I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

July 26, 2009

July 27, 2009: Hybrid Investments: Have Your Cake (And Eat It, If....)

As investors, we as a species generally like to explore some of the more eclectic investment vehicles for fun, and sometimes for profit. FISN, the Federally Insured Savings Network has been at the forefront of offering sightly off-the-mainstream products to both retail and institutional investors for years.

Here are a few of their current ideas combining an attractive guaranteed interest rate, IF....

10 years (Years 1-10). The interest rate is fixed at 6.50% for one year and accrues daily for every day in the quarter that the 6 month US Dollar LIBOR rate is less than 6.00% and above 0%. Interest is paid quarterly based upon satisfying the above qualification. The interest accrual amount is adjusted each quarter. No interest is paid for any day the 6 month US Dollar LIBOR rate is greater than 6.00%. FDIC insured. $25g minimum. Callable quarterly after one year.

A similar product with slightly different terms is available at 5.75% interest.

5 Years. Interest rate is paid quarterly. The interest rate is fixed for the first year at 3.50%. For the last four years the rate is based upon the 3 month US Dollar LIBOR Rate plus 1%. Rate is adjusted quarterly during the last four years and capped at 5.25%. $25g minimum.

28 Months. S&P 500 Index Market-Linked Deposit. Interest paid at maturity based upon the change in the closing value of the index. Interest is paid at the rate of change, up or down, as long as the daily closing price of the index never exceeds a rate of greater change than 27% to 32% up from the initial value or greater than 15% down from the initial value. If the closing price of the index ever breaks out of the range,no interest is paid. FDIC insured. $25g minimum.

A similar vehicle is based upon the Russell 2000. If the daily closing price does not change greater than 40 to 50% or down 15% from the initial level, you get a nice check.FDIC insured. $25g minimum.

Annual interest is paid on several products based upon a basket of stocks. For instance:

6 years. Basket components are Abbott Laboratories, Amgen, General Electric, Kimberly-Clark, Metronic,Nike, Schlumberger Ltd., Target, Walgreen and Yahoo!.
Annual interest is paid based upon the average gain the 10 Large-Cap US stocks in the equally weighted basket. Each year the gain is recomputed from the initial average value to the year end average value. Interest is paid is there is an applicable increase. The gain is the average change in the basket value. Annual individual stock increases are capped at 11% to 15% per year. No interest is paid if the average is down. FDIC insured. $25g minimum.

Some other baskets include Astra Zeneca, Goldman Sachs, Infosys Technologies, Kraft Foods, PetroChina, Research In Motion, Sony, Toyota Motor, Vale S.A. and Vodophone. And, Wells Fargo, Honeywell, Nokia, CVS Caremark, Monsanto, Microsoft, Home Depot, Exxon Mobil,McDonald's and Costco.

Many others with stocks, various sector averages and maturities abound for the curious eye.

We all know that the "house" is mildly betting against you with the stips, etc. Still, I believe that some of these products look very appealing, especially for investors that are neither heading for the hills with dried food and a shotgun or expecting Dow 15000 anytime soon.

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