Major Characteristics of Investments

Certain features characterize all investments. The following are the main characteristics of investments:

1.Return: All investments are characterized by the expectation of a return. In fact, investments are made with the primary objective of deriving a return. The return may be received in the form of yield plus capital appreciation. The difference between the sale price & the purchase price is capital appreciation. The dividend or interest received from the investment is the yield. Different types of investments promise different rates of return. The return from an investment depends upon the nature of investment, the maturity period & a host of other factors.

Characteristics of Investments

2.Risk: Risk is inherent in any investment. The risk may relate to loss of capital, delay in repayment of capital, nonpayment of interest, or variability of returns. While some investments like government securities & bank deposits are almost risk less, others are more risky. The risk of an investment depends on the following factors.

  • The longer the maturity period, the longer is the risk.
  • The lower the credit worthiness of the borrower, the higher is the risk.

The risk varies with the nature of investment. Investments in ownership securities like equity shares carry higher risk compared to investments in debt instrument like debentures & bonds.

3. Safety: The safety of an investment implies the certainty of return of capital without loss of money or time. Safety is another features which an investors desire for his investments. Every investor expects to get back his capital on maturity without loss & without delay.

4. Liquidity: An investment, which is easily saleable, or marketable without loss of money & without loss of time is said to possess liquidity. Some investments like company deposits, bank deposits, P.O. deposits, NSC, NSS etc. are not marketable. Some investment instrument like preference shares & debentures are marketable, but there are no buyers in many cases & hence their liquidity is negligible. Equity shares of companies listed on stock exchanges are easily marketable through the stock exchanges.

An investor generally prefers liquidity for his investment, safety of his funds, a good return with minimum risk or minimization of risk & maximization of return.