Lowes Financial Management has launched a structured products website targeted at IFAs to help them compare plans from across the market.
Managing director Ian Lowes says the website should help improve the reputation of the structured product market, as well as prompt healthy competition between providers.
Searches can be filtered by nine different criteria including: growth/income, index link, protection level and counterparty risk. The website also provides commentary on Lowes' ‘preferred plans', details of which plans are due to mature, as well as an archive.
The launch comes as the structured product market has been left reeling from the collapse of Lehman-backed plans and providers NDFA, DRL and Arch Capital & Income going into administration.
In its latest review of the structured products market, the FSA also highlighted some advisers' lack of knowledge about the products, even though they had recommended them to clients.
Lowes says events such as those connected with Lehman Brothers and the collapse of Keydata led to requests from investors and IFAs for a comparison website.
"We carried out a client survey in May and the website is one of the things to come out of it. We decided to widen it out to IFAs as there is no doubt the majority of the marketing of these products is done by the people selling them.
"Also, when you set up a website for investment professionals you don't have to be as restrictive about what you put up," he says.
Lowes defends his firm's decision to reveal its preferred plans: "We have a pretty good track record. We began saying in March 2008 that clients should stay clear of Lehman Brothers because of what was happening in financial markets.
"In an ideal world, I hope the site will help sell the development of the structured products market."
This is not the first time Lowes has set up a comparison website. The structured product specialist launched a similar web page in 2000 which ran for about six years. It followed investor demand for information during the fall-out from the collapse of precipice bonds, although Lowes had not recommended the plans.
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