Vontobel continues to collaborate with Luma Financial Technologies on product offerings, while Lincoln Financial introducing the first dual trigger account in the US FIAs market.

 Vontobel is expanding the issuer offering for dual currency notes (DCN) and discount certificates on deritrade in the coming months as it continues to leverage its partnership with Luma Financial Technologies.

The Swiss bank said the partnership has been instrumental in ‘improving the product offering’ on the deritrade platform and has enabled an expanded choice for clients which can access pricing from a broader range of issuers covering various pay-off profiles on deritrade. In 2023, the platform added several new issuers including Luzerner Kantonalbank, Société Générale, UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank.

In the indices space, STOXX licensed a new ESG benchmark – the DAX 30 ESG index – for the German equity market to DZ Bank. The index was designed to expand the options for ESG investing in German equities and will form the basis for several discount certificates that will be listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Also, Solactive collaborated with UK exchange-traded products (ETPs) provider Leverage Shares to develop both fixed basket and single stock indices that will underpin Leverage Shares' new suite of long and short leveraged ETPs launching on the London Stock Exchange. The German index provider has partnered with UBS Asset Management for the launch of the new UBS (Irl) ETF.

Looking at the US market, Lincoln Financial introduced the first dual trigger account in the US fixed index annuities (FIAs) market.

Like the trigger account, the new dual trigger account will credit the trigger rate at the end of the one-year index term if the index doesn’t fall. However, the trigger rate for the dual trigger account additionally acts as a downside buffer, allowing the difference to be credited if the index decreases less than the reference rate.

The trigger rate has become the most utilised index account option at Lincoln for its “simplicity” after the insurer pioneered the strategy over 20 years ago, Kim Genovese, vice president, annuity product management at Lincoln Financial, told SRP.

Meanwhile, when market dynamics continue to puzzle analysts and commentators about the reasons behind the downward direction of the VIX index, SRP talked to Mandy Xu, Cboe's head of derivatives market intelligence, who sees "macro fundamentals – which impact all asset classes – are driving volatility lower, rather than anything equity-specific".

“We do not think the growth in option income yield enhancement ETFs or structured products is a primary contributor to the decline in equity volatility,” Xu told SRP.

Instead, she points to the “positive shift in the economic growth outlook from recession to soft landing over the past year, which is the main culprit behind the current low-vol regime.”

As SRP Europe 2024 conference wrapped up in late March, here are some spotlights from the panel discussions: At the actively managed certificates (AMC) session, panelists discussed how the wrapper is fast gaining the market’s attention, particularly in Europe.

“[AMCs] are in the middle – you have the flexibility of the structured product but also the potential dynamic capacity of the fund,” Jean-Pierre Ané, deputy group general manager and head of business development at French financial service firm Kepler Cheuvreux, said on stage.

In Poland, most structured products are offered under investment advice, and because of the distribution model, trends and directions are sometimes determined by the macroeconomic situation and the equity market investment cycle, according to Monika Pawlak, structured product manager at Santander Bank Polska, who spoke at the regional markets in Europe panel session.

“Our customers like capital-protected products with a relatively short tenor, which pay coupons that are defined at the beginning of the investment,” said Pawlak.

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