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Structured Products for NRIs: A Smart Investment Strategy

Discover how structured products offer NRIs innovative investment solutions with customized risk-return profiles for better financial planning.
10
min read
February 3, 2024
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As an NRI looking to grow your wealth, structured products offered by financial institutions can be an intriguing investment option. Combining elements of bonds and derivatives, these products cater to various investor profiles, offering capital protection, enhanced yield, or specific market exposures.

What are Structured Products?

Structured products are investment vehicles created by financial institutions. They combine traditional securities like bonds with derivatives, creating products with tailor-made risk and return profiles. Typically, these products might include options or swaps linked to equities, commodities, or indices​​​​.

The Mechanics of Structured Products

Imagine a structured product that combines a zero-coupon bond with an option on a stock or ETF. You invest a certain amount in this product with a set maturity period. If the underlying asset performs well, you reap additional benefits; if not, your principal amount is protected​​.

Understanding Structured Products

At their core, structured products are securities whose returns depend on various underlying assets, indices, or interest rates. Typically issued by financial institutions, these products often incorporate a bond and a derivative component, creating customized risk-return profiles​​​​.

Key Features of Structured Products

  • Customization: They can be tailored to meet specific investor needs, whether it's capital protection, enhanced yield, or exposure to certain asset classes or market indexes​​​​.
  • Diverse Underlying Assets: These can include equities, fixed income, commodities, foreign exchange, and indices, influencing the product's performance and risk characteristics​​.
  • Formula-Based Returns: The returns are usually based on specific formulas related to the performance of the underlying asset, providing clarity on potential returns or losses​​.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Structured Products

Advantages

  • Potential for Higher Risk-Adjusted Returns: Structured products can enhance returns by potentially reducing portfolio volatility​​.
  • Access to New Markets: They offer access to markets and asset classes that might be otherwise inaccessible or expensive for individual investors​​.
  • Customized Risk/Return Profiles: Investors can tailor their investment to maximize expected performance or hedge specific risks​​.

Risks

  • Complexity: These products are sophisticated and may not be suitable for all investors​​.
  • Market Price Fluctuations: The value of structured products can be highly sensitive to changes in the value of the underlying assets​​.
  • Credit Risk: The returns depend on the issuer’s ability to meet their payment obligations​​.

Investment Considerations for NRIs

  • Assessment of Terms and Risks: NRIs should thoroughly understand the terms, potential risks, and costs associated with structured products.
  • Professional Advice: Given their complexity, it is advisable to seek guidance from financial advisors or wealth managers specializing in structured products.
  • Market Knowledge: A good grasp of the underlying assets and market conditions is crucial for making informed investment decisions.

Advantages for NRI Investors

  • Customized Risk/Return Profiles: Structured products allow NRIs to tailor their investment according to their risk appetite and financial goals​​​​.
  • Access to Complex Markets: These products can offer exposure to asset classes or markets that might be otherwise inaccessible for individual investors​​​​.
  • Capital Protection: Many structured products come with a principal protection component, making them a safer bet compared to direct equity investments​​​​.

Considerations Before Investing

  • Understand the Risks: While some structured products offer capital protection, others might expose you to the risk of losing your principal. The product’s structure and the performance of the underlying asset determine the risk level​​​​.
  • Market Volatility: The returns on structured products can be influenced by market fluctuations, interest rates, and the performance of the underlying asset​​.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Given their complexity, it's advisable to consult with financial advisors or wealth managers who specialize in structured products before investing​​.

Conclusion

Structured products can be a valuable addition to an NRI's investment portfolio, offering customized solutions to meet diverse investment objectives. However, understanding their structure, risks, and potential returns is crucial before making any investment decisions.

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Arnav is a dedicated product leader with a passion for finance and fintech. He graduated from IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta and heads the Product team at Vance. He has extensive experience in the financial sector, with a deep understanding of the cross-border space. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, rock climbing, and training for triathlons.

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