Saturday, 8 September 2012

"Nobody knows anything" study about financial literacy

Shocking study by the SEC from the US about financial literacy of normal people.

"....the agency gave 5,000 retail investors an online quiz in which they were asked to look at summary documents for a made-up mutual fund, then answer questions about how well they understood what they'd read.  ...... The results were about as dismal as you'd expect: "Many of the online survey respondents on the Brochure panel who claimed to understand fee and compensation disclosure in the Brochure, in fact, did not." ...... And then there are results like this, which reveal that even when retail investors read a financial document, their ability to understand said document is pretty limited"

For the full article please see this link while the full study can be found here.

In Hong Kong and Singapore, credit-linked notes have been marketed as "minibonds" and sold to individual investors. After Lehman Brothers, the major issuer of minibond in Hong Kong and Singapore, filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, many retail investors of minibonds claim that banks and brokers mis-sold minibonds as low-risk products. Many banks accepted minibonds as collateral for loans and credit facilities. Source: wikipedia

I went to the websites of the three largest Malaysian banks to check some of their investment products:

Public Bank

Maybank Autocall Structured Deposit: A simple yet dynamic investment opportunity for investors to ride on the next wave of China's equity market recovery.

Maybank 1Malaysia Momentum (M3) Structured Deposit: An investment, designed to give investors the potential to receive, among other things, an early chance of Money Back with an attractive coupon and a lump sum payment at maturity.

Public Bank  USA Recovery: A 5-year 100% capital protected structured investment product with the potential to capitalise on the recovery of the USA equity market where the risk of timing into the Investment is reduced with the Dollar-Cost-Averaging feature.
CIMB Dual Income Insurance Plan is an investment-linked insurance plan that offers you the opportunity to diversify your investment, as well as provide insurance protection should the unfortunate happen to you.

I would most certainly struggle to understand how these products exactly work, which product would be the most favorable (from a risk/reward point of view) and what exactly the implied fees of the banks are, despite having a masters degree in Mathematics and having successfully invested for over twenty years. Would other people have more luck in understanding these complicated products? 

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