HistoryThe term "underwriting" derives from the Lloyd's of London
Securities underwritingIn the financial primary market, securities underwriting is the process by which investment banks raise investment capital from buyers on behalf of corporations and governments by issuing securities (such as stocks or bonds). As an underwriter, the investment bank guarantees a price for these securities, facilitates the issuance of the securities, and then sells them to the public (or retains them for their own proprietary account). This process is often seen in initial public offerings (IPOs), where investment banks help a corporation raise funds from the public. The underwriter is obligated to purchase the entire issue at a predetermined price before reselling the securities in the market. Should they not be able to find buyers, they will have to hold some securities themselves. In order to reduce the risk, they may form a syndicate with other investment banks. Each bank will buy a portion of the security issue, and typically resell securities from that portion to the public.Mishkin p. 547 Underwriters make their profit from the price difference (called " underwriting spread") between the price they pay the issuer and what they collect from buyers or from broker-dealers who buy portions of the offering. The services provided in the process of underwriting include: # Giving advice on whether to issue stocks or bonds, the timing of issuance (ideally, corporations should sell securities when they will obtain the highest possible price). Underwriters also have to determine at what price the security should be sold. # Filing documents: assisting companies with making the filings required by financial authorities. Companies issuing new securities to the general public must file a registration statement detailing their financial conditions, management, competition, industry, experience, funding purposes, and securities' risk assessment. A portion of this statement is reproduced in a document called a prospectus, which investors can access to obtain information about new securities. # Underwriting: A company sells the entire issue to the underwriter at an agreed price. The underwriter will then sell it to the public at a higher price to achieve a profit, to the extent that it does not retain part of the issue as a proprietary holding.
Risk, exclusivity, and rewardOnce the underwriting agreement is struck, the underwriter bears the risk of being unable to sell the underlying securities, and the cost of holding them on its books until such time in the future that they may be favorably sold. If the instrument is desirable, the underwriter and the securities issuer may choose to enter into an exclusivity agreement. In exchange for a higher price paid upfront to the issuer, or other favorable terms, the issuer may agree to make the underwriter the exclusive agent for the initial sale of the securities instrument. That is, even though third-party buyers might approach the issuer directly to buy, the issuer agrees to sell exclusively through the underwriter. In summary, the securities issuer gets cash up front, access to the contacts and sales channels of the underwriter, and is insulated from the market risk of being unable to sell the securities at a good price. The underwriter receives a profit from the markup, plus the possibility of an exclusive sales agreement. Also, if the securities are priced significantly below market price (as is often the custom), the underwriter also curries favor with powerful customers by granting them an immediate profit (see flipping), perhaps in a '' quid pro quo''. This practice, which is typically justified as the reward for the underwriter for taking on the market risk, is occasionally criticized as unethical, such as the allegations that investment banker Frank Quattrone acted improperly in doling out hot IPO stock during the
Bank underwritingIn banking, underwriting is the detailed credit analysis preceding the granting of a loan, based on credit information furnished by the borrower; such underwriting falls into several areas: *Consumer loan underwriting includes the verification of such items as employment history, salary and financial statements; publicly available information, such as the borrower's credit history, which is detailed in a credit report; and the lender's evaluation of the borrower's credit needs and ability to pay. Examples include mortgage underwriting. *Commercial (or business) underwriting consists of the evaluation of financial information provided by small businesses including analysis of the business balance sheet including tangible net worth, the ratio of debt to worth (leverage) and available liquidity (current ratio). Analysis of the income statement typically includes revenue trends, gross margin, profitability, and debt service coverage. Underwriting can also refer to the purchase of corporate bonds, commercial paper, government securities, municipal general-obligation bonds by a commercial bank or dealer bank for its own account or for resale to investors. Bank underwriting of corporate securities is carried out through separate holding-company affiliates, called securities affiliates or Section 20 affiliates. Of late, the discourse on underwriting has been dominated by the advent of
Continuous underwritingContinuous underwriting is the process in which the risks involved in insuring people or assets are being evaluated and analyzed on a continuous basis. It evolved from the traditional underwriting, in which the risks only get assessed before the policy is signed or renewed. Continuous underwriting was first used in workers' compensation, where the premium of the insurance was updated monthly, based on the insured’s submitted payroll. It is also used in life insurance and cyber insurance.
Real estate underwritingReal estate underwriting is the evaluation of a real estate investment, either of equity ownership or of a real estate loan. The underwriting process generally involves a detailed analysis of expected cash flows, the local market, supply and demand, and risks such as the physical state of the property, environmental or geotechnical risks, zoning, taxes, and insurance. In the evaluation of a real estate loan, lenders assess both the risk of lending to a specific borrower as well as the risk of the underlying real estate. Loan underwriters use various metrics including debt service coverage ratio, loan-to-value ratio, and debt yield ratio to assess out whether the property is capable of making debt service payments.
Forensic underwritingForensic underwriting is the "after-the-fact" process used by lenders to determine what went wrong with a mortgage. Forensic underwriting is a borrower's ability to work out a modification scenario with their current lien holder, not to qualify them for a new loan or a refinance. This is typically done by an underwriter staffed with a team of people who are experienced in every aspect of the real estate field.
Sponsorship underwritingUnderwriting may also refer to financial sponsorship of a venture, and is also used as a term within public broadcasting (both public television and radio) to describe funding given by a company or organization for the operations of the service, in exchange for a mention of their product or service within the station's programming.
Thomson Financial league tablesUnderwriting activity in the mergers and acquisitions, equity issuance, debt issuance, syndicated loans and U.S. municipal bond markets is reported in the Thomson Financial league tables.
See also* Book building * Financial roadshows * Guidewire Software * Predictive analytics * Underwriting contract