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Income Participating Securities (IPS): Definition, Benefits, and Real-World Applications

Last updated 05/09/2024 by

Daniel Dikio

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Fact checked by

Income Participating Securities (IPS) are innovative investment instruments combining elements of both stocks and bonds, designed to provide investors with steady income streams. With IPS, investors receive dividends from stock holdings and interest payments from bonds, offering a unique blend of income potential and diversification. These securities cater to income-focused investors seeking stable returns while navigating market volatility.

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Understanding Income Participating Securities (IPS)

What are income participating securities?

Income Participating Securities (IPS), also known as income deposit securities (IDS) or enhanced income securities (EIS), are unique investment instruments that blend features of both stocks and bonds. They are crafted to offer investors a steady income stream through dividends from stocks and interest payments from bonds.

How IPS works

IPS are typically issued by companies with stable cash flows, limited capital expenditure requirements, and modest growth prospects. These companies seek to attract investment despite their subdued stock performance. To achieve this, they structure IPS with higher bond yields compared to conventional bonds.
The dividends paid on IPS originate from the issuing company’s free cash flow. Typically, the company commits to distributing a fixed percentage of its free cash flow to IPS holders, although the actual payout may fluctuate from period to period, akin to stock dividends.

Components and trading

An IPS usually comprises two distinct components: common stock shares and income-yielding bonds. These components can be traded separately on exchanges, although there may be specific holding periods before selling IPS shares.
While the bond interest portion of an IPS is taxable as ordinary income, some portion of the distribution may be classified as a return of capital, subject to lower tax rates on capital gains.

Types of income participating securities

Convertible IPS

Convertible IPS offer the option to convert the bond portion into a predetermined number of shares of common stock. This feature provides investors with flexibility and potential upside if the issuing company’s stock value appreciates.

Callable IPS

Callable IPS grant the issuer the right to redeem the security at a specified price before maturity. While this feature benefits issuers by allowing them to refinance at lower rates or under different terms, it poses a risk to investors who may face early redemption and reinvestment challenges.

Strategies for investing in IPS


As with any investment, diversification is key to mitigating risk. Investors should consider incorporating IPS into a well-rounded investment portfolio alongside other asset classes to spread risk and optimize returns.

Research and due diligence

Before investing in IPS, thorough research and due diligence are essential. Investors should analyze the financial health of the issuing company, assess market conditions, and evaluate the potential risks and rewards associated with IPS.

Consultation with financial advisors

Given the complexity and potential risks of IPS, consulting with a qualified financial advisor is advisable. A financial advisor can provide personalized guidance based on an investor’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

Regulatory considerations

SEC regulations

Income Participating Securities are subject to regulatory oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investors should be aware of regulatory requirements and disclosures associated with IPS offerings to make informed investment decisions.

Tax implications

In addition to regular income tax considerations, IPS may have specific tax implications related to the treatment of dividends, bond interest, and capital gains. Investors should consult with tax professionals to understand the tax implications of IPS investments and optimize tax efficiency.

Comparison with traditional investments

IPS vs. stocks

Compared to traditional stocks, Income Participating Securities offer investors the advantage of regular income payments, making them appealing for those seeking consistent cash flow. However, IPS may lack the same level of capital appreciation potential as stocks, making them more suitable for income-focused investors rather than those seeking high growth.

IPS vs. bonds

While both IPS and bonds provide fixed income, IPS offer the potential for higher yields due to their combined structure of stocks and bonds. Additionally, IPS may provide greater diversification benefits compared to traditional bonds, as they incorporate elements of equity alongside fixed income.

Pros and cons of income participating securities

Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.
  • Diversified income streams
  • Potential for high yields
  • Flexible trading options
  • Tax implications
  • Risk of capital loss
  • Limited growth potential

Real-world examples of IPS

Company A

Company A issues Income Participating Securities to attract investors interested in stable income streams. These securities combine elements of common stock shares and bonds, with dividends and interest payments providing regular income to investors.

Company B

Company B offers Callable IPS to investors, providing the issuer with the option to redeem the securities at a predetermined price before maturity. While Callable IPS may offer higher yields initially, investors should be aware of the risks associated with early redemption.

Risks associated with IPS

Market risk

Income Participating Securities are subject to market fluctuations, and their value may vary based on changes in interest rates, stock prices, and overall economic conditions. Investors should be prepared for potential capital losses during market downturns.

Liquidity risk

While IPS may offer flexible trading options, they may also face liquidity challenges, particularly if there is limited demand in the secondary market. Investors should consider the ease of buying and selling IPS before making investment decisions.

Issuer risk

Investors in IPS are exposed to the credit risk of the issuing company. If the issuer experiences financial difficulties or default, it may impact the income payments and principal repayment associated with IPS.


In summary, Income Participating Securities represent a unique investment opportunity for investors seeking both income and diversification. By blending elements of stocks and bonds, IPS offer potential for steady income streams, although investors should be mindful of associated tax implications and market risks. Before investing in IPS, it’s advisable to conduct thorough research and consult with a financial advisor to ensure alignment with individual financial goals and risk tolerance.

Frequently asked questions

What are the tax implications of investing in IPS?

Investing in Income Participating Securities (IPS) may have tax implications, including taxable bond interest and potential capital gains treatment for certain distributions. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific tax implications based on individual circumstances.

Can IPS be traded on exchanges like stocks?

Yes, IPS are typically traded on exchanges, offering investors liquidity and flexibility in buying and selling. However, there may be specific holding periods or restrictions before selling IPS shares, depending on the issuer’s policies.

How do IPS compare to traditional bonds in terms of risk?

While both IPS and traditional bonds offer fixed income, IPS may carry higher risks due to their hybrid nature and exposure to market fluctuations. Investors should carefully assess the risk-return profile of IPS compared to traditional bonds before investing.

Are IPS suitable for retirement portfolios?

Income Participating Securities can be considered for retirement portfolios seeking steady income streams, but investors should weigh the associated risks, liquidity considerations, and tax implications. Consulting with a financial advisor is recommended to determine suitability based on individual retirement goals and risk tolerance.

What factors should investors consider before investing in IPS?

Before investing in IPS, investors should consider factors such as the financial health of the issuing company, market conditions, liquidity, tax implications, and their own investment objectives and risk tolerance. Conducting thorough research and seeking professional advice can help investors make informed decisions.

Can IPS provide protection against inflation?

While IPS may offer income streams that can help offset the effects of inflation, they may not provide the same level of protection as inflation-linked securities or certain other investment vehicles. Investors should assess the inflation risk and potential purchasing power erosion when considering IPS in their portfolio.

How do Callable IPS differ from traditional IPS?

Callable IPS grant the issuer the right to redeem the securities at a predetermined price before maturity, introducing additional risks and considerations for investors. Understanding the terms and implications of callable features is crucial for investors evaluating IPS offerings.

Key takeaways

  • Income Participating Securities (IPS) combine features of stocks and bonds.
  • IPS offer investors diversified income streams with potential for high yields.
  • Tax implications and market risks should be carefully considered before investing in IPS.

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