We kick of the new year with innovation and more crypto hires.

Finanzlab, a Swiss firm specialising in the design, selection and brokerage of custom structured products, has launched a new fund of structured products targeted at pension funds.

The fund was launched in October 2021 under Swiss law. The firm wanted to have a low-cost structure which meant it had to be the manager of the fund. The firm was licensed by the Swiss regulator (Finma) to be a portfolio manager which allows Finanzlab to manage up to CFH100m (US$108m) in the fund – this is not a hard limit as the amount can be extended by applying for another permit to increase the volume. The fund only invests in indexes and has very strict rules about the payoff used within the fund - it only uses reverse convertible and express barrier structures, according to the Swiss Derivative Map - 1230 and 1260.

These are barrier reverse convertibles and conditional coupon barrier reverse convertibles with some fixed parameters - a three-year maximum tenor, a maximum 60% barrier and denomination in Swiss francs. It also includes a callable option. 

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) has licensed the idDax 50 ESG NR Decrement 4% Index to issue structured products with efficient exposure to sustainability leaders in the German equity market. The index replicates the performance of the Dax 50 ESG NR Index assuming a constant markdown of four percent per annum, accruing on a daily basis.

Sustainability is an integral part of LBBW’s corporate strategy and business policies and is core to the product suite it seeks to offer clients, according to Jan Krüger, head of equity markets at LBBW. Structured products have been the vehicle of choice for many retail investors, in Germany and beyond, targeting ESG strategies.

Structured products collected sales of €387m on the primary market in Belgium during the third quarter of 2021, according to the latest figures released by the Belgian Structured Investment Products Association (Belsipa). Volumes decreased significantly: by 49% compared to Q3 2020 (€765m) and by 30% compared to the prior quarter (€555m). The volume adjusted share of capital-protected products as part of the primary market turnover fell 16% on an annual basis and 34% on a quarterly basis. The total amount invested by Belgian retail investors in structured products was €22.7 billion euros at the end of September. Assets held by retail investors in bond products were up 16% from the second quarter and nine percent YoY. The amount invested in structured funds and insurance products, however, continued to decline.

In the ever popular crypto world, crypto exchange Bitmex has hired Rupertus Rothenhaeuser as its chief commercial officer with responsibility for spearheading the crypto exchange’s ‘Beyond Derivatives’ plan to expand into spot, brokerage, custody, information products, and establish Bitmex Academy.

Rothenhaeuser has been charged with developing the exchange’s global client relationships, overseeing the commercial success of its range of products, and growing Bitmex’s market share in the crypto space. Reporting directly to the firm’s CEO, Alexander Höptner, he started his new role on 1 January and will be based in Asia.

He joins from Crypto Finance (Brokerage) where he spent the last year as chief executive in charge of the Swiss company’s digital asset services for banking clients.

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