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Bonds and their variants such as loan notes, debentures and loan stock, are IOUs issued by governments and corporations as a means of raising finance. They are often referred to as fixed income or fixed interest securities, to distinguish them from equities, in that they often (but not always) make known returns for the investors (the bond holders) at regular intervals. These interest payments, paid as bond coupons, are fixed, unlike dividends paid on equities, which can be variable. Most corporate bonds are redeemable after a specified period of time. Thus, a 'plain vanilla' bond will make regular interest payments to the investors and pay the capital to buy back the bond on the redemption date when it reaches maturity.