Floating Rate Note (FRN)


When it comes to investing, there are a plethora of options available to individuals looking to grow their wealth. One such option is a Floating Rate Note (FRN), a type of bond that offers investors a unique set of benefits. In this article, we will explore what FRNs are, how they work, and why they can be a valuable addition to an investment portfolio.

What is a Floating Rate Note?

A Floating Rate Note, also known as a floater, is a type of bond that has a variable interest rate. Unlike traditional fixed-rate bonds, the interest rate on an FRN is not fixed for the entire duration of the bond. Instead, it is tied to a benchmark interest rate, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) or the U.S. Treasury Bill rate.

FRNs are typically issued by governments, corporations, and financial institutions as a way to raise capital. They are often used to finance large projects or to manage short-term funding needs. Investors who purchase FRNs are essentially lending money to the issuer in exchange for regular interest payments and the return of the principal amount at maturity.

How do Floating Rate Notes Work?

FRNs have a unique structure that allows their interest rates to adjust periodically based on changes in the benchmark rate. The interest payments on an FRN are typically made quarterly or semi-annually, and the interest rate is calculated by adding a spread or margin to the benchmark rate.

For example, let's say an FRN has a benchmark rate of LIBOR + 1%. If LIBOR is currently 2%, the interest rate on the FRN would be 3%. If LIBOR increases to 3%, the interest rate on the FRN would adjust to 4%. This feature allows FRNs to provide investors with protection against rising interest rates.

FRNs also have a maturity date, which is the date on which the issuer is obligated to repay the principal amount to the investor. The maturity period for FRNs can range from a few months to several years, depending on the issuer's needs.

Benefits of Investing in Floating Rate Notes

Investing in FRNs can offer several benefits to investors, including:

  • Protection against rising interest rates: As mentioned earlier, FRNs have a variable interest rate that adjusts with changes in the benchmark rate. This means that if interest rates rise, the interest payments on an FRN will also increase, providing investors with a higher yield.
  • Lower interest rate risk: Since the interest rate on an FRN is not fixed, the price of the bond is less sensitive to changes in interest rates compared to fixed-rate bonds. This can help mitigate the risk of capital losses in a rising interest rate environment.
  • Regular income: FRNs typically pay interest to investors on a regular basis, providing a steady stream of income. This can be particularly attractive for income-focused investors who rely on regular cash flow.
  • Diversification: Including FRNs in an investment portfolio can help diversify risk. By adding an asset class that behaves differently from traditional fixed-rate bonds, investors can potentially reduce the overall volatility of their portfolio.

Case Study: Floating Rate Notes in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

To illustrate the benefits of investing in FRNs, let's consider a hypothetical scenario in which interest rates are expected to rise. Suppose an investor holds both fixed-rate bonds and FRNs in their portfolio.

If interest rates increase, the value of the fixed-rate bonds will decline, as their fixed interest payments become less attractive compared to the higher prevailing rates. On the other hand, the interest payments on the FRNs will increase, providing the investor with a higher yield and potentially offsetting any losses from the fixed-rate bonds.

This example highlights how FRNs can act as a hedge against rising interest rates and help protect the overall value of an investment portfolio.

Considerations for Investing in Floating Rate Notes

While FRNs offer several benefits, there are a few considerations investors should keep in mind:

  • Issuer credit risk: As with any bond investment, there is a risk that the issuer may default on their payments. It is important to assess the creditworthiness of the issuer before investing in an FRN.
  • Liquidity: FRNs may not be as liquid as other fixed-income securities, especially if they are issued by smaller companies or less well-known entities. This could make it more difficult to buy or sell FRNs at desired prices.
  • Market conditions: The performance of FRNs can be influenced by market conditions, such as changes in interest rates or economic indicators. Investors should stay informed about these factors and their potential impact on FRN prices.


Floating Rate Notes (FRNs) are a type of bond that offer investors a variable interest rate tied to a benchmark rate. They provide protection against rising interest rates, lower interest rate risk, regular income, and diversification benefits. Investing in FRNs can be particularly advantageous in a rising interest rate environment, as they can act as a hedge against declining fixed-rate bond values. However, investors should carefully consider issuer credit risk, liquidity, and market conditions before investing in FRNs. By understanding the unique features and benefits of FRNs, investors can make informed decisions and potentially enhance their investment portfolios.

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