Securities Definition

A generic term for shares of stock, bonds, and debentures issued by corporations and governments to evidence ownership and terms of payment of dividends or final payoff. They are called securities because the assets or profits of the corporation or the credit of the government stand as security for payment. However, unlike secured transactions in which specific property is pledged, securities are only as good as the future profitability of the corporation or the management of the governmental agency. Most securities are traded on various stock or bond markets.