification at retail costs.

Ease of trading

There will be no need to sift through the opaque OTC markets to haggle over rates. You may buy and sell bond ETFs from your regular brokerage account with a single click.


ETFs that track the performance of a single country’s bonds can be bought and sold at any time during the trading day, including in markets with less frequent trading.

Price transparency

ETFs are also more liquid because they trade on the exchange. There is no longer any uncertainty about the value of your investment since ETF prices are made available to the public on the exchange and updated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day.

More frequent income

Instead of paying coupon payments every six months, bond ETFs pay interest every month. Though the value varies from month to month, monthly payments provide bond ETF investors with a more regular income stream to utilize or reinvest.


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