What Are Capital Markets?

Understanding financial systems is crucial for anyone looking to make informed investment decisions. And today, I' would like to help demystify the topic of "capital markets" for you. Not only can a solid understanding of the financial eco-system help you make better investment decisions, but it can also empower you to create a more secure financial future for yourself, your family or your business.

The word "capital" in finance is anything that gives value, like a house, a car, money used to invest, and even intellectual property. Now, what do you think of when you hear the word "market"? You probably picture a place, a bazaar of some kind, where goods are bought and sold, right? Well, a capital market is comparable. Capital markets are financial markets where buyers and sellers come together to trade stocks, bonds, currencies, and other financial assets. These markets are important because they provide a way for businesses and individuals to access the capital they need to grow and expand as well as providing investment options for those with excess capital to deploy. The most popular types of capital markets are the stock market and the bond market.

In addition to giving people with business ideas the ability to become formidable entrepreneurs and helping small businesses grow into big companies, capital markets give everyday people the opportunities needed to save and invest for the future. You can see why this is a term every potential investor and individual interested in wealth generation needs to understand. Knowledge about capital markets sets the stage for every investment decision you may want to make.

Why are they important?

Let's say you're a talented baker. People always rave about your baked goods that you would do as a side hustle. They're great, and soon you're the next big dessert trend. Before you know it, your side hustle becomes your new 9-5. A year later, you can't fill the orders fast enough and you've even expanded your delicious product line. The business is growing rapidly because of advertising and word of mouth, and more staff is needed, more suppliers, more everything. But you don't have the money to do it all just now.

This is where the capital markets will come in. Your business plan and market tests indicate that, all things being equal, in another year or two, the business is set to make five times more than you're making now. Can you find a private or seed investor who's willing to put up some capital in your business for ownership equity in it? Also known as angel investors, these are high-net-worth individuals who will provide financial backing for small start-ups or small entrepreneurs.

For small businesses, capital markets offer a way to access funding from private investors. These investments can provide the cash needed to expand operations, hire new staff, and invest in new equipment.

Medium-sized businesses can also access funding through IPOs, which allow them to raise money by selling shares of their company to the public. On the other hand, businesses that are looking to expand can also issue bonds, which are loans that investors make to the company. Unlike shareholders, bondholders receive interest payments and are repaid the loan at a specified time in the future.

Overall, capital markets are important because they provide a reliable source of cash or liquidity that helps businesses grow and create jobs. By providing a way for businesses and individuals to access the capital they need, capital markets help to strengthen the economy and generate wealth for both the business owners and the economy as a whole.

The bottom line

Healthy capital markets are extremely important in modern society as they provide viable options for business owners to not only bring their business ideas to life but to also expand on their businesses, making them bigger, more successful companies, without being forced to wait until they have saved up enough cash to reinvest. By providing a reliable source of cash or liquidity, capital markets help generate wealth for the business owner but also help to strengthen the economy by creating new jobs. Capital markets are key because they provide money from the people who have it to the people who need it and will put it to good productive use.

Nadine Thomas, assistant vice-president — Private Wealth, NCB Capital Markets Limited (Photo: Paul Mullings)
Nadine Thomas

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy