In the financial markets, there is a flow of funds from one group of parties (funds-surplus units) known as investors to another group (funds-deficit units) which require funds. However, often these groups do not have direct link. The link is provided by market intermediaries such as brokers, mutual funds, leasing and finance companies, etc. In all, there is a very large number of players and participants in the financial market. These can be grouped as follows :
- The individuals: These are net savers and purchase the securities issued by corporates. Individuals provide funds by subscribing to these security or by making other investments.
- The Firms or corporates: The corporates are net borrowers. They require funds for different projects from time to time. They offer different types of securities to suit the risk preferences of investors’ Sometimes, the corporates invest excess funds, as individuals do. The funds raised by issue of securities are invested in real assets like plant and machinery. The income generated by these real assets is distributed as interest or dividends to the investors who own the securities.
- Government: Government may borrow funds to take care of the budget deficit or as a measure of controlling the liquidity, etc. Government may require funds for long terms (which are raised by issue of Government loans) or for short-terms (for maintaining liquidity) in the money market. Government makes initial investments in public sector enterprises by subscribing to the shares, however, these investments (shares) may be sold to public through the process of disinvestments.