We believe that commercial paper provides provides liquidity to our portfolio, and is used in concert with asset back securities. money market instruments, and class A issues, Commercial paper refers to a short-term, unsecured debt obligation that is issued by financial institutions and large corporations as an alternative to costlier methods of funding. We prefer to invest in money market funds that invest in commercial paper that offer much more diversification to spread risk among many different issues. We limit our total portfolio to a 5 percent investment in commercial paper.

Commercial paper is short-term, unsecured debt issued by corporations and is use by firms to finance operations, because rates are usually cheaper than those for their long-term debt. But don’t expect higher yields to compensate for the added risk.

Commercial paper is similar to zero-coupon bonds. Both are issued at a discount and accrete at the face value. Maturities on commercial paper are less than 270 days, capped by government restrictions. The commercial paper market amounts to more than $1.162 trillion according to the Federal Reserve. Issuers are usually highly rated companies which make it fairly liquid because with less risk and more investor demand. Lower-rated commercial paper typically means more risk and less demand.

Since these are short-term securities, they reach maturity in 270 days or less – usually, between one and six months. Commercial paper can take the form of U.S. Treasury bills, certificates of deposits (CDs) or promissory notes. For investors, it offers a return on investment in a fairly short amount of time. Plus, it’s pretty low-risk. Investing in commercial paper can be a short-term investment strategy to earn a healthy return on investment with moderate risk.

Commercial paper is widely considered to be a low-risk investment due to its short-term nature. Though you should definitely do the legwork on the issuing company – check its S&P rating, financial health and potential risk for default – before signing on the dotted line. 

Not just anyone can get into this investing game. That’s because these securities are most often issued in denominations of $100,000 or more. In fact, the commercial paper market is largely made up of large financial companies (think investment firms and mutual funds). However, individuals with the right amount of money can invest via a broker.

Commercial paper, in the global financial market, is an unsecured promissory note with a fixed maturity of rarely more than 270 days. Commercial paper is a money-market security issued (sold) by large corporations to obtain funds to meet short-term debt obligations (for example, payroll) and is backed only by an issuing bank or company promise to pay the face amount on the maturity date specified on the note. Since it is not backed by collateral, only firms with excellent credit ratings from a recognized credit rating agency will be able to sell their commercial paper at a reasonable price. Since it is not backed by collateral, only firms with excellent credit ratings from a recognized credit rating agency will be able to sell their commercial paper at a reasonable price. Commercial paper is usually sold at a discount from face value and generally carries lower interest repayment rates than bonds due to the shorter maturities of commercial paper. Typically, the longer the maturity on a note, the higher the interest rate the issuing institution pays. Interest rates fluctuate with market conditions but are typically lower than banks’ rates.