Structured Product Design

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Written By
Contributor Image
Written By
Dan Buckley
Dan Buckley is an US-based trader, consultant, and part-time writer with a background in macroeconomics and mathematical finance. He trades and writes about a variety of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and interest rates. As a writer, his goal is to explain trading and finance concepts in levels of detail that could appeal to a range of audiences, from novice traders to those with more experienced backgrounds.

Structured product design in finance involves the creation of financial instruments that are tailored to meet specific investment objectives or risk-return profiles.

These products are often combinations of traditional assets like stocks and bonds with derivatives such as options, futures, or swaps.


Key Takeaways – Structured Product Design

  • Customization to Meet Specific Needs
    • Structured products can be tailored to suit individual investment goals, risk tolerance, and market views.
  • Risk and Reward Trade-off
    • They offer a balance between risk and potential return.
    • Provides capital protection with exposure to underlying assets’ performance.
  • Complexity and Transparency Issues
    • Despite their appeal, structured products can be complex.
    • Requires thorough understanding and assessment of their terms and underlying risks.


The design process typically involves the following key steps:

Identifying Investment Objectives

This includes understanding the investor’s risk tolerance, investment horizon, and specific goals.

These might include capital protection, income generation, or growth.

An example would be writing covered calls against a diversified basket of stocks that meet baseline implied volatility and market cap requirements.

This would be an example of a product for investors focused on income generation.

The trade-off is that they would forgo capital appreciation and still be exposed to downside risk.


Market Analysis & Asset Selection

Analyzing market conditions to select underlying assets that align with the identified investment objectives.

This could involve equities, fixed-income securities, indices, commodities, or a combination of these.


Derivative Component

Incorporating derivatives to structure the payoff profile of the product.

Options are commonly used to provide capital protection, enhance returns, or leverage investment exposure.


Risk Assessment

Evaluating the risk profile of the structured product.

This includes:

  • assessing the credit risk of the issuer
  • market risk of the underlying assets, and
  • the specific risks associated with the derivatives used


Pricing & Valuation

Determining the price of the structured product, which can be complex due to the embedded derivatives.

Advanced mathematical models and Monte Carlo simulations are often used for valuation.


Documentation & Compliance

Preparing legal documentation that clearly outlines the terms and conditions, risks, and costs associated with the product.

Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements is important.


Marketing & Distribution

Tailoring the marketing strategy to target the right investors, which can range from retail to institutional clients.

Distribution channels could include banks, broker-dealers, or financial advisors.


Ongoing Monitoring & Management

Post-issuance, structured products require continuous monitoring of the underlying assets and market conditions.

Adjustments may be necessary in response to significant market movements or changes in the investor’s circumstances.



Structured products offer customization and can be effective for portfolio diversification, risk management, and achieving specific outcomes.

At the same time, they can also be complex and carry risks and fees that aren’t always apparent, so they require careful consideration and understanding from both issuers and investors.