I was given the Security Purchase Contract Note for an Equity Linked Note. The contract note is very difficult to read, even for an expert like me. The Note was issued by bank X and distributed by bank Y to a Chinese educated elderly person (who does not understand English).
After reading the contract note, I was able to analyse the terms as follows:
a) The note is linked to two shares, A and B
b) Interest is payable at an annual rate of 12% for each day that both shares stay above the trigger price (which is 85% of the reference price). If any share fall below the trigger price, interest is not payable for that day
c) At the end of each observation period (about two months), if both shares are above the trigger price, the Note is redeemed at par, plus accrued interest.
d) On the maturity date (18 months), if any share falls below 70% of the reference price, the investor is given the shares and has to bear the capital loss (of more than 30%).
e) The Notes are principal protected at maturity (provided the Knock-in event has not occurred). There is no mention of the party providing the guarantee, but a statement as follows: "the notebolder is exposed to the credit risk of the issuer or the third party guarantor".
I find this product to be unsatisfactory in the following respects:
1) The "interest payment" is not really "interest". It is actually a risk premium given for providing the insurance against a 30% drop in any of the shares in the basket.
2) It is impossible for the investor to know if the risk premium is fair, given the unknown extent of the risk?
3) The contract is designed by bank X, which stands to gain from the margin between the true cost of the risk and the so called "interest" payable to the noteholder. This can be to the disadvantage of the retail investor, and can in an extreme case, be considered as "cheating" the investor.
There are laws against creating gambling contracts, without approval of the authority. Does this type of equity linked note fall within the definition of a gambling contract? This law was written to prevent the public from being cheated.
Outcome: The issuing bank X went bankrupt. The investor lost the entire principal, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. The distributing bank Y was negligent in exposing the investor to a large risk - without proper diversification.
If you are in a similar situation, with a similar product, you can write to me at email@example.com.
- ► 2013 (302)
- ► 2012 (1270)
- ► 2011 (1873)
- ► 2010 (2369)
04/05 - 04/12
- Survey: eFiling of income tax
- Equity Linked Notes - are the terms fair?
- Build MRT internechange stations closer together
- Bus stops as landmarks
- Fear and consequence of retrenchment
- AFP:Hong Kong watchdog slams brokerage in minibond...
- Thought for the day: Exploitation by the Elite
- Banks get guidelines on treating customers fairly
- Fat fees for speaking engagements
- Honesty and rationalisation
- ▼ 04/05 - 04/12 (10)
- ► 2008 (2105)
- ► 2007 (1803)
- ► 2006 (696)
- ► 2005 (159)