Transferable security

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A negotiable investment[1] in bearer or registered form and which the holder may freely transfer by delivery:

To be contrasted with indebtedness or exposure in the form of, say, a loan or over-the-counter derivative, where the creditor or counterparty cannot easily sell its right to repayment[2].


These days transferable securities are cleared electronically through clearing systems like Euroclear, Clearstream and DTC. The days of security-printed bearer bonds are over.

Also called a physical security (to distinguish it from a synthetic one).


To “securitise” an income stream or asset (or a loan, or OTC derivative) is to convert it into the form of a transferable security so it can be easily transferred in the market.


  1. I say negotiable investment not negotiable instrument because a cheque is a negotiable instrument, and I don’t think you would commonly call that a transferable security.
  2. Yes, yes, I know it can novate it, or sub-participate it, or indeed securitise it