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StructuredProductReview.com takes a very active role in encouraging and working with the industry, including the UK Structured Product Association, to support Professional Adviser use of structured products.

Integral to this is being at the forefront of non-sales-driven industry educational material.

In addition to being involved with industry initiatives and events, StructuredProductReview.com is pleased to provide an access point 'library' of educational materials, presentations, videos, regulatory information etc. to assist Professional Advisers.

The following links provide various industry guides to structured products – covering both general and specific issues, including information about how they work and are constructed, the benefits and advantages they can offer, as well as the risks and aspects that need to be appropriately understood and considered by Professional Advisers and investors.

There are a number of straightforward and informative industry guides that give clear and accessible information about the UK retail structured product market. A selection of these are provided below.

Lowes Articles

StructuredProductReview.com provides various articles regarding structured products, generally written specifically for StructuredProduct.Review.com users by industry experts. These articles are always non sales-driven and for information purposes only. The provision of these articles does not indicate or imply that StructuredProductReview.com sanctions, endorses or necessarily agrees with the content of the articles.

Date Title Author
29-10-2014 Bullish or Bearish or just not sure? Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Read
22-10-2014 Platform & Structured Products Survey Results StructuredProductReview.com Read
21-10-2014 Structured products that matured in the third quarter returned 7.6% a year Ian Lowes, founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
15-10-2014 Have platforms missed the train on structured products? By Ian Lowes, founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
08-10-2014 Structured products: Following the market Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
01-10-2014 Counterparty Risk: Striking the Balance Marc Chamberlain, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Read
24-09-2014 Happy with another 50% gain Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
17-09-2014 Structured deposits as an alternative to savings accounts Christian Gardner, StructuredProductReview.com Read
10-09-2014 Why structured products are key to the diversification equation Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
03-09-2014 Constructing a mini portfolio of FTSE 100 linked structured products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
27-08-2014 Demand Solutions In Short Supply Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy at Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
13-08-2014 Volatility versus risk Eve Berlinska, StructuredProductReview.com Read
06-08-2014 Q&As with Eve Berlinska Eve Berlinska, StructuredProductReview.com Read
30-07-2014 Q&As with Thomas Hughes Thomas Hughes, Retiring Operations Manager for StructuredProductReview.com Read
23-07-2014 5 X Leverage – sane or insane? Joseph Halpern, CEO, Exceed Investments Read
16-07-2014 No need for the FTSE 100 to break the 6,900 barrier to produce returns for investors Rob Kingsbury, financial services editor and investment writer Read
09-07-2014 How to create a portfolio of structured products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
02-07-2014 StructuredProductReview.com playing FIDO Thomas Hughes, StructuredProductReview.com Read
30-06-2014 Using structured investments in an offshore bond for tax planning Mark Tully, Head of Structured Solutions at Skandia Read
18-06-2014 Understanding Central Bank Action Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy at Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
11-06-2014 Responding to Criticisms Thomas Hughes, StructuredProductReview.com Read
04-06-2014 Structured Products: the Rocks of Ages Past? George Lucas, Managing Director, Instreet Investment Read
27-05-2014 If it’s good enough for Warren Buffet’s wife… Rob Kingsbury, financial services editor and investment writer Read
21-05-2014 European Equity Markets Assessed Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy at Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
14-05-2014 Performance Review Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
07-05-2014 Revolution or Evolution? Thomas Hughes, StructuredProductReview.com Read
30-04-2014 Revisiting Structured Education Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
22-04-2014 Can both the bank and the customer win on the same Structured Notes? Joseph Halpern, CEO Exceed Investments Read
16-04-2014 Welcome to World of Complex Financial Products George Lucas, Managing Director, Instreet Investment Read
09-04-2014 Why tapering will lead US risk assets lower Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy, Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
02-04-2014 When investing in structured products, don't forget to diversify StructuredProductReview.com Read
26-03-2014 Japan's 'new normal' gathers pace Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy, Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
19-03-2014 Structured products: Why rate expectations are the key to pricing Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
12-03-2014 What dividends really mean for structured product investors Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
26-02-2014 A Touch of Reality David Northrop, Managing Director, SIP Nordic UK Ltd. Read
19-02-2014 Mythbuster: The banks do not “steal” the dividend in Structured Notes Joseph Halpern, CEO Exceed Investments Read
12-02-2014 Positive Start StructuredProductReview.com Read
05-02-2014 The Major USP of ‘Investing by Contract’ … and the derivatives red-herring Chris Taylor of The Investment Bridge Read
29-01-2014 Deflation risks in Europe Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy, Mariana Capital Markets LLP Read
22-01-2014 Using Shares in Structures Graham Devile, Managing Director, Meteor Asset Management Read
15-01-2014 Structured products and counterparty risk explained Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
08-01-2014 The deposit conundrum James Harrington, Red River Insight Limited Read
11-12-2013 Back to the Future Christian Gardner, Investment Analyst for StructuredProductReview.com Read
04-12-2013 Just how confident should investors in Structured Products be? Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
27-11-2013 The case for multiple underlyings Adrian Neave, Managing Director, Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
20-11-2013 Future uncertainty and structured products Tony King, Partner at Mariana Capital Read
13-11-2013 Balancing headline rates with counterparty risk Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
06-11-2013 Post-Lehmans: How the structured products market has come of age Tony King, Partner at Mariana Capital Read
30-10-2013 A Sisyphean task? Thomas Hughes, Operations Manager at StructuredProductReview.com Read
23-10-2013 Geared for growth Rob Kingsbury, Editor of Protected Product Review Read
16-10-2013 When 1 became 2 Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
09-10-2013 A brighter future? Christian Gardner, Investment Analyst for StructuredProductReview.com Read
02-10-2013 Real investing for todays investor Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
25-09-2013 Balancing Income and Risk Chetun Patel, Head of Strategy, Mariana Capital Read
18-09-2013 Making structured products the core of a portfolio Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
11-09-2013 Awards only work with user input Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
04-09-2013 A birthday retrospective look forward Adrian Neave, Managing Director, Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
21-08-2013 The dangers of generalising Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
14-08-2013 Blended Portfolio of Structured Products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
07-08-2013 Innovation! Innovation! Where for art thou my sweet Innovation? Chris Taylor, Managing Director of the Investment Bridge Read
31-07-2013 Its Only and Excuse Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
24-07-2013 Now we really are in it together... Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
17-07-2013 Blending a mini-portfolio of structured products can help clients tackle the current pricing environment Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
10-07-2013 Spring 2013 Survey Results StructuredProductReview.com Read
03-07-2013 Constructing a Kick Out plan Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
26-06-2013 On the Defensive David Stuff, Business Development Director at Meteor Asset Management Read
19-06-2013 Is there any value in structured products? Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
12-06-2013 Lifting the bonnet on structured product design Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
05-06-2013 The impact of Funding for lending on structured products James Harrington, Head of Investment Implementation at Legal & General Read
22-05-2013 Dispelling myths about structured products Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
15-05-2013 Back to the future.... Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
08-05-2013 Reykers Administration of Structured Products - Looking at the FSCS Issue Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
01-05-2013 A recent loss within my portfolio Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
24-04-2013 Five ways advisers can gain from new-wave structured products Marc Chamberlain, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Read
17-04-2013 Commentary on Martin Wheatleys recent speech at the London School of Economics Chris Taylor, Managing Director of the Investment Bridge Read
10-04-2013 The increasing incidence of products with underlyings based on multi index and baskets of stocks Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
03-04-2013 Structured Products - A useful tool for many Graham Deville, Managing Director of Meteor Asset Management Read
27-03-2013 Not what Sir Winston had in mind... Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
20-03-2013 Currently available defensive strategy auto-call structured products Christian Gardner, Investment Analyst at StructuredProductReview.com Read
13-03-2013 Investment suitability post RDR - advising from a broader range of products Chris Taylor, Managing Director of the Investment Bridge Read
06-03-2013 When is a Structured Product not a Structured Product? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
27-02-2013 New energy and new entrants for the structured investment market Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
20-02-2013 Morgan Stanley Returns Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
13-02-2013 Structured Products. So whats changed post RDR? Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
06-02-2013 Defensive Structures and when to employ them Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
30-01-2013 Derivatives = Risk = Complexity Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
23-01-2013 2013: A time to look at Structured Deposits Jonathan Banks Structured Products Manager at Cater Allen Bank Read
16-01-2013 Ongoing Education Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
09-01-2013 Plans in the new RDR World Christian Gardner, Investment Analyst at StructuredProductReview.com Read
19-12-2012 Structured Product Education Mark James, Head of Distribution at SPwrap.com Read
12-12-2012 Investec Structured Products - No need to cut corners Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
05-12-2012 Advisers in the Current Climate Mark James, Head of Distribution at SPwrap.com Read
28-11-2012 Is it time to consider selling Barclays 2009 Target Growth Plans? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
21-11-2012 Lessons from Behavioural Finance and Structured Investments James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
14-11-2012 Choosing the right charging structure post RDR Jonathan Banks Structured Products Manager at Cater Allen Bank Read
07-11-2012 The FSA ‘rule’ that never was Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
31-10-2012 UK Structured Products Conferences 2012 – Partnership and Progress Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
24-10-2012 Technical structured product education for IFAs T.M. Mortimer, Managing Director, Future Value Consultants Read
17-10-2012 UK Structured Products Association (UK SPA) Conferences James Harrington, Head of Investment Implementation at Legal & General Read
10-10-2012 Structured Products - A useful tool in turbulent times? Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
03-10-2012 UK Structured Products Conferences October 2012 Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
26-09-2012 A Case for Cash Jonathan Banks Structured Products Manager at Cater Allen Bank Read
19-09-2012 Time to strip away the stereotypes Julie Robson, StructuredProductReview.com Read
12-09-2012 FSA to ban retail promotion of UCIS … and that’s all Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
29-08-2012 An appeal for moderate commenators Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
22-08-2012 Behavioural Biases, Investment Decisions and Structured Investments James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
15-08-2012 Using averaging within structured products Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
08-08-2012 Clash of the Titans - Active Management vs Structured Products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
01-08-2012 Evolution of the Structured Product Market: From FTSE to Beyond Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
25-07-2012 Structured Investments Presentation Chris Taylor, Founder and Chief Executive of The Investment Bridge Read
18-07-2012 Packaged Retail Investment Products should be a fresh start – not just papering over the cracks Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
11-07-2012 What if…? Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
04-07-2012 The derivative red herring Adrian van den Bok, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Structured Investment Group Read
27-06-2012 Accessible and safe options to traditional and alternative investing Fernando Gasca, Cater Allen Private Bank Read
20-06-2012 Structured Products: Not so much of a mystery Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
13-06-2012 First move by Investec demonstrates how structured products will be enhanced in a fee based world Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
06-06-2012 Structured Products are Number 1, but youd never know Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
30-05-2012 Irrational Markets – Rethinking Portfolio Construction For Private Investors James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
23-05-2012 Credit Default Swaps Christian Gardner, Investment Analyst at StructuredProductReview.com Read
16-05-2012 Making the Most Out of the Current Climate Fernando Gasca, Cater Allen Private Bank Read
09-05-2012 The Retirement Challenge: Create further wealth but protect capital Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
02-05-2012 How to find value in low volatility investment conditions Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
25-04-2012 Defensive Products: Is it worth giving up the extra kick?, Nev Godley, Vice President of Morgan Stanley Read
18-04-2012 Reaction to the FSA’s Finalised Guidance on structured products Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
11-04-2012 A Guide to Comparing Auto-call Structured Products StructuredProductReview.com Read
04-04-2012 Alternative Delivery Mechanisms Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
28-03-2012 The ISA Campaign: Using Structured Deposits as a Source of Smart Beta Fernando Gasca, Cater Allen Private Bank Read
22-03-2012 Structured Products: How and why are new ones created? Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
14-03-2012 Incapital Structured Investments as a Dynamic Portfolio Management Solution James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
07-03-2012 Geared structured products can be useful tools in bull markets Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
29-02-2012 Credit Default Swaps John Gracey of Merchant Capital Read
22-02-2012 Harnessing Volatility through Structured Products Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
15-02-2012 The FTSE100 Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication" Fernando Gasca, Cater Allen Private Bank Read
08-02-2012 2012: A Rough Road Ahead? Jamie Smith, Chairman of the UK Structured Products Association Read
01-02-2012 Time for another Debunking Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
25-01-2012 Defensive Structures and When to Employ Them Gary Dale, Head of Intermediary Sales at Investec Structured Products Read
18-01-2012 The Myth of the Homemade Structured Product StructuredProductReview.com Read
11-01-2012 Assessing the suitability of Structured Products Alex Houpert, Societe Generale Read
04-01-2012 Structured Products and Tracker Funds - A Further Contemplation StructuredProductReview.com Read
14-12-2011 Conjecture Debate Various Read
07-12-2011 The differences between structured investments and funds Richard Henry, Barclays Wealth Read
30-11-2011 Fill your boots: Why now is a good time to buy structured investments Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
23-11-2011 Matthew White, Meteor Asset ManagementCash vs Structured Deposits Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
16-11-2011 Structured investments in investment portfolio - switching investment strategies James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
09-11-2011 Jakob Bronebakk, Jubilee Financial ProductsStructured products in the "new normal" Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
02-11-2011 Why on earth would an adviser recommend structured products? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
26-10-2011 Risks and Awards Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
19-10-2011 Full Capital Protection vs. Soft Protection Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
12-10-2011 James Harrington, Legal & GeneralDepth of Understanding James Harrington of Legal & General Read
05-10-2011 Tax Efficient Wrappers Albert Plattner, Citigroup Global Markets Read
28-09-2011 Structured Products: An Education Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
21-09-2011 John Gracey, Merchant CapitalCounterparty Risk Revisited John Gracey of Merchant Capital Read
14-09-2011 Matthew White, Meteor Asset ManagementFinding Value in a Hippo Market Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
07-09-2011 What questions should an adviser ask about structured investments? Richard Henry, Barclays Wealth Read
31-08-2011 Active Strategies, Passive Strategies and The Motley Fool Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
24-08-2011 The FSCP and Straightforward Outcome Products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
17-08-2011 : Bespoke Structured Investment Solutions James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
10-08-2011 Evolution of the Structured Product Market: From FTSE to Beyond Nev Godley, Morgan Stanley Read
03-08-2011 Chris Taylor, The Investment Bridge"Guarantee" Avoided - Guaranteed Chris Taylor, Managing Director of the Investment Bridge Read
27-07-2011 Too good to be true? Rob Kingsbury, Editor of PPR Magazine Read
20-07-2011 Structured Products vs. Tracker Funds: IMA Accepts Challenge Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
13-07-2011 The Underpinnings of Vanilla Structured Investments Chris Powell of Jubilee Financial Products Read
06-07-2011 James Harrington, Legal & GeneralPRIPs is a Recipe for Confusion James Harrington of Legal & General Read
29-06-2011 Structured Products in Modern Portfolio Management Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
22-06-2011 Portfolio Construction David Northrop of SIP Nordic Read
15-06-2011 Are we over complicating structured products? Chris Powell of Jubilee Financial Products Read
08-06-2011 Staying Wealthy Clive Moore of Investment Design and Distribution Read
01-06-2011 Matthew White of Meteor Asset ManagementFees Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
25-05-2011 Kick Out Plans: Why invest in them? John Gracey of Merchant Capital Read
18-05-2011 Classical designs that dont go out of season Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
11-05-2011 Structured Product Debate Progresses Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
04-05-2011 Structured Products, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Tracker Funds Colin Dickie of Barclays Capital Read
27-04-2011 A (very) brief introduction to behavioural finance for structured products Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
20-04-2011 Recent criticisms of structured products: no place for dogma or divide ... especially if it is conjured up and perpetuated through ignorance or bias" Chris Taylor of Incapital Europe Read
13-04-2011 No Umbrella in a Hurricane? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
06-04-2011 Collateralised Investment Plans: How do they Work? Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
30-03-2011 Matthew White of Meteor Asset Management LimitedStructured Products: What They Can Offer Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
23-03-2011 Structured Funds Emma Davidson of Citigroup Global Markets Read
16-03-2011 Taking stock of structured products John Gracey of Merchant Capital Read
09-03-2011 Sophie Barnett, Morgan StanleyCapital Protection: Making a Comeback? Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
02-03-2011 Colin Dickie, Barclays Capital2011 Structured Product Outlook Colin Dickie of Barclays Capital Read
23-02-2011 David Northrop, SIP NordicInvesting for Income Using Structured Products David Northrop of SIP Nordic Read
16-02-2011 Jakob Bronebakk, Jubilee Financial ProductsStructured products in an interventionist world Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
09-02-2011 Multiple Underlyings in Structured Investments James Chu, Incapital Europe Read
02-02-2011 Some Questions Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
26-01-2011 Who Needs a View? Adrian Neave of Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
19-01-2011 A Positive Outlook Matthew White, Meteor Asset Management Limited Read
12-01-2011 Structured Product Liquidity John Craven of Société Générale Read
22-12-2010 Ian Lowes of Lowes Financial Management and StructuredProductReview.comA Load of Balls! Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
15-12-2010 How can Structured Products Benefit a Portfolio in Different Market Conditions? Thom Gascoigne of Merchant Capital Read
08-12-2010 Ian Lowes of Lowes Financial Management and StructuredProductReview.comA New Reality? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
01-12-2010 Product Design in a Challenging Environment Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
24-11-2010 Education, Education, Education Chris Taylor of Incapital Europe Read
17-11-2010 Product pricing and the RDR Adrian Neave of Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
10-11-2010 Are we going soft? James Harrington of Legal & General Read
03-11-2010 Ian Lowes of Lowes Financial Management and StructuredProductReview.comWhat do you need to know? Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
27-10-2010 : Structured Products and Emerging Markets Jonathan Banks, Merchant Capital Read
20-10-2010 Jakob Bronnebak of Jubilee Financial ProductsStructured products in a portfolio: a quantitative analysis Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
13-10-2010 Structured Product Review Colin Dickie of Barclays Capital Read
06-10-2010 Ian Lowes of Lowes Financial Management and StructuredProductReview.comIncome and Structured Products Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
29-09-2010 Structured Products in Asia: The world according to the wealth creator Richard Jory of Structured Products magazine Read
22-09-2010 Structured Products vs. Unit Trusts John Gracey of Merchant Capital Read
15-09-2010 Counterparty Risk: Striking the Balance Marc Chamberlain of Morgan Stanley Read
08-09-2010 Independence is indeed a benefit Adrian Neave of Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
01-09-2010 Independent structured product providers: What advisers and investors need, value and benefit from Chris Taylor of Incapital Europe Read
25-08-2010 ETF Survey: Not so simple Clare Dickinson of Structured Products Magazine Read
18-08-2010 Ian Lowes of Lowes Financial Management and StructuredProductReview.comStructured Products: A Further Introduction Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
11-08-2010 Exploring Offshore Opportunities in the Holiday Season Emma Davidson of Citigroup Global Markets Read
04-08-2010 What Hedge for Inflation? Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
28-07-2010 Are Structured Products Really a Hold to Maturity Investment? Thom Gascoigne of Merchant Capital Read
21-07-2010 The Happiness Curve Lisa Chaudhuri of Barclays Wealth Read
14-07-2010 Sopie Barnett of Morgan StanleyHarnessing Volatility through Structured Products Sophie Barnett of Morgan Stanley Read
07-07-2010 World Cup Infects Structured Products Richard Jory of Structured Products magazine Read
30-06-2010 James Harrington of Legal and GeneralThe Budget and Tax Implications for Structured Products James Harrington of Legal & General Read
23-06-2010 Bespoke and Exclusive Structured Investments: a case study Chris Taylor of Blue Sky Asset Management Read
16-06-2010 Attention to Detail, Communication and Education" Robert Corbally of Aviva Investors Read
09-06-2010 IFAs, Transparency and Product Providers Emma Davidson of Citigroup Global Markets Read
02-06-2010 Quantifying the Value Adrian Neave of Gilliat Financial Solutions Read
26-05-2010 A recent history of pricing factors and the impact on Structured Products Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
19-05-2010 What is the effect of averaging on Structured Products? Thom Gascoigne of Merchant Capital Read
12-05-2010 Structured Retail Products Colin Dickie of Barclays Capital Read
05-05-2010 Capital Protection in Structured Products: The Choices Marc Chamberlain of Morgan Stanley Read
28-04-2010 Structured Education Ian Lowes, Managing Director of Lowes Financial Management and founder of StructuredProductReview.com Read
21-04-2010 Time in the Markets...revisited (Part III) Blue Sky Asset Management Research Department Read
14-04-2010 The benefits of Collateralisation. Emma Davidson of Citigroup Global Markets Read
07-04-2010 Some of the less common risk factors involved with Structured Products. Jakob Bronebakk of Jubilee Financial Products Read
31-03-2010 What to look for when assessing the credit risk of product issuers. Thom Gascoigne of Merchant Capital Read
24-03-2010 :Marmite or Structured Products? Nick Hansen, Head of Structured Investments at Walker Crips Read
17-03-2010 How the structured product market has evolved over the past year in relation to counterparty risk concerns. Marc Chamberlain, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Read
10-03-2010 Discusses the creation of Structured Products. Phil Saunders of Meteor Asset Management Read
03-03-2010 The need for independent wealth management advice amongst high net worth clients. Dr. James Chu of Blue Sky Asset Management Read
26-02-2010 The Autocall payoff Emma Davidson of Citigroup Global Markets Read

StructuredProductReview.com’s opinions, views and input are often sought on the latest issues concerning the structured product world and we are pleased to assist both professional/trade and national press publications and journalists. The links below are for articles and features that include input from StructuredProductReview.com, since the launch of the website in November 2009.

StructuredProductReview.com provides the most comprehensive library of industry videos/videod presentations available for Professional Advisers. This includes a full series of videos produced by Rob Kingsbury (Formerly Editor of Professional Adviser and Editor of Protected Product Review) with Ian Lowes (Managing Director and founder of StructuredProductReview.com), as well as general industry and provider videos, and Asset TV’s televised discussions with industry providers.

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Rob Kingsbury interviews Ian Lowes / Ian Lowes talks about structured products


Asset TV Discussions

Running Time: 45 Minutes

Introduction

There are usually two key risks for investors to understand when investing in structured products:

Counterparty / Credit Risk: which relates to the risk of the investment bank that is issuing and / or guaranteeing the securities or deposit that the structured product is based upon defaulting upon their obligations, for instance through insolvency, during the investment term. The risk and likelihood of a major financial institution failing in this way must be clearly understood by investors.

Market Risk: if an investment is not fully protected from the underlying market / asset risk then the performance of the underlying market / asset will determine the level of capital repayment at maturity. Structured products that do not remove market or asset risk completely are likely to offer a defined level of protection, i.e. protection unless the market or asset falls by a certain amount and breaches a particular barrier level. As with counterparty risk, investors should ensure they are aware of and understand the risk.

Structured products are not alchemy. They do not make investment risk disappear, although they can remove, reduce or, at least, reposition risks in ways that other investments, such as active and passive funds, cannot. But any risk in any investment must be fully understood by advisers and prospective investors. This section of StructuredProductReview.com focuses upon Counterparty Risk, and offers information and research tools to assist Professional Advisers in understanding Counterparty /Credit Risk.

Counterparty / Credit Risk

Most structured products depend upon a particular financial institution known as 'the Counterparty', that is providing, i.e. issuing, or guaranteeing, the securities that the product is based upon.

The securities that Counterparties issue are usually Medium Term Notes, Warrants, or other securities, which are similar to corporate bonds and other debt instruments - often referred to generally as 'bonds'. A deposit-based structured product will rely on a deposit account issued by a Deposit Taker.

In effect, an investment in a structured product is a loan to the Counterparty or Deposit Taker, in exchange for the growth or income returns that their product promises.

Counterparties and Deposit Takers must meet the contractual terms of the bonds that they issue - and their ability to do so largely depends upon their solvency.

The risk that they might fail to meet the terms of their bonds is known as 'Counterparty risk', sometimes also referred to as 'credit risk'.

A Counterparty failure during the investment term of a structured investment Plan, for instance through insolvency, such as bankruptcy, administration or liquidation, is likely to cause a 'default', i.e. the Counterparty will fail to make payments due during the investment term and/or to repay their debts, i.e. the bonds, at maturity.

A default or failure of a Counterparty puts a structured investment, and any growth or income potential it provides, at risk, so the risk must be understood by investors and assessing the financial strength of prospective Counterparties is an important aspect of evaluation and selection.

A deposit-based structured product will often benefit from cover under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the event of default of the Deposit Taker during the term. Such compensation is, however, dependent upon the investors’ eligibility as defined under the terms of the FSCS and certain investment limits will apply.

Credit ratings

A leading indicator of an institution's financial strength/credit risk

There are objective and recognised methods of assessing the financial strength of an institution, i.e. measuring their 'creditworthiness'. Credit Ratings are one of the most recognised indicators.

Credit ratings are assigned by independent organisations known as Credit Rating Agencies,. The three leading Agencies, designated as Nationally Registered Statistical Rating Organisations (NRSRO's) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), are Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings.

Credit Rating Agencies assign ratings based upon views of 'worst possibilities' in the 'visible' future, as opposed to the past record or the present status of the institution/bond. Ratings are normally in the form of letter designations, such as AAA, A+, BB, C, etc. These provide investors in the debt securities of these institutions, such as a bond, with an indication of the institution's strength and ability to meet its obligations in repaying both the principal capital and any income due from the security.

Different intermediate ratings are also offered by each Agency at each level (i.e., AA+, AA-, A+, BBB-, etc) to show relative standing within the major categories. (+ indicates the higher end of the rating category, - represents the lower for Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, 1 indicates the higher end of the rating category and 3 represents the lower for Moody's). Guidance (termed a 'rating outlook') can also be offered as to whether an institution/debt obligation is likely to be upgraded (positive), is stable or may be downgraded (negative). The 'credit watch' positive/negative guidance indicates that a rating may be raised (positive) or lowered (negative) in the short to medium term - circa 6 months to 2 years - although it is not necessarily a precursor to a ratings change.

It should be noted that credit ratings are Agency opinions of an issuer's overall financial capacity (its credit worthiness) to meet its financial commitments – but Credit Rating Agencies and ratings are not infallible, particularly if viewed in isolation. A credit rating is not, therefore, a recommendation to purchase or hold a financial obligation, and a rating is not a comment on, or implied suitability of, any particular structured product, for any particular investor.

A brief overview of each of the three main Agencies and their ratings designations is provided in this section.

Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's Website

Standard & Poor's (S&P) is perhaps the most well known Credit Rating Agency (through its US-based S&P 500 Index, etc). S&P dates back to 1860, when Henry Poor published information about the financial and operational state of U.S. railroad companies. The company as it is known today was formed in 1941 with the merger of Poor's Publishing and Standard Statistics. In 1966 S&P was acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies, which now encompasses the Financial Services division that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds.

S&P issues both short-term and long-term credit ratings, rating institutions/bonds on a scale from AAA to D. Intermediate ratings are also offered at each level between AA and CCC (i.e., AA+, AA-, A+, BBB+, etc) to show relative standing within the major categories (+ indicates the higher end of the rating category, - represents the lower).

AAA The capacity to meet financial commitments is extremely strong (the world's major companies and governments).
AA Differs from AAA only to a small degree. The capacity to meet financial commitments is very strong.
A Rated 'A' means somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than higher-rated categories. However, the capacity to meet financial commitments is still strong.
BBB exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to meet financial commitments.

Moody's

Moody's Website

Moody's Corporation is the holding company for Moody's Investors Service which performs financial research and analysis on government and commercial entities. Moody's was founded in 1909 by John Moody who, similar to Henry Poor's, offered investors an analysis of security values through publishing a book that analyzed the railroads and their outstanding securities. Moody's claims that it was the first to rate public market securities. In 1913, Moody expanded his base of analyzed companies, launching his evaluation of industrial companies and utilities and 'Moody's ratings' become a factor in the bond market. On July 1, 1914, Moody's Investors Service was incorporated.

Moody's issues both short-term and long-term credit ratings, rating institutions/bonds on a scale from Aaa to Caa. Intermediate ratings are also offered at each level between Aa and Caa (i.e., Aa3, Aa2, Aa1, Baa3, Baa1, Caa2, etc) to show relative standing within the major categories. 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; 3 indicates the lower end of the generic rating category.

Aaa Judged to be of the highest quality, with minimal credit risk.
Aa Judged to be of high quality and subject to very low credit risk.
A Considered upper-medium grade and subject to low credit risk.
Baa Subject to moderate credit risk, considered medium-grade and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.

Fitch Ratings

Fitch Website

Fitch Ratings is a part of the Fitch Group. The firm was founded by John Fitch on December 24, 1913 in New York City as the Fitch Publishing Company. Fitch is the smallest of the 'big three' NRSRO's, covering a smaller share of the market than S&P and Moody's, although it has grown with acquisitions and frequently positions itself as a 'tie-breaker' when the other two agencies have ratings similar, but not equal, in scale.

Fitch issues both short-term and long-term credit ratings, rating institutions/bonds on a scale from AAA to D. Intermediate ratings are also offered at each level between AAA and CCC (i.e., AA+, AA-, A+, BBB-, etc) to show relative standing within the major categories. (+ indicates the higher end of the rating category, - represents the lower).

AAA The highest credit quality, denotes the lowest expectation of credit risk. Assigned only in the case of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments, highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.
AA Very high credit quality, denotes expectation of very low credit risk. Indicates very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments, not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.
A High credit quality, denotes expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong, but may be more vulnerable to changes in circumstances or in economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.
BBB Good credit quality, indicates that there are currently expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate but adverse changes in circumstances and economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity. This is the lowest investment grade category.

Rating Designations

The table below highlights the similarities and differences in the respective credit rating designation symbols of the three main Credit Rating Agencies – detailing the long term rating scales for investment grade debt.

In addition to noting the obvious (but sometimes confused) differences between the different Credit Rating Agencies and their designations it is also important to note that even institutions with the same credit rating from the same Rating Agency do not present absolutely equal credit strength/risk. In a broad sense institutions might be alike in their financial position, but as there are only a limited number of rating designations available, for use in grading thousands of risks, the symbols cannot reflect the numerous shadings of risk that actually exist.

Standard & Poor's Moody's Fitch Ratings
AAA Aaa AAA
AA+ Aa1 AA+
AA Aa2 AA
AA- Aa3 AA-
A+ A1 A+
A A2 A
A- A3 A-
BBB+ Baa1 BBB+
BBB Baa2 BBB
BBB- Baa3 BBB-

Credit Default Swaps

A complementary and independent tool/measure of credit risk

In addition to credit ratings, another instrument used to assess the credit strength and quality of bond issuers is Credit Default Swap (CDS) spreads.

CDSs are credit derivatives that were developed between 1994 and 1997 and introduced relatively recently in the 'over-the-counter' market (where buyers and sellers of derivatives trade directly with each other, rather than via recognised exchanges). Generally, a CDS is a 'swap agreement/transaction' between two parties, in relation to loans, bonds or other debt instruments issued by a company (often called the reference obligation).

At a basic level, the buyer of a CDS usually owns the reference obligation e.g. the bonds of a Counterparty, and pays a fee to the seller, for a CDS, to get protection, ie insurance, against credit risk. In exchange for paying this fee, the buyer of the CDS will be compensated by the seller if a credit event impacts upon the reference obligation(i.e. reduces its value). Potential credit events include default, bankruptcy, debt restructuring, etc. If such credit events occur, the seller of the CDS will receive the reference obligation (now in distress) and the buyer will receive cash to compensate the credit loss. CDS providers include financial institutions, e.g. banks and hedge funds.

Credit Default Swaps are quoted in the market in the format of an annualised spread, over LIBOR, known as the CDS spread similar, conceptually, to the premium paid for an insurance contract. For example, the CDS spread quoted for a bond issued by XYZ company may be 100 basis points (1 basis point equals 0.01%). If the CDS buyer wants to protect £10 million investment in an XYZ bond, then the buyer has to pay the CDS seller an annual fee of £100,000 over LIBOR (typically paid quarterly).

As a CDS provides protection, i.e. insurance, against a credit event impacting upon a debt instrument, the CDS spread should widen, i.e. increase, if the credit derivatives market perceives that the credit strength/quality of the issuer of the debt will deteriorate and, vice versa, if the market perceives the credit strength/quality of the issuer will improve it should narrow, i.e. decrease. This makes economic sense - the CDS will cost more if the perceived risk of a credit event, e.g. a default, in respect of the reference obligation increases (or vice-versa).

Credit analysts use CDS spreads as an additional indicator and tool to assess the credit quality of corporates, including financial institutions that issue structured investments. Structured investments are often issued as debt on a bank's balance sheet, and hence the CDS spread is a relevant parameter to examine, within an overall analysis of the credit strength of Counterparties. It is important to note, however, that just like credit ratings, CDS spreads should not be relied upon in assessing the credit risk of a Counterparty in isolation (especially bearing in mind that credit quality is only one factor that can affect the CDS spread).

Credit ratings and CDS levels as complementary research tools

Regardless of criticisms of Credit Rating Agencies, consensus opinion still holds that credit ratings are a leading indicator of an institution's financial strength.

It's fair to recognise, however, that Rating Agencies are generally viewed as focusing on the 'longer term' picture and can potentially be slow to react to unfolding events.

There is also an obvious conflict of interest with credit ratings, as ratings are commissioned and paid for by the institutions that are issuing the bonds that they are provided upon: albeit that regulators oversee the activities of the Agencies and this risk should be mitigated.

Credit Default Swap spreads, on the other hand, are anything but slow to react – and are a function of entirely conflict free credit derivatives market economics. CDS spread levels can and do react to events incredibly quickly and can be acutely short term focused – which is both good and bad.

The bottom line is that Credit Ratings and CDS levels both have nuances and potential shortcomings - but as lead indicators of financial strength/creditworthiness of an institution they are both valuable.

The obvious approach is to assess and use both in tandem, such that the respective strengths and weaknesses of one or the other compensate for each other. This certainly helps provide a more comprehensive and therefore robust assessment of credit strength/risk.

For many observers, CDS levels can be viewed as a 'sanity check' on credit ratings, to see if they reflect similar views or whether they might appear to be indicating any discrepancy, i.e. whether ratings might be 'behind the curve', according to the views of the credit derivatives market. For instance, if a AA- rated institution had a CDS that was markedly lower (let's say 175bps) than an A+ institution (let's say 125bps) then some caution and additional research may be sensible.

Financial 'Fundamentals'

Credit ratings and Credit Default Swap spreads are both important indicators of the credit quality and financial strength of Counterparties and Deposit Takers. Both should be taken into account, in conducting Counterparty and Deposit Taker 'due diligence', with similarities, differences and/or anomalies considered and assessed.

In addition to assessing headline indicators of corporate strength, i.e. credit ratings and credit default swaps, prospective investors should also consider financial 'fundamentals' and wider aspects of a Counterparty or Deposit Taker's background.

Financial Fundamentals means thinking about an institution both quantitatively but also, to some extent, qualitatively.

For example, the bank's domicile and therefore jurisdiction for regulatory purposes, the strength of the Sovereign State, where relevant, the banks' market capitalisation, its Tier 1 Capital Ratio, its share price movement, etc., can all be considered.

A further consideration is the question of a banking institution's 'systemic' importance. Generally, the obvious consideration in this respect is the extent of a bank's retail operations, as opposed to its investment banking operations. While this is, to some degree, unquantifiable, banks holding extensive retail deposits, on behalf of the public, are potentially more likely to be deemed systemically important, by the relevant government/central bank, than an investment bank that might have been primarily concerned with its proprietary trading and risk taking/profit making activities.

The second consideration is also important, and that is 'where is the institution systemically important?'. A bank may be systematically important to a particular region or country but if the Government in that region does not have the resources to support the bank's system and institutions, the likelihood of default will not be greatly reduced. The collapse of the Icelandic banks was a case in point. Again, however, it must be appreciated there is a significant degree of subjectivity involved when this question is considered.

StructuredProductReview.com Counterparty Platform

The StructuredProductReview.com Counterparty Platform provides Professional Advisers with an 'at a glance' research resource that details Credit Ratings, CDS, Sovereign information and Financial Fundamentals, for financial institutions that are recognised issuers of securities / structured products in the UK.

The Credit Ratings ascribed by each of the three main Agencies, including the date and direction of the last change and the outlook (Positive, Negative or Stable), are shown. In addition, 5 year Credit Default Swap spread levels are highlighted. Information regarding the Sovereign is included, together with pertinent aspect of Financial Fundamentals.

The StructuredProductReview.com Counterparty Platform is designed by specialist structured product consultancy The Investment Bridge.

Data is provided by Gilliat Financial Solutions.

Consider the benefits of Counterparty 'exposure' / Credit Risk

Whilst this section of StructuredProductReview.com has focused upon identifying and assessing Counterparty and Deposit Taker Credit Risk, for obvious reasons, the final message is one that might be obscured by a fixation upon the risks alone, as opposed to the very definite benefits of structured products, that are a direct consequence of this self-same risk.

Over many decades, the 'traditional' investment industry has done its best to educate investors to understand, accept and tolerate a multitude of investment risks, including market / asset downside, volatility, market timing and active fund management / process risk.

But for many investors – if not all – accepting these risks is a little like putting square pegs in round holes. No investor wants to and chooses to accept all these risks – at least not if they could be avoided or at least reduced.

The often overlooked benefit of the counterparty exposure / credit risk that is implicit within structured products is that structured products can exchange the multitude of 'traditional' investment risks for pre-defined risk and return parameters, via the terms of the underlying security that the structured product is backed by.

Yes, investors need to consider whether the counterparty is likely to go bust or not - but if they remain solvent then they are legally obligated at maturity to deliver the precise returns stated in their bonds/securities - with no active fund management risk, etc.

Some 'clever stuff' with equity derivatives may indeed be going on – but the fact is that it is the counterparties themselves that carry the risks of the 'clever stuff', i.e. the investment process behind the scenes, not investors (in contrast with mutual funds).

No investment is perfect, but consider the benefits – not just the risks – of exposure to a Counterparty or Deposit Taker under a structured product. It can certainly be looked at as a benefit.