Bondholder

What it is:

A bondholder is a person who owns a bond issued by a borrower, typically a company or a government.

How it works/Example:

A bond represents a loan agreement between an issuer and an investor, and the terms of the bond obligate the issuer to repay the borrowed amount (the principal) by a specific date. The investor (the bondholder) usually earns a specific amount of interest on a semiannual basis.

Bondholders can buy and sell their bonds on the bond market.

Why it Matters:

Being a bondholder is much different that being a shareholder. For one thing, bondholders are lenders; shareholders are owners. Also, bondholders cannot vote and they are not entitled to dividends. But perhaps most important is the fact that bondholders rank senior to shareholders. This means that the bondholders are among the first in line to be repaid in the event the issuer liquidates. Shareholders might receive some proceeds from the liquidation after this point, if there is anything left. This seniority provides an extra level of security for bondholders, and this is one reason corporate bonds are generally considered "safer" investments than stock.

Best execution refers to the imperative that a broker, market maker, or other agent acting on behalf of an investor is obligated to execute the investor's order in a way that is most advantageous to the investor rather than the agent.