Unusually, my last blog was rather prescient. I had bemoaned structures' lack of availability on platforms and predicted this regrettable impediment to growth was poised to change.
Then - and I'll resist a facetious urge to claim credit for this - Novia announced it was to offer a range of structured products on its platform. Well done Novia!
Crowing aside, Novia's move is another straw towards breaking the camel's back. Platforms can simply no longer shrug and say structures are not a priority: indeed, it was heartening to see Novia CEO Bill Vasilieff confirm the platform's decision was in response to "strong demand from advisers".
Our recent research unearthed a similar enthusiasm for platform access, but it is always reassuring to hear advisers are as forthright in their feedback to the platforms themselves.
Where has this demand suddenly sprung from? Clearly recent maturities have helped. Taking our products as a proxy for the industry, I'd say most investors have been pretty pleased with what they have received given heavy losses elsewhere.
Indeed, our recent maturities have all at least paid back investors' capital, and more than half have delivered returns in excess of the average FTSE 100 tracker fund. Capital protection has clearly been a huge boon in highly turbulent markets and advisers' perception of structured products has accordingly changed.
Will structured products gradually fall from grace once markets have been heading north for a while? I don't think so. Investors have been so badly burnt the pain of their losses will be scorched into their memories for a long time.
The last 18 months or so have been horribly difficult for investors, but they have also provided an excellent shop window through which structured products have been able to parade their wares. Record sales indicate investors have liked what they have seen.
All credit to Novia, then, for taking the plunge (plus a quick nod to Nucleus and Transact, who have been ahead of the game on structured products.) The door has been knocked ajar - all we need now is for the others to barge through it.
Colin Dickie is a director at Barclays WealthIFAonline
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