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2015 Structured Investment Maturity Performance Review

2015 Structured Investment Maturity Performance Review


The most comprehensive review of structured product performance ever undertaken in the UK

By Chris Taylor, Head of Strategic Development, Lowes Structured Investment Centre

Over the years that have followed the financial crisis, the UK retail structured products sector has evolved and advanced significantly, responding to regulatory expectations and seeking to meet the interests and needs of wealth managers, professional advisers and, of course, investors, with solid, innovative and value-adding investment solutions.

Whilst the sector has made significant advances in its approach and the quality and value of its product propositions and is widely embraced by many wealth managers and professional advisers it is fair to say that structured investments can still divide opinion - with some in the professional advice community and press seemingly failing to recognise the great strides forward made by the industry and the valuable options that it provides for savers and investors.

One of the most significant misperceptions of the sector, amongst those parties who have remained reluctant to recognise its value, concerns performance. A reverberating assertion promulgated by detracting advisers and commentators, to date, has been that structured product performance can be hard to access and therefore evaluate at a sector level. Worse, some of the sceptics or critics’ assertions about structured product performance per se, without distinction or differentiation, have been based on the simplistic assumption that it is always capped and limited, in return for the defined returns approach and protection from market risk that is provided ... despite the absence of robust data / evidence to either confirm or disprove such views.

In 2009, Chartered Financial Planning firm Lowes Financial Management established, as a research, information and education portal for professional advisers using the UK structured products sector. Over 11,000 industry professionals have registered to use the site.

2009 also saw the sector establish its own industry body, the UK Structured Products Association (UKSPA), with the aim of establishing a unified industry voice, engaging with regulatory bodies and advancing best industry practices.

Both and UKSPA have been making inroads to address various industry issues, specifically including providing greater transparency and data regarding performance. UKSPA now publishes monthly performance data for the product category indices that it has created. And has been analysing and publishing sector-wide performance data for matured products for some time now.

The 2015 Structured Investment Maturity Performance Review, undertaken by and presented by Lowes Structured Investment Centre, is close to being unveiled - and will provide the most comprehensive analysis of structured investment performance data ever undertaken in the UK, including comparisons to a number of relevant benchmarks and alternative investment propositions, as well as highlighting ‘Stars of the Sector’.

And the good news is that the performance of structured products that matured in 2015 is consistent with the picture of the sector that has been steadily emerging over previous years: extremely strong, across the piste - ranging from structured deposits with FSCS cover, through capital protected investments, to capital-at-risk, including FTSE 100 Index and non FTSE 100 Index propositions.

As a lead headline, for example, of all the products that matured in 2015 only one created a loss for investors (of just circa 5%) and only 7 returned capital-back only. ALL of the rest of the sector’s maturing products in 2015 generated positive returns for investors: with the compelling average and average top quartile performance numbers illuminating the irrefutable value of structured products.

Empirical evidence to highlight the efficacy and value of structured products for investors

The Review will provide factual data which advisers and investors can use and rely upon to form objective views and opinions of structured products. Much of the skepticism and/or criticism that the structured products sector has faced in recent years has been based upon outdated views - or simply misguided opinions. Facts have been needed.

‘‘A sceptic is somebody who when doubting something is open to evidence.
A cynic is somebody who refuses to believe in something regardless of evidence.’’

The performance data comprehensively compiled and presented in the Review undoubtedly provides empirical evidence, i.e. the facts that have been much-needed, to validate the efficacy and value of structured products, across the risk/return spectrum.

The data is good news for those advisers and investors who have been embracing structured investments over the years. It should also prove to be persuasive, if not compelling, for those advisers and investors who may have been sceptical or critical of the sector or wanting and waiting for robust research evidence before being prepared to consider utilising the sector’s products.

The 2015 Structured Investment Maturity Performance Review is expected to be available before the end of January.

A webinar presentation for professional advisers will be hosted by Lowes Structured Investment Centre in February.