A held-to-maturity investment is a nonderivative financial asset that has either fixed or determinable payments and a fixed maturity, and for which an entity has both the ability and the intention to hold to maturity. The held to maturity classification does not include financial assets that the entity designates as being at fair value through profit or loss, as available for sale, or as loans or receivables. The most common held-to-maturity securities are bonds and other debt securities. Common stock and preferred stock are not classified as held-to-maturity securities, since they have no maturity dates, and so cannot be held to maturity.
An entity cannot classify any financial assets as held to maturity if it has sold or reclassified more than an insignificant amount of held-to-maturity investments before maturity during the current fiscal year or the two preceding years. In essence, the assumption is that such an organization is incapable of holding an investment to its maturity date. This restriction does not include reclassifications that were so close to maturity or the asset's call date that changes in the market interest rate would not have significantly impacted the asset's fair value, or those for which the entity had already collected substantially all of the original principal, or those caused by an isolated event beyond the entity's control.
The cost of a held to maturity investment is not adjusted to fair value during the holding period; there is no point in doing so, since (as the name implies) the holder intends to retain ownership until the maturity date of the investment, at which point the face value of the investment will be redeemed.
The explanations and rules noted here are described within the International Financial Reporting Standards framework.
A held-to-maturity investment is also known as a held-to-maturity security.