Browse Analysis of Managed and Structured Products

22.5.2 Business Trusts

An in-depth guide on business trusts, including their structure, benefits, examples of types of business trusts, and inherent risks.


Business trusts are as varied as the types of companies listed on a stock exchange. This category includes examples of companies with strong, stable earnings but limited growth potential. Management uses the income trust structure to make investments in such companies more attractive compared to common share initial public offerings (IPOs).

Income trusts work best in markets where new competitors are unlikely to emerge. The ideal candidate is a monopoly, a quasi-monopoly, or a company operating in a protected niche.

Types of Business Trusts

The following types of businesses are examples of diverse holdings within business trusts:

  • Forest products
  • Storage facilities
  • Natural gas processing
  • Restaurants and food distributors
  • Fish processing and sardine canning
  • Aircraft parts, industrial washing machines, and biotechnology

Risks of Business Trusts

It is challenging to generalize the risks of business trusts due to the diversity of underlying businesses. However, they are subject to similar risks as fixed-income securities and equity securities.

  1. Interest Rate Risk: Like fixed-income securities, business trusts are affected by changes in interest rates.
  2. Market and Economic Risk: Business trusts are not immune to market volatility and economic downturns. While their underlying assets tend to provide regular, stable income, they still face market risk.
  3. Operational Risk: Depending on the operational performance of the underlying business, income distributions might vary.

Stability Comparison

Business trusts tend to be more stable than the equity market because the underlying business assets provide regular, stable income. However, they remain subject to market and economic risks.


What are the main benefits of investing in a business trust?

The primary benefits are the regular, stable income generated by the underlying assets, and the typically lower volatility compared to common equities.

Are business trusts a good investment for risk-averse investors?

Business trusts may be suitable for risk-averse investors due to their stable income streams and lower volatility compared to equities. However, potential investors should still consider the operational and market risks.

Key Takeaways

  • Business trusts involve companies with stable earnings but limited growth potential.
  • They are suited for monopolistic or niche markets with low competition risks.
  • Risks include interest rate risk, market, economic risk, and operational performance risk.
  • Income stability makes them attractive for those looking for regular income.


Income Trust: A type of investment trust that holds income-producing assets such as real estate or business revenues, paying out regular income to the unit-holders.

Monopoly: A market structure where a single seller dominates the market with no close substitutes for the product.

Quasi-Monopoly: A scenario where a market is significantly controlled by a few companies, resembling monopoly characteristics.

Interest Rate Risk: The potential for investment losses due to fluctuations in interest rates.


    graph TB
	    A[Business Trusts] --> B{Types}
	    B --> C[Forest Products]
	    B --> D[Storage Facilities]
	    B --> E[Natural Gas Processing]
	    B --> F[Restaurants and Food Distributors]
	    B --> G[Fish Processing and Sardine Canning]
	    B --> H[Miscellaneous e.g., Aircraft Parts and Biotechnology]
    graph LR
	    A[Business Trusts Risks] --> B(Interest Rate Risk)
	    A --> C(Market and Economic Risk)
	    A --> D(Operational Risk)

CSC® Exams Practice Questions

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Welcome to the Knowledge Checkpoint! You'll find 10 carefully curated CSC exam practice questions designed to reinforce the key concepts covered. These questions will help you gauge your grasp of the material, identify areas that need further review, and ensure you're on the right track towards mastering the content for the Canadian Securities certification exams. Take your time, think critically, and use these quizzes as a tool to enhance your learning journey. 📘✨

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## What is a key reason management might prefer using an income trust structure? - [ ] To allow for higher volatility - [x] To make investment in companies with strong, stable earnings more attractive - [ ] To increase the growth potential of the company - [ ] To ensure the company can always issue new shares > **Explanation:** Management uses the income trust structure to make investment in companies with strong, stable earnings more attractive, even if they have little growth potential. ## In which type of market do income trusts work best? - [ ] Highly competitive markets - [x] Markets where new competitors are unlikely to appear - [ ] Markets with high volatility - [ ] Markets with high inflation rates > **Explanation:** Income trusts work best in markets where new competitors are unlikely to spring up, ideally in monopolies, quasi-monopolies, or protected niches. ## Which of the following businesses is NOT mentioned as an example of a business trust? - [ ] Forest products - [ ] Storage facilities - [ ] Restaurants and food distributors - [x] Software development - [ ] Fish processing and sardine canning > **Explanation:** Software development is not mentioned as an example of a business trust. The other options are listed examples. ## What makes business trusts generally more stable than the equity market? - [ ] Higher growth potential - [ ] Increased competition - [x] Regular, stable income from underlying business assets - [ ] The ability to issue common shares > **Explanation:** Business trusts tend to be more stable than the equity market because the income generated from the underlying business assets provides regular, stable income. ## Which of the following risks do business trusts share with fixed-income securities? - [ ] Liquidity risk - [x] Interest rate risk - [ ] Credit risk - [ ] Growth risk > **Explanation:** Business trusts are subject to the same interest rate risk as fixed-income securities. ## Which industry among the following is an example of diverse holdings of a business trust? - [ ] Telecommunications - [x] Natural gas processing - [ ] Automobiles - [ ] Online retail > **Explanation:** Natural gas processing is an example of a diverse holding of business trusts, among others like forest products and storage facilities. ## What type of risk are business trusts subject to besides interest rate risk? - [ ] Only risk associated with fixed-income securities - [ ] Only risk associated with equity securities - [ ] Only liquidity risk - [x] Market and economic risk > **Explanation:** Business trusts are subject to the same market and economic risk as equity securities. ## Which characteristic would be IDEAL for a company to be a part of an income trust? - [x] Operating in a protected niche - [ ] High volatility - [ ] Potential for rapid technological innovation - [ ] Frequent issuance of new shares > **Explanation:** The ideal company for an income trust operates in a protected niche with limited new competitors. ## Airlines fall under which category of business for business trusts? - [ ] Forest products - [ ] Storage facilities - [ ] Natural gas processing - [ ] None of the above > **Explanation:** Airlines or aircraft parts are mentioned but do not fall into the provided options. Hence, the correct answer is none of the above. ## What is a common feature of companies that might use a business trust structure? - [x] Strong, stable earnings with little growth potential - [ ] High potential for rapid expansion - [ ] Constant need for new market entry - [ ] Heavy reliance on issuing new shares > **Explanation:** Companies with strong, stable earnings but little growth potential are typical candidates for using an income trust structure.

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Sunday, July 21, 2024