6 July 2010

Callable Snowball Floater - another confusing investment

The structured investment product world is full of technical terms that make even the heads of many a seasoned investment pro spin. But how many individual investors - sophisticated or not - really understand all the terms of the structure when they sign on the dotted line before parting with their hard-earned money? And if the investment is made on their behalf by investment managers - do these professionals understand them? We would bet that 99 percent of those putting money into structured investment products did not read the full prospectus - and even if they did they probably would not be much the wiser as it needs a mathematical PhD to look behind the scene and understand the risk-reward ratio and underlying fees. What is even more dangerous is when these products are given a tempting and innocuous sounding name such 'Guaranteed Investment'. As we have recently seen, nothing is guaranteed in the investment world, even the obligations of governments are subject to modification as demonstrated in countries such as Argentina. And who would put all his money into Greek government bonds now?