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Puttable Bond

Category — Bond Types
By Konstantin Vasilev Member of the Board of Directors of Cbonds, Ph.D. in Economics
Updated December 17, 2023

What is a Puttable Bond?

A puttable bond, also known as put bond, putable or retractable bond, represents a distinctive debt instrument option that grants a unique power to bondholders — the ability to force the issuer to repurchase the bond before its designated maturity date. Essentially, it functions as an "early exit" option for investors, allowing them to exercise this right under specific conditions. The price of a puttable bond is calculated by combining the conventional bond price with the value of the embedded put option. For instance, if the price of the puttable bond is $90 and it was initially issued in a low-interest-rate environment, the bondholder can leverage the put option when interest rates rise, enabling them to sell the bond at a predetermined price. This flexibility empowers investors to make informed choices based on prevailing market conditions.

Puttable bonds offer a strategic advantage by providing an exit strategy for bondholders, enhancing their flexibility in managing investments. These bonds enable risk-averse investors to navigate changing market dynamics effectively. Typically, the repurchase price for puttable bonds is established at the bond’s face value, and the conditions and timing for exercising the put option are crucial considerations for investors.

Puttable Bond



  1. Flexibility for Investors. Puttable bonds provide investors with a unique level of flexibility. The embedded put option allows bondholders to sell the bond back to the issuer before its maturity date, offering an "early exit" strategy when needed.

  2. Risk Mitigation in Rising Interest Rates. These bonds act as a protective measure for investors in the realm of rising interest rate environment. If interest rates increase, the bondholder can exercise the put option, selling the bond at a predetermined price and avoiding potential losses.

  3. Lower Reinvestment Risk. By allowing investors to redeem the bond prematurely and reinvest the funds in more favorable market conditions, puttable bonds help mitigate reinvestment risk. This is particularly valuable when interest rates fluctuate.

  4. Enhanced Liquidity Options. The ability to demand early repayment adds a layer of liquidity to puttable bonds. Investors can adapt to changing market conditions by selling the bond back to the issuer, ensuring access to their funds.

  5. Tailored Investment Strategy. Puttable bonds cater to the needs of risk-averse investors seeking more control over their investments. The option to exit early provides a strategic advantage, allowing investors to make decisions aligned with their financial goals.

  6. Protection in a Dynamic Market. In a market where interest rates may rise or fall, puttable bonds offer a level of protection to investors. The flexibility provided by the embedded put option helps investors navigate uncertainties and capitalize on favorable conditions.

  7. Potential Cost Savings for Issuers. From the issuer’s perspective, issuing puttable bonds can lower borrowing costs. Investors may accept slightly lower yields in exchange for the flexibility provided by the put option, making these bonds an attractive option for both parties.

  8. Diversification of Investment Portfolios. Including puttable bonds in a diversified investment portfolio can contribute to risk management. The unique features of these bonds offer a different risk-return profile compared to traditional bonds, enhancing overall portfolio resilience.

  9. Clear Exit Strategy. Investors appreciate the transparent exit strategy that puttable bonds offer. The predefined conditions and timing for exercising the put option provide clarity and empower investors to make well-informed financial decisions.


  1. Lower Yield Potential. Puttable bonds often come with a trade-off. While they provide investors with valuable flexibility, the downside is that they typically offer lower yields compared to comparable bonds without embedded put options. This is a consideration investors need to weigh against the benefits of the put feature.

  2. Complex Valuation. The valuation of puttable bonds can be more complex than that of traditional bonds due to the embedded put option. Investors may need to employ more sophisticated methods to accurately assess the value of these bonds, adding a layer of complexity to the investment process.

  3. Limited Upside in Falling Interest Rates. In scenarios where interest rates fall significantly, the price of a puttable bond may rise, limiting the potential upside for investors. This is in contrast to traditional bonds where falling interest rates often lead to increased bond prices.

  4. Potential for Increased Issuer Costs. While puttable bonds can be cost-effective for issuers, there is a potential for increased costs if a significant number of bondholders decide to exercise the put option simultaneously. This scenario could strain the issuer’s financial resources.

  5. Market Sensitivity. Puttable bonds are sensitive to changes in market conditions, especially interest rate fluctuations. Investors need to carefully monitor market trends to make informed decisions about exercising the put option, as the value of the bond can be influenced by these changes.

  6. Limited Potential for Capital Appreciation. Unlike some other types of investments, puttable bonds may have limited potential for capital appreciation, particularly if interest rates remain stable or decline. Investors seeking substantial capital gains may find other investment vehicles more suitable.

  7. Issuer’s Financial Stability. The financial stability of the issuer is a critical factor. If the issuer encounters financial difficulties, the ability to honor the repurchase of puttable bonds at the predetermined price may be compromised, posing a risk to bondholders.

  8. Timing Risk. Successful investment in puttable bonds requires accurate timing. If the put option is exercised at the wrong time, investors may miss out on potential gains in the market or incur losses if market conditions are not favorable.

  9. Impact of Market Perception. The perception of puttable bonds in the market can influence their pricing and liquidity. Changes in market sentiment or perceptions about the issuer’s financial health can impact the overall performance of these bonds.

Types of Puttable Bonds

  1. Multi Maturity Bond. These bonds have multiple maturity dates, providing investors with the option to exercise the put feature at various points during the bond’s lifespan. This flexibility allows bondholders to react to changing market conditions.

  2. Option Tender Bond. Option tender bonds are typically floating-rate bonds secured by municipal or tax-exempt bonds. They grant bondholders the option to require the issuer to repurchase the bond at par before its maturity, foregoing future coupon payments.

  3. Variable Rate Demand Obligation (VRDO). VRDOs are puttable bonds where borrowed funds are payable on demand, and the interest rate is based on prevailing market rates. These bonds are often long-term municipal bonds, offering both flexibility and a variable interest rate.

How does Puttable Bonds Work?

  1. Issuance. The process begins when a company or government issues a puttable bond to raise funds.

  2. Coupon Payments. Over time, the issuer makes periodic interest payments, known as coupon payments, to bondholders. These payments are based on a fixed interest rate agreed upon when the bond was issued.

  3. Put Option Exercise. Investors consider exercising the put option when market conditions change, especially if interest rates are rising. If the investor decides to exercise the put option, they essentially "put" the bond back to the issuer.

  4. Redemption. Upon exercising the put option, the issuer is obligated to repurchase the bond from the investor. The repurchase price is typically set at the face value of the bond, allowing investors to recover their initial investment.

  5. Reinvestment. With the repurchased funds in hand, investors can now reinvest in other opportunities. This is particularly beneficial if market conditions have changed, and there are better investment options available.

  6. Market Dynamics. The decision to exercise the put option is influenced by changes in interest rates. If rates have risen significantly, the bondholder may opt to sell the bond back to the issuer to avoid potential losses.

  7. Risk Management. Puttable bonds serve as a risk management tool for investors. If interest rates rise, the option to exit early allows investors to protect themselves from the adverse effects on bond prices.

Legal Framework of Puttable Bonds

  1. Contractual Agreements. The terms and conditions of puttable bonds are primarily governed by the indenture, a legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of both the bond issuer and the bondholders. This includes specifics about the embedded put option, conditions for exercising it, and the repurchase price. Issuers are required to provide potential investors with a comprehensive bond prospectus. This document, regulated by securities laws, contains crucial information about the bond offering, including the terms of the embedded put option and associated risks.

  2. Securities Regulations. In the United States, the SEC plays a crucial role in regulating the issuance and trading of securities, including bonds. The disclosure requirements set by the SEC ensure that investors receive accurate and transparent information about the securities they are considering.

  3. Financial Laws. The legal relationship between the bond issuer and bondholders is governed by contract law. The terms and conditions specified in the indenture and other offering documents form a binding agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party.

  4. Dispute Resolution Mechanisms. In the event of disputes between bond issuers and bondholders, legal frameworks may provide for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration or mediation, to resolve conflicts outside of traditional court proceedings.

Puttable Bond vs. Callable Bond

  1. Embedded Option. Puttable bonds grant bondholders the right (but not the obligation) to sell the bond back to the issuer before its maturity date. If the embedded put option is exercised, the bondholder receives the principal value of the bond at par value. Callable bonds give the issuer the right (but not the obligation) to redeem the bond before its stated maturity date. The option is initiated by the issuer, allowing them to refinance debt in a falling interest rate environment.

  2. Party Initiating the Option. With puttable bonds the option is initiated by the bondholder, providing investors with the power to demand early repayment from the issuer. With callable bonds the option is initiated by the issuer, allowing them to repay the bond before its maturity date.

  3. Beneficiary. Puttable bonds are beneficial for bondholders, offering an exit strategy and flexibility, especially in scenarios of rising interest rates. Callable bonds are beneficial for issuers, enabling them to manage debt efficiently by repurchasing bonds in a falling interest rate environment.

  4. Interest Rate Environment. Puttable bonds are effective in rising interest rate environments, allowing bondholders to capitalize on higher rates by selling the bond back and reinvesting. Callable bonds are effective in falling interest rate environments, enabling issuers to refinance at lower rates.

  5. Risk and Return. Puttable bonds may offer lower yields than comparable non-puttable bonds, compensating investors for the added flexibility. Callable bonds may offer slightly higher yields to investors as compensation for the risk of the issuer redeeming the bond before maturity.

  6. Issuer’s Perspective. Puttable bonds can be cost-effective for issuers when investors accept lower yields for the flexibility provided by the put option. Callable bonds provide issuers with the advantage of refinancing debt strategically, potentially reducing borrowing costs.

How to Invest In Puttable Bonds

  1. Define Objectives. Clearly articulate your investment goals, risk tolerance, and preferred investment duration. Puttable bonds may be suitable for investors seeking flexibility and risk management.

  2. Research Available Puttable Bonds. Explore the financial markets to identify issuers offering puttable bonds. Look for bonds that align with your investment objectives and risk appetite. Evaluate the financial health and creditworthiness of the bond issuer. Assessing the issuer’s stability is crucial, as it impacts the likelihood of the put option being honored.

  3. Work with a Financial Advisor. Consult with a financial advisor or investment professional. They can provide personalized guidance based on your financial situation and help you navigate the complexities of bond investments.

  4. Diversify Your Portfolio. Consider incorporating puttable bonds into a diversified investment portfolio. Diversification helps manage risk by spreading investments across different asset classes.

  5. Monitor Market Conditions. Keep a close eye on market conditions, especially factors that may impact interest rates. The decision to exercise the put option is often influenced by changes in interest rates.

  6. Consider Liquidity Needs. Since puttable bonds provide an exit strategy, consider how this aligns with your liquidity needs. Assess whether the flexibility to demand early repayment complements your overall financial strategy.

  7. Stay Updated on Economic Trends. Stay informed about economic trends and indicators. Changes in economic conditions can impact interest rates and, subsequently, the attractiveness of puttable bonds.

  8. Execute Investment Strategy. Once you’ve done your due diligence, make informed investment decisions. Execute your investment strategy by purchasing the selected puttable bonds through a reputable brokerage platform.


  • Why do companies issue putable bonds?

  • Are puttable bonds more expensive?

  • What is a put option in bonds?

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