How investors pay for financial advice has changed since the Retail Distribution Review. For structured products, advisers are no longer able to take commission for recommending a Structured Product to a client (please note that commission can still be charged for a Structured Deposit). Instead, investors may pay a fee to their adviser for the advice given (or the execution-only service, as appropriate). Most providers of structured products will facilitate the payment of an adviser charge on an investor’s behalf. In this case, an investor will pay one lump sum to the provider, and the provider will then pay the proportion of the amount that makes up the adviser charge directly to the adviser. Please also see ‘Intermediary Fee’.
An American Barrier is often referred to in relation to Non-Protected products. It is the level of the Underlying (usually expressed as a percentage of its Start Level) that if breached, puts the investors' capital at risk at Maturity. The difference between an American Barrier and a European Barrier is the frequency at which it is monitored. An American Barrier will be breached if,on any dayduring the Term of that product, the Underlying (typically its closing level) is below the American Barrier. By contrast, a European Barrier will only be breached if the Underlying closes below the European Barrieron a set date(usually the End Date). For example, a product with a 60% American Barrier will put investors' capital at risk at Maturity if the Underlying is 40% or more below its Start Level on any day during its Term.
The form that an investor must complete to make an investment into a Structured Product. There are usually a number of different forms, one for each investment option (a direct investment, an ISA transfer, a SIPP/SSAS application, an ISA application, a company application and a trustee application) and investors must be sure to complete the correct form.
Structured Products are defined as ‘complex’ investments under the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (‘MiFID’), and it is therefore important that investors understand how the product works and confirm that it is appropriate for their needs and objectives. If an investor is not taking advice from a financial adviser, they will be asked to complete an Appropriateness questionnaire to confirm that this is the case. This questionnaire will include questions on the investor’s experience and knowledge as well as confirming that they understand how the product works.If an investor provides information on the questionnaire that indicates the product may not be appropriate for their needs, this may impact their eligibility to invest in the product.
An Autocall is a feature often used in Structured Products that allows for the product to mature early and a fixed return to be paid, provided certain market conditions are met (for example, if the Underlying closes at or above a given level on a set date). Please also see ‘Kick Out’.
Averaging is when the closing level of an Underlying is measured on designated dates, and the average of those levels is used to calculate performance. The use of averaging can reduce adverse effects of a falling market or sudden market falls shortly before maturity. Equally, it can reduce the benefits of an increasing market or sudden market rises shortly before maturity.