A capital market is a market for securities (debt or equity), where business enterprises (companies) and governments can raise long-term funds. It is defined as a market in which money is provided for periods longer than a year, as the raising of short-term funds takes place on other markets (e.g., the money market). The capital market includes the stock market (equity securities) and the bond market (debt). Financial regulators, such as the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), oversee the capital markets in their designated jurisdictions to ensure that investors are protected against fraud, among other duties.
Capital markets may be classified as primary markets and secondary markets. In primary markets, new stock or bond issues are sold to investors via a mechanism known as underwriting. In the secondary markets, existing securities are sold and bought among investors or traders, usually on a securities exchange, over-the-counter, or elsewhere.