Domain Knowledge

What Does A Structurer In Investment Banking Do?

structurer in investment banking 1

Hello there! In case you’ve all the time questioned what a structurer in funding banking does, you’re definitely not alone! The time period “structurer” provides a connotation that one thing is being constructed – and within the context of funding banking, that’s definitely the case.

I feel the difficulty is, what precisely is a structurer, or extra exactly, a product structurer making an attempt to construct?

Nicely, they’re making an attempt to construct structured merchandise for the funding financial institution.

I do know, I do know – that also doesn’t assist an entire lot.

So what the heck is a structured product?

Monetary establishments are well-known for wrapping up their merchandise in obscure terminology that confuses and confounds the layman.

Hey, that was what prompted the 2009 International Monetary Disaster, wasn’t it? 🙁

On this article, I need to attempt that will help you perceive:

  • How product structuring matches inside the monetary ecosystem
  • What a product structurer does in an funding financial institution
  • What a structured product is (at a high-level, as a result of we might go on for days and never end)

Now, to be trustworthy, once I was writing this text, I considered totally different angles and views for bringing this info to you.

I might, for instance, offer you a reasonably exhaustive listing of structured merchandise like structured deposits, structured investments, capital protected and non-capital protected, with and with out obstacles and caps, and so on.

However I’ll depart that for an additional article (it’s simply an excessive amount of to speak about).

I additionally considered supplying you with some concept of what an precise structured product seems to be like on paper, i.e. the time period sheets distributed by banks will provide you with some concept what a structured product is.

In any other case – and I all the time have this sense – that you simply don’t truly perceive or respect what one thing is till you’ve actually seen and felt it.

However once more, it’s a subject for an additional article!

So for this text, we’ll simply get began with out additional ado.

1. How Does Product Structuring Match Inside The Monetary Ecosystem?

First up, let’s take a look at how product structuring matches inside the monetary providers business.

I’ve laid out a quite simple framework as you’ll be able to see within the determine under.

I’ll clarify the diagram a bit of.

Product Producers. Now, we first want to speak about Product Producers.

Product Producers are monetary establishments (reminiscent of funding banks) which “create” or “manufacture” merchandise.

In our case, they manufacture structured merchandise.

Consider it this manner – Apple creates iPhones, proper?

In the identical approach, an funding financial institution like Deutsche Funding Financial institution or UBS Funding Financial institution will manufacture structured merchandise.

Now, inside the funding financial institution, there are “product structurers”, who, with their toolbox of monetary engineering ideas and guidelines, develop structured merchandise.

We’ll speak a bit extra about structured merchandise themselves a bit later.

For now, simply attempt to perceive that Product Producers are usually funding banks who’ve product structurers who design and develop structured merchandise.

“Product structurers who design and develop structured merchandise.” (what a tongue tornado).

Okay, however I digress. Again to the subject at hand …

Product Distributor. Subsequent up, as soon as the Product Producer develops the merchandise, you might want to promote them to shoppers, don’t you?

Identical to how Apple could have a gross sales staff to promote its iPhones to distributors all over the world.

For instance, right here in Singapore, we’ve got native distributorships (e.g. Telecommunication outlets) which carry the Apple iPhone model and promote them to retail clients.

Now, this layer – the distributors – is what I time period the “Product Distributor”.

In banking parlance, a Product Distributor could possibly be a Personal Financial institution.

A Personal Financial institution might make an association or enter right into a partnership with an Funding Financial institution to say:

“Hey, I had a truck load of Excessive-Internet-Value shoppers and institutional shoppers who need to spend money on your structured merchandise.”

The funding financial institution can be tremendous and can promote the structured product to the Personal Financial institution at a sure “mark up”.

To be exact (and this isn’t proven within the diagram above) …

The product structurers within the Funding Financial institution would promote the structured product to the Gross sales Group within the financial institution (with a mark up).

The sale workforce then sells it on to the Personal Financial institution within the Manufacturing Distribution layer (with one other mark up).

The Personal Financial institution will then promote the structured product to the top shopper (with yet one more mark up).

So you’ll be able to see that within the worth chain, the top shopper has to pay for various “mark ups”.

So let’s now flip to the shopper layer.

Shopper. The shopper right here can confer with Excessive-Internet-Value people or Institutional shoppers.

These people are the large cash – and have a LOT of money to take a position.

However today, it’s getting robust for the Personal Banks.

I do know, as a result of in my day job, I service numerous the Personal Banks.

Lots of shoppers are literally asking why they want Personal Banks in any respect.

They ask:

“Why can’t I reduce the center man and do these investments myself?”

That is notably true in Asia, the place shoppers have a tendency to love extra management over their funds and select to do hands-on investing – via buying and selling platforms or making an attempt to undergo different various funding routes resembling hedge funds.

And right here’s one other factor …

The wealthy millennials lately are very funding and know-how savvy.

They’ve entry to loads of info and it’s actually arduous for Personal Bankers to place up smoke screens and attempt to “bluff” their approach by way of.

Okay, now that we perceive just a little bit extra about how product structuring matches into the monetary panorama, let’s take a look at one other variant.

Within the diagram under, you see that we have now a “Common Financial institution ABC”.

structurer in investment banking 2

Now, the best way this worth chain works is strictly the identical as what we described for the Funding Financial institution and Personal Financial institution earlier.

The one distinction right here being …

Sure, that “Common Financial institution ABC” bit within the diagram.

Now, a Common Financial institution is one which is an excellent giant international financial institution, which usually presents retail, business, funding and personal banking providers to its shoppers.

Some examples embrace: Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Deutsche Financial institution, Credit score Suisse, UBS and different massive identify banks.

Now, the important thing factor to notice about product structuring in Common Banks is that they’ve devoted Funding Banking divisions and Personal Banking divisions.

So, in our dialogue, the product structurer sits within the Funding Financial institution and manufactures structured merchandise.

The way through which the structured merchandise are bought on to the Personal Banking (on this case the Personal Banking “division” within the Common Financial institution) – very a lot stays the identical as per our earlier instance the place Personal Financial institution B was a definite, separate financial institution from Funding Financial institution A.

Case Research. Now, you could assume why am I certified to speak about structured merchandise. I’m an engineer by coaching and don’t have a background in finance.

So how did I study a lot about monetary devices and buildings?

For me, it was a really robust want to study extra concerning the banking business.

Once I was younger, in my work as a Enterprise Analyst, I used to be expert on this like Enterprise Course of Re-Engineering, use instances, useful necessities, and so forth.

However what I REALLY need to study was the business area.

So I went off to do a Masters in Monetary Engineering on the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS).

That made me much more certified to speak about banking merchandise and buildings – and to be trustworthy, it helps me until this present day.

Once I speak to merchants or Financial institution Relationship Managers, they’re very impressed that I perceive what calls, places, ELNs, warrants, accumulators and decummulators are, and so forth.

2. What A Product Structurer Does In An Funding Financial institution

Okay, on this part, we transfer on to the subject of what a Product Structurer does in an Funding Financial institution.

Recall that I discussed a structured in an Funding Financial institution manufactures structured merchandise.

Structured merchandise are monetary devices that are comprised of derivatives.

Now, in monetary phrases, a “by-product” is a contract that derives its worth from the efficiency of an underlying asset.

Discuss with the diagram under.

structurer in investment banking 3

This underlying “asset” might be e.g. your conventional shares, indices (e.g. the S&P 500), FX charges and others (commodities, baskets of securities and even issues just like the climate).

Now, the derivatives themselves take 4 widespread varieties: choices (calls and places), futures, forwards and swaps.

These derivatives are then mixed like Lego bricks to type a structured product.

What the product structurer within the Funding Financial institution does is to simulate these derivatives in a software program software, sometimes displaying the by-product “payoff diagram” (also referred to as a “revenue & loss diagram”.

If she or he combines derivatives (e.g. numerous calls and put choices), the last word mixed payoff diagram will change, till it finally turns into the structured product payoff diagram that the financial institution needs.

Right here’s an instance of a payoff diagram for an Fairness-Linked Notice (ELN) with a S&P 500 index (SPX) underlying.

structurer in investment banking 4

As you possibly can see, the SPX begins at a degree of two,600 on the time whenever you purchase the structured product.

Now, when the ELN hits the maturity date, e.g. say three months down the street, we take a look at the SPX degree once more.

If the SPX at maturity is lower than 2,600, we get again our principal.

If the SPX at maturity is greater than 2,600, we get again our principal PLUS an fairness upside.

The best way that product structurers in an funding financial institution create this type of payoff diagram is through the use of particular derivatives as constructing blocks.

And to be particular, for an ELN, it may be damaged down right into a zero coupon bond and a name choice (however that’s the subject of one other article, coz I might go on for days about that).

Definition. An Fairness-Linked Observe (ELN) is an funding product that mixes a hard and fast revenue funding alongside potential returns tied to the efficiency of equities

Now, as you possibly can think about, most structured merchandise are custom-made and one Funding Financial institution might produce one particular type of construction based mostly on e.g. the Dow Jones Industrial Common index, one other might create one based mostly on a gaggle of know-how shares.

Structured merchandise are principally “Over-The-Counter” (OTC) merchandise.

This implies they aren’t listed on an change and it’s essential to go to an Funding Financial institution to purchase them.

You speak to the Gross sales Group within the Funding Financial institution they usually’ll inform you how a lot, what the structured product is like, the way it works, and so forth.

Which usually is what we deem a “time period sheet” for a structured product.

Ensure you learn that time period sheet very rigorously before you purchase the construction!

three. What Is A Structured Product?

Okay, we’ve mentioned an Fairness-Linked Notice earlier.

However there are a LOT extra structured merchandise on the market out there – and they’ll confuse and confound you.

However as a result of I need to make it easier to perceive these merchandise, I’ll attempt supplying you with a top-down perspective 🙂

Structured merchandise might be categorised broadly into 4 classes, as proven within the determine under.

structurer in investment banking 5

Let’s speak about every of those in flip.

Now, clearly, these merchandise are MUCH extra complicated than what I clarify under – the thought is to only offer you an general really feel of what the merchandise are so you’ll be able to study extra by yourself, when you so want.

Capital Safety Merchandise. These merchandise, properly, shield your capital. Keep in mind the ELN we checked out earlier? That’s an instance of a capital safety product.

If the market swings downwards, you continue to get to maintain your principal.

If the market swings upwards, you continue to get to maintain your principal plus an fairness upside.

Some people might imagine, wow – nice. I’ll pump ALL my cash into these.

Now, cease for a second. Maintain your horses.

You should keep in mind that the payoff right here solely occurs at EXPIRATION. It’s a must to maintain you capital within the product till e.g. 5 or 6 years later.

Additionally, your unique principal invested would NOT be the identical worth six years later. It will have depreciated as a result of inflation.

These elements have to be thought-about earlier than you run off to purchase a Capital Safety Product.

Definition. Structured merchandise might be broadly categorized into Capital Safety, Yield Enhancement, Participation and Leverage Merchandise, every with various ranges of danger and return for buyers.

Yield Enhancement Merchandise. Now, yield enhancement merchandise are designed to let buyers revenue when the market strikes sideways or inside a variety.

That’s an fascinating proposition however it is best to keep in mind one essential factor.

Yield Enhancement Merchandise are sometimes NOT capital protected.

So do be careful for that clause if you’re contemplating whether or not to purchase one.

Furthermore, the “upside” that you simply get with a Yield Enhancement Product is often capped.

Participation Merchandise. Subsequent up, we’ve participation merchandise. These merchandise are fairly just like yield enhancement merchandise, besides that they sometimes shouldn’t have caps to the upside.

Now, in case you are not capped when it comes to upside revenue, you’d undoubtedly anticipate to endure extra losses if the market strikes towards you.

Keep in mind the golden rule of investing: extra income means you want to take extra danger.

Leverage Merchandise. Lastly, we now have leverage merchandise. Leverage merchandise permit buyers to realize an giant achieve with low capital.

However this leverage cuts each methods.

Buyers can lose massive time if the market strikes towards them.

There’s a cause why this type of product is on the higher proper aspect of my graph above – excessive danger, excessive return.

You’d need to be very cautious and know what you’re stepping into earlier than shopping for such structured merchandise.

In the event you actually need to delve deeper into structured merchandise, you’ll want to take a look at this hyperlink and this reference.

You’ll study a TON of stuff there.

Closing Ideas

I hope the above has given you some nice insights into what a product structurer in funding banking does.

We’ve checked out how funding banks manufacture structured merchandise and promote them at a mark as much as Personal Banks (or different monetary establishments), who then promote them onward to their very own particular person or institutional shoppers.

We additionally coated some factors about utilizing derivatives to assemble buildings and the way e.g. an Fairness-Linked Word may give both the principal or principal + fairness upside, relying on the place the underlying asset is at expiration date.

Lastly, we coated the 4 principal classes of structured merchandise on the market, and the way these give numerous danger and return profiles.

Till subsequent time, have enjoyable studying about structured merchandise!


P.S. I’m positive you understand that structured merchandise are however one a part of the banking business.

In case you want to study extra concerning the banking business usually, I encourage you to take a look at this text or my information e-book over right here. They include a variety of info on how one can decide up banking area information, which can enable you to in your profession as a Challenge Supervisor or Enterprise Analyst.


In case you work as a Enterprise Analyst and are struggling to know the banking area, there is no higher start line than my e-book, “Banking Area Information For Enterprise Analysts”. Inside, I offer you a strong overview of the banking business – from retail, company, funding to non-public banking.

I additionally current easy frameworks to offer you a broad perspective into banks’ enterprise fashions, clients, distribution channels and operations. Test it out right here.