Demand for investment products linked to baskets of mutual funds has spiked ahead of the year-end. One dealer estimated his firm has traded double the usual volume of options on mutual funds in the last month, in spite of a traditional slow down at this time of year.
The basket products are proving popular as poor fund of hedge fund performance has started to bite into investor's portfolios, and equity markets are performing well. Structurers said demand for mutual funds with capital protection structured through constant proportion portfolio insurance has also picked up in the last few weeks.
"There's been some reasonable size trades done," said one structuring head in London. The year-end push could also be due to investment product distributors readying structures for marketing early next year, he suggested. "There's more in the pipe line," he added. Mutual funds referencing emerging market or Japanese equity are topping the most requested list.