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An exploration of secondary market

Navigating the intricate financial ecosystem requires you to grasp the various marketplaces facilitating the exchange of financial assets. By comprehending how the various markets operate, you can take steps to seize emerging opportunities. 

As most of us know, the basic trading market is called the secondary market. Let us understand the meaning of the secondary market, its crucial concepts, key components, and opportunities. 

Defining secondary market

Money market and the Capital market are the two types of financial markets. The capital market can be divided further into two markets – primary and secondary markets. 

The secondary capital market is where existing financial assets, like shares, bonds, commodities, and other assets, are traded by investors. It focuses on the exchange of existing securities, unlike the primary market.

Majority of the trading is done in the secondary market and therefore, it serves as a controlling line as they aggregate information via price discovery.

Key components of the secondary market

  • Stock Exchanges – central hubs: Stock exchanges are the central and regulated platforms operating online/offline where the trading of securities takes place.
    In India, the primary stock exchanges facilitating online trading for numerous securities include the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
  • Stockbrokers – facilitators: In the organised environment of the secondary market, buyers and sellers can interact through stockbrokers only.
    They are the registered members of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and stock exchanges to execute trades.
    A few renowned names in the brokerage industry are Motilal Oswal, ICICI Direct, Bajaj Financial Securities, and numerous others.
  • SEBI – the regulator: SEBI is the governing body in the Indian financial markets. It formulates policies for market regulation and monitors activities on online platforms to protect investors’ interests and maintain transparency in trading activities.

Types of the secondary market

  • Auction market: In an auction-based secondary market, securities are traded at a centralised platform called a stock exchange. They place orders online through registered stock brokers.
  • OTC market: There is no role of centralised or regulated stock exchanges as securities are traded directly between buyers and sellers. Typically, institutional investors consider this type of market.

Primary Market vs. Secondary Market

AspectsPrimary market Secondary market
PurposeFundraising through the first issueTrading securities and providing liquidity to investors
Price DeterminationIPO issuer company and merchant bankersPrimarily supply and demand forces of securities
IntermediariesMerchant Bankers and Registrar and Transfer Agents (RTAs)SEBI-registered stockbrokers

Role of secondary market in trading

  • Smooth trading after the initial sale of shares 

After securities are issued in the primary market, they can be available for trading in the secondary market. It provides a well-organised mechanism for trading activities after the initial issuance.

  • Creating opportunities

The secondary market creates opportunities for investors, as they can invest in various types of securities. It makes it easy for sellers to liquidate their investments and access funds when needed.

  • Liquidity

Liquidity is a fundamental concept in trading that defines how easily individuals can convert their securities into cash with minimal impact on their market price. It plays a crucial role in enhancing liquidity by providing a platform for easy trading.

  • Contributing to market efficiency

In this market, prices are adjusted swiftly based on the latest information and supply and demand for security, ensuring that the securities are valued accurately.
The information that impacts security prices can be companies’ earning reports, market sentiment, economic factors, geopolitical events, etc. 

How to trade in the secondary market?

You need to sign up with a registered stock broker to access its trading platform linked to multiple stock exchanges.

  • Demat account: It is an online account to be opened in the name of the investor with a SEBI-registered stock broker. This account is required to hold securities electronically and safely.
  • Trading account: It is another online account one needs with a SEBI-registered stock broker for online trading. It allows the account holder to access the broker’s trading platform.
  • Bank account: Investors need a bank account in their name to pay or receive funds electronically on account of securities trading.


Arm yourself with a deeper understanding of secondary market concepts to navigate the complexities of online trading. Look at the interplay of supply and demand impacting security prices and learn the balancing act of risk and reward in the secondary market.


What is the secondary market for government securities?

Government securities are traded on secondary markets after their issuance or sale on main markets. A secondary market that is liquid is crucial for the orderly funding of government finance obligations since it is a significant source of price signals.

What is the secondary stock market example?

Think of stock exchanges as the secondary market, where investors purchase and sell shares from one another. If you were interested in buying Apple stock, for instance, you would buy it from investors rather than Apple. Apple would not be part of this transaction.

Is IPO a secondary or primary?

IPO is a primary market as the issuer offers its shares to the public for the first time and receives the profits. When stock is being offered to the general public but has previously been held by someone other than the issuer, this is known as a secondary distribution.

Can I sell my shares on a secondary market?

In a nutshell, the answer is yes. You may list and sell your private shares on secondary markets, should someone be interested in purchasing them. Secondary markets are a potential alternative that might be excellent for situations in which you want cash immediately.

Is NSE a secondary market?

Secondary markets include the bond markets, the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), and all other stock exchanges. On the other hand, in the primary market, a company offers its first-ever securities to the general public through an IPO.

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