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Primary Market VS Secondary Market

Aria Thomas

Jul 18, 2022 17:04

The capital market is a financial system where companies may raise capital through the issuance of shares, bonds, and other debt instruments. On the primary market, securities are issued for the very first time. At the same time, the secondary market is the market for previously issued securities. Consequently, the primary and secondary markets are both financial markets' components.

When launching your own exchanges, you may be able to make better selections if you have a thorough understanding of primary and secondary market patterns and trading procedures. According to whether the securities traded on them are new or old, financial markets are classified as primary or secondary. The primary and secondary market refers to the financial platform where firms get the capital necessary for their operations.

This article will assist you in comprehending the primary market and secondary market, how they correspond to certain financial professionals, and the primary market vs secondary market.

What is a primary market?

The primary market is where securities are manufactured. This market is where companies sell newly issued securities and stock for the first time. A primary market is shown by Initial Public Offerings (IPO), or the first selling of stock to the public. These exchanges allow speculators to purchase safeguards from the bank that performed the underlying stock endorsement. An Initial Public Offering (IPO) occurs when a privately held company unexpectedly releases stock to the general public.

All issues on the primary market are subject to stringent regulations. Before opening to the public, organizations must file announcements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other securities regulators and wait until their filings are approved.

Costs are usually unexpected in the primary market because it is impossible to estimate demand when security is issued for the first time. This is the reason why many Initial Public Offerings have low prices.

After joining the secondary market through a rights issue, a company might increase the value of its primary market shares. The company will allot shares based on the number of options that investors really hold. Another option is a private deal, in which a company may sell directly to a large investor, such as a bank or a mutual fund. In this circumstance, the bids are not made public.


Consider the corporation XYZ Enterprise. XYZ contracts underwriting firms to determine the financial specifics of its first public offerings (IPO). The hired underwriters specify that the price of the issued stock will be $15. And thereafter, investors can acquire the initial public offering (IPO) at the specified price straight from the issuing business.

This is the only opportunity investors have to invest funds in a company through the purchase of its stock. The equity capital of stock consists of the cash generated by selling shares on the primary market.

What is the secondary market?

To clarify the distinction between the primary and secondary markets, the secondary market is more generally referred to as the "stock market." It is the secondary market where investors trade among themselves on all major indices, including those traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, S&P 500, and all major exchanges worldwide. This is a critical distinction to make, as securities on the secondary market are exchanged without involvement from the issuing companies. Consequently, although the primary market is the source of securities, bonds, and stocks available for purchase, the secondary market is where these assets may be exchanged freely among initial and new investors.

Suppose an investor wished to purchase Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares on the secondary market. Any purchase order would acquire the specified shares from an investor other than the corporation. Similarly, those who sell on the secondary market are essentially selling their shares to another investor.

It is important to note, however, that the secondary market may be further divided into two subcategories:

  • Auction Markets

  • Dealer Markets

When most individuals consider financial markets, they primarily consider the stock market. In a moment, we will examine each subdivision of the secondary market.

How do primary and secondary markets work?

Primary Capital Markets  

Through an initial public offering, the primary capital markets transfer fresh shares of stock or securities to prospective purchasers and companies (IPO). The seller employs securities dealers, finance syndicates, or investment bankers to evaluate the securities, their prices, and other pertinent facts. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other securities regulators oversee and approve the trading of securities on the primary capital market. Price volatility exists in the primary marketplaces. In this market, companies producing securities are constantly in need of the securities quickly. Thus they market to huge investors who can purchase several securities at once. This is a result of the price volatility in primary markets.

Secondary Capital Markets  

The secondary capital market, commonly known as the stock market, is where investors exchange previously-owned stocks. In contrast to the primary capital market, where investors purchase directly from the seller, investors exchange securities they already hold in the secondary market. Secondary capital markets are unrestricted by IPOS, allowing any investor to trade or purchase securities. Secondary markets include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the London Stock Exchange, and the Nasdaq. The number of securities exchanged in the secondary market is governed by the fluctuation or stability of demand and supply, which also impacts security prices. This is in contrast to the primary market, where companies want to sell their securities quickly to reach the needed volume. The secondary market is classified into auction and dealer markets.

Why are secondary markets important?

Secondary markets are crucial because they give investors liquidity. Frequently, buying and selling stocks rapidly minimizes the amount of value lost in a deal. These marketplaces let smaller investors participate in the trading of securities. At the outset, many investors may not have access to initial public offerings (IPOs); thus, secondary markets provide resources for smaller investors. Here is a collection of further examples demonstrating the significance of secondary markets:

They aid in determining the economic health of a nation by identifying economic expansions and contractions.

They supply sufficient resources for the accurate value of a firm.

As a result of supply and demand, the prices of securities approach their true market worth.

Types of secondary markets

There are two primary, and secondary market kinds. Each functions differently and possesses distinct properties.

Auction market

In an auction market, buyers and sellers enter bids simultaneously. These marketplaces function similarly to auction houses, except several buyers and sellers engage concurrently. In an auction market, buyers and sellers seldom bargain directly with one another. Brokers serve as intermediaries and match a buyer and seller with a bid for a commission. Typically, a bidder announces the greatest price they're prepared to pay, and a seller answers with the lowest price they're willing to sell.

Dealer market

In a dealer market, dealers publish their buy and sell prices for securities. This market type does not include a broker. Investors who choose to accept these prices and conduct a trade can approach the broker directly. A foreign currency exchange company is an example of a dealer market. Typically, they publish or advertise the prices at which they are prepared to purchase and sell various currencies.

Over-the-counter (OTC) market

An OTC market consists of a network of several brokers and dealers as opposed to a centralized platform or an official stock exchange. On the OTC market, investors often benefit from reduced prices. Included among the instances of OTC investments are bonds and derivatives. Numerous OTC securities are issued by tiny companies that are ineligible for trading on major exchanges. Between deals, these electronic networks employ dealer-brokers as middlemen.

Pros and cons of primary market


  • Issues issued by the government, agencies, municipalities, and businesses.

  • Disclosing the price to all investors upfront.

  • Stable and predictable income from investments.

  • No bid-ask spread.

  • For CDs, interest is straightforward; CDs are not renewable at maturity.


  • Market restricted to presently accessible products.

  • There is no price flexibility.

  • If CDs are sold before maturity, market and interest rate risk is there.

Pros and cons of secondary market


  • A wider range of CDs and bonds.

  • Flexibility in transaction time and price.

  • Stable and predictable income from investments.

  • The ability to acquire and sell quickly.


  • Prices fluctuate depending on current interest rates, the creditworthiness of the issuer, and overall economic conditions.

  • Largely an over-the-counter (OTC) market in which not all players view prices simultaneously.

  • Dependent on the network of broker-dealers to obtain the lowest price.

  • If CDs are sold before maturity, market and interest rate risk is there.

Differences between the primary market and the secondary market

Method of Purchase or Primary and Secondary Market

The primary market for financial instruments is a direct market in which companies offer their shares to the general public in exchange for payment.

The interaction between buyers and sellers provides the opportunity to negotiate for the shares on sale, particularly in auction markets where the highest bidder is presumed to have won the purchasing fight.

The secondary market is an indirect financial marketplace where potential purchasers purchase shares from other investors. The original shareholder (business) is not involved in the transfer of ownership units on the secondary market.

Beneficiary/Source of Funding for Primary and Secondary Markets

The primary goal of the primary market is to give organizations funds so they may grow their operations or enhance their present activities. Companies offer their shares for subscription to potential purchasers and investors in exchange for capital, which is necessary for supporting the company's operations.

On the other hand, the secondary market does not give financing to the firm, and this is due to the fact that the shares are exchanged amongst potential investors with speculative intentions. On the secondary market, investors share with one another.

The organization is the ultimate beneficiary of the primary market since it will get all revenues from the sale of financial products. On the secondary market, the beneficiaries are the investors after the transfer of ownership.

Participating Primary and Secondary Market Parties

The primary market entails direct communication between the firm and investor. The corporation gives shares to shares that are considering their purchase based on the linked profits and share investor.

On the secondary market, investors trade financial instruments with one another. This is an indirect market in which only investors are interested; hence the firm is not participating.

Price for Primary and Secondary Market Financial Instruments

Financial price prices are often set on the primary market, and companies sell their shares on an open market when other members of the public are aware of the current prices. In addition, the price of the shares in an IPO is disseminated via print and other media outlets.

However, participants are unaware of the share and price shares. The price of financial instruments fluctuates often and is primarily influenced by demand and supply factors. Consequently, the greater the number of items, the lower the prices, and vice versa.


The primary exchange of financial instruments is typically neither geographically nor physically based. This means that purchasers can purchase shares anywhere, even at the organization's headquarters.

The secondary market has a physical presence, indicating that this kind of commerce is based in a particular location. This explains why there are stock market offices and rooms where investors may sell their own units to other investors.

Agents/Intermediaries for Primary and Secondary Market

In the primary markets, underwriters are the mediators between the corporation and the investors wanting to purchase ownership units in the company. Banks and insurance companies, among others, are examples of common underwriting agencies.

The middlemen in the secondary market are brokers. Brokers are responsible for evaluating the risks and returns connected with a certain financial instrument, after which they purchase promising shares on the buyer's behalf.

Quantity of Transactions in Primary and Secondary Markets

On the primary market, a financial instrument is only offered for sale once. The firm is obligated to sell the investor a share at a specified price for a profit, at which point the investor will own all rights to the unit.

The investor is entitled to all benefits connected with instrument ownership, including dividends and resale rights.

On the other hand, a unit of ownership may be sold several times, with each transaction including the exchange of rights and benefits. This is because the secondary market consists of investors selling shares and other financial instruments for a profit.

Who participates in trading on the primary and secondary capital markets?

The investors in primary and secondary markets are distinct because they have distinct objectives and expectations. Investors on the secondary market acquire securities only after the primary market holders have sold them. In the primary market, investors invest in companies through IPO applications for either long-term investment or listing benefits. Traders and short- and long-term investors make up the secondary market investors.

Private market vs public markets

In the investment sector, companies that have not yet released a portion of their ownership for public sale dwell in the private market. This contains companies that have received finance from institutional investors, such as investment bankers, hedge funds, and venture capitalists. Also included are pre-transaction or bootstrapped companies, which are companies that have not obtained capital.

The quantity of available companies on the private market is significantly more than in the public marketplace. Forbes reports that less than one percent of all companies are publicly traded. Thus, privately transacted and pre-transacted companies are crucial for investors seeking to invest capital. However, finding the appropriate opportunity might be challenging. Investors typically rely on platforms that provide private corporate data in order to discover the ideal firm in which to invest.

When a corporation offers ownership, also known as stocks or shares on public markets, to a private investor, the conditions are typically expressed as a proportion of equity. Comparing the percentage of shares sold during the private transaction to the amount of money raised is one approach for valuing a firm. This is a crucial statistic for future fundraising rounds, and the share price should the firm decide to "go public" (i.e., sell ownership of the company on the public markets).


The two financial markets play a significant role in capital mobilization for the economy, including in the realm of security tokens.

While the primary market supports direct engagement between the corporation and the investor, the secondary market is where middlemen facilitate trade for the investors' advantage.