U.S. security laws define and separate the private capital markets from public capital markets in the United States. Because of the comparative lack of data about the private capital markets, compared to public capital markets, there is less written about them. The general impression is that the private capital markets are distinctly different from the public capital markets. In reality, however, the public and private capital markets are the two components of the general capital market, operating parallel. Both markets have issuers, investors, and intermediaries. Many of these overlap markets. Issuers use one or the other depending on where they are in their corporate development and where funds are least expensive to obtain. Investors participate in one or the other of the two markets depending on their liquidity and return needs. Intermediaries serve and participate in each market depending on the opportunity. The most significant difference between the private and public capital market is the relatively illiquid nature of securities issued in the private market because of their unregistered status and the consequent higher return demanded from them by investors.