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When Issued (WI)


“When Issued” (WI) is a term used in finance to refer to a transaction that is made conditionally, because a security has been authorized, but not yet issued. The WI period usually lasts for a few weeks before the issuance of a new security, such as bonds or stocks. This allows investors to start trading the security even before they actually own it.


The phonetic pronunciation of “When Issued (WI)” is: Wen Ih-shood (W-I)

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>When Issued (WI) refers to a transaction made for securities that have been authorized but not yet issued. Thus, these transactions are conditional and will fully execute once the securities are issued officially.</li><br><li>WI trading is typically initiated by the issuer to gauge market demand before the actual release of securities. It helps in setting reasonable and profitable prices for the securities as it gives a clear picture of the investment sentiments in the market.</li><br> <li>The WI trading period begins when the security’s offering is announced and ends when the security is issued. Despite the transactions happening before the issuance of the securities, the buyers must pay for when issued securities at the registry date or settlement date.</li></ol>


The “When Issued” (WI) term in business/finance is significant primarily because it creates an efficient, functional market for securities that have been authorized but not yet issued. WI trading occurs between the time a security has been announced for issuance and the time it is actually issued. This allows potential investors to begin trading the security ahead of its issuance. By doing this, companies can assess the market’s response, which can help them set a more accurate price for the security during the issuance. Furthermore, it aids investors by providing clues about the future supply and demand of the security, allowing them to make better-informed trading decisions. Overall, WI trading accelerates and improves the price discovery process while mitigating risk for market participants.


The term “When Issued” (WI) is traditionally used in the realm of financial markets to denote a conditional transaction in securities that have been authorized but not yet issued. The main purpose of this term is to allow potential buyers and sellers of these not-yet-issued securities the opportunity to negotiate and transact on an “if-come” basis. This essentially means that the transactions will be executed once the securities are actually issued. This mechanism serves as a way to invoke a smoother transition of trading upon the actual issuance of the securities.Concretely, the WI trading process aids in understanding market demand, setting realistic prices, and stabilizing the price of a security even before it hits the market. It enables traders to estimate how the security will perform once it is issued, allowing them to make informed decisions. For issuers, this gives them an insight into the eventual market reception of their offering. Overall, the WI mechanism is a crucial part of both debt and equity markets, providing a window of opportunity for buyers, sellers, and issuers to gauge and respond to market conditions efficiently.


1. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): During an IPO, a company decides to go public and offer its shares to investors for the first time. Prior to the actual date of the IPO, these shares are typically traded on a “when issued” basis where investors can express interest to buy or sell the shares before they are issued. For example, when Alibaba Group decided to go public in 2014, there was significant interest in its shares on a “when issued” basis, before the actual IPO date.2. Government and Municipal Bonds: Governments and municipalities often issue bonds to fund various projects. These bonds are typically available for trading on a “when issued” basis before their official issue date. For example, if the city of Los Angeles decides to issue bonds to fund the construction of a new airport, these bonds may be traded on a “when issued” basis before the construction starts.3. Spinoffs and Mergers: When a company decides to spin off a part of its business as a separate entity, the shares of this new entity may be traded on a “when issued” basis, before the spin-off actually happens. An example is when eBay decided to spin off PayPal in 2015. Before the actual spin-off, shares in PayPal were traded on a “when issued” basis. Similarly, in mergers and acquisitions, the shares of the acquiring or the merged company may be traded on a “when issued” basis.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does When Issued or WI mean in finance and business term?

When Issued or WI is a term used in finance to denote a transaction made conditionally because a security has been authorized but not yet issued.

When are When Issued transactions typically conducted?

When Issued transactions are typically conducted before a rights offering, a split, or a Treasury securities auction in the secondary market.

Why is When Issued trading done?

When Issued trading allows investors to begin trading securities before they are issued, which can help to create a market and determine a fair level of interest in the securities.

In which markets can When Issued securities be traded?

When Issued securities can be traded in markets, including secondary markets, after they have been authorized but before they have been issued.

Are When Issued transactions finalized immediately?

No, When Issued transactions are completed once the security is issued. However, the trade is agreed upon and the price is fixed in advance.

How are When Issued transactions influenced by fluctuations in market conditions?

When Issued prices can be significantly influenced by fluctuations in market conditions between the time the transaction is agreed upon and the time the security is finally issued.

Is the When Issued a definitive or an estimated price?

The When Issued price is typically estimated based on market conditions and could change before the final issuance of the security.

Related Finance Terms

  • Settlement Date: The date on which a transaction (such as the sale or purchase of securities) is final, and the buyer pays the seller. This is the date when a When Issued (WI) security is delivered and payment is made.
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): The process by which a private company becomes publicly traded by issuing shares. The shares may be initially listed as WI until they are fully available for trading.
  • Securities Market: The marketplace for trading securities such as bonds, stocks, and futures. WI securities are commonly dealt within this marketplace before they are officially issued.
  • Trading Volume: This refers to the quantity of shares or contracts traded in a security or market during a given period, often used in reference to WI securities.
  • Dividends: These are sums of money paid regularly by a company to its shareholders out of its profits or reserves. Companies may announce a WI dividend before the ex-dividend date, calculated in the stock price until the date of issue.

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