Review Finanz und Wirtschaft Forum «Strukturierte Produkte 2018»

In mid-November 2018, the first Finanz und Wirtschaft Forum on structured products was held at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon. The conference discussed key questions linked to structured products, and examined the latest investment trends in depth. At the Finanz und Wirtschaft Forum, investors learnt not just how new technologies can be deployed in order to assess how effectively a product fits into their portfolio, but also deepened their expertise directly in parallel group discussions between the partners. Switzerland is a pioneer here: it has the world’s largest market for structured products, and also exports to Asia. Competition between the providers, the automated production of standard certificates as well as markets for bespoke products ensure transparency, reduce costs and mean tailored investment solutions. As an event partner, the SSPA played a key role in shaping the content, while Julius Baer, Lucerne Cantonal Bank, Vontobel and Zurich Cantonal Bank played a leading role in group discussions.

In his keynote speech, Dr Aleksander Berentsen, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Basel, identified Bitcoin as a possible component of a diversified portfolio, as the correlation with other assets is low. On the podium, Jürg Brupbacher, President of the Investment Committee of the Pension Fund of the City of Olten and founder & Managing Director of JBV Vermögensverwaltung AG; André Buck, Global Head Sales Securities & Exchanges SIX then held discussions with Prof. Dr. Maurice Pedergnana, CIO of Zugerberg Finanz and Lecturer at the Zug Institute for Financial Services together with Maurice Picard, Picard Angst AG, on the effect of structured products on portfolios.

Will there soon be cost transparency for structured products?

«If structured products were considered cost-transparent, would they then be more cost-transparent than investment funds?» asked Philippe Béguelin from the magazine Finanz und Wirtschaft of Vera Kupper Staub, Vice Chair of the Occupational Pension Supervisory Commission (Oberaufsichtskommission Berufliche Vorsorge – OAK BV) in an interview. The answer was in the affirmative. The Association is currently working hard to achieve this cost transparency.

Julius Baer, Lucerne Cantonal Bank, Vontobel and Zurich Cantonal Bank then presented select group discussions on the topics: «10 years following the collapse of Lehman – structured products from a treasury department perspective in the year 2018 – what has changed?», «Structured products within a portfolio context: Added value or merely apocryphal value?», «Topic investments: Swiss equities – expertise is the foundation of success» and «Use of structured products in fixed-income portfolios».

On the pulse of tome, Florian Müller-Reiter, Partner and Head Derivatives Technologies at swissQuant, explained how digitalisation in the investment process with structured products can get portfolios into shape. This was followed by a discussion chaired by Dr Thomas Hauser, Managing Partner at Dr. Pirmin Hotz Vermögensverwaltungen AG, and SSPA Chairman Georg von Wattenwyl, speaking for and against structured products. Oswald Grübel, former CEO of Credit Suisse and UBS, summarised the structured products day with anecdotes from his active career, and concluded «structured products are there to generate returns». And that is certainly what they do – for the innovative and flexible investment instruments mean that new prospects and appropriate investment solutions can be found even in challenging market Environments.

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