Definitions (3)
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1. General: Entity who (1) is in the business of evaluating and taking over other people's risk for a fee variously called a commission, interest, premium, or underwriting spread, or (2) sponsors an event or program by paying all or part of the associated expenses in return for publicity or its name, message, and/or product.
2. Insurance: Qualified individual who evaluates an insurance proposal to assess the kind and degree of risk involved. He or she then determines how much premium should be charged for protecting the applicant against losses that may arise from the risk.
3. Securities trading: Person or firm that buys a new issue of bonds or an initial public offering (usually as a syndicate with other underwriters) for reselling it to the public at a profit.
In the UK practice, the underwriters normally do not purchase the shares unless a buyer has been found. In the US practice, they normally purchase part or whole of issue and then offer it to the public.

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