Contrarian Investor: Are structured products an alternative to absolute return?

Contrarian Investor: Are structured products an alternative to absolute return?

Let us dream up an investment solution for what I call the 'wary mass affluent investor'. They have decided that holding too much cash is increasingly pointless, have been scared senseless by talk of a bond rout, and think yields of 2% to 4% are frankly not worth the extra risk of losing some capital down the line.

The obvious choice is investing in a risky asset such as equities. But these 'wary' investor types are worried about the inherent volatility of shares. They want exposure to some risk but also want some defensive 'structure' or strategy. At least that is what the data in terms of fund flows is currently suggesting, with most of this 'wary money' finding its way into absolute return (AR) offerings. But wary types might also wonder about the AR myth - can these managers really deliver positive gains in all markets? Surely there must be an alternative? We do not have to imagine the la...

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