What are structured financial instruments?


structured financial instruments
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What is structured finance?

In simple words, structured finance is the use of complex financial instruments.

  • Structured financial instruments are riskier
  • It is mostly used by financial institutions and companies with unique financing needs

Some examples of structured financial instruments- Derivatives, Mortgage-backed securities (MBS), Collateralised debt obligations (CDO), credit default swaps (CDS), synthetic financial instruments & syndicated loans,

Derivatives

A derivative is a financial instrument that derives its value/ price from the value of another asset, known as an underlying asset. The common underlying assets are stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates etc.

The basic types of derivatives are forward, futures, options,  and swap.

Read more about Derivatives from the following article:

  1. Derivatives meaning
Mortgage-backed Securities (MBS) 

I had already explained MBS in an article on the financial crisis of 2008. The following is the extract:

  • Home mortgage loans are assets for the banks. In return for these loans, they get interest payment regularly and principal at the maturity of the loan.
  • Banks can sell these assets to other financial institutions. (transferring the stream of payments as well)
  • Banks are known as the originators of the loans/ assets
  • They aggregate all the mortgage loans into a homogeneous pool. Pooling is done to reduce and diversify risk.
  • They cut this homogeneous pool into tranches/ slices.
  • Then they issued securities backed by these assets. This security is Mortgage-backed security.
  • These securities can be traded like shares
  • This process is called securitisation.
  • If an investor buys MBS, they receive a proportionate share of principal and interest.
  • Investors in MBS include pension funds, insurance companies, foreign banks, wealthy individuals. It is also retained by the financial institutions in their own account.
  • To summarise, a security backed by home mortgage loans is called Mortage-backed security.

 

2. Collateral Debt obligations
  • It is a security backed by assets other than the mortgage loan. The examples of the assets are auto loan, credit card debt, education loan etc.
  • For CDOs, auto loans etc. are pooled together and securities are issued backed by them
  • It has the same mechanism as MBS described above.
4. Credit Default Swap: (CDS)
  • It is an insurance instrument. A mortgage-backed security investor can buy CDS to insure it against losses in the security.
  • The USA’s largest insurance company called AIG issued CDS to Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS) investors in return for a premium.
5. Synthetic financial instruments
  • It is used to create payoff of a financial instrument using two or more financial instruments
  • For example- you can create a payoff of a share of a company by purchasing a call option and selling a put option on the share.
  • Read this article to know what is call option & put option: Derivatives meaning
  • Suppose, I want to buy a share for Rs. 50 after 90 days. I can instead buy a call option and sell a put option for an exercise price of Rs. 50 which will expire after 90 days.
  • If the price of the share rises to Rs.52, I can exercise my call option (right to buy at Rs. 50). The buyer of the put option will not exercise his right (to sell the share to me at Rs.50) as he can sell the share in the market at Rs.52
  • If the price of the share falls to 48, I will not exercise my call option (right to buy at Rs.50). The buyer of the put share will exercise his right to sell the share to me at Rs. 50.
  • So, buying a call option and selling a put option is like purchasing the underlying share when the options expire.
6. Syndicated loans

A syndicated loan is a loan provided by a group of lenders to a single borrower. (Unlike ordinary loans where there is a single lender)

Syndicating the loan on a project allows lenders to spread risk and take part in financial opportunities that may be too large for their individual capital base.

Read more: Investopedia

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Have any Question or Comment?

7 comments on “What are structured financial instruments?

Manipal Singh

Q In case of synthetic financial instruments, the buyer will have to shell out the premium for buying both the put and call option. Say the price of a stock remains stable, then he would be at a loss. Am I correct?
Q In stock market, if we buy a stock and then we sell it at a premium or at a loss. But say I don’t own any stock of PNB and the news of the scam breaks. I can make a windfall if I use put option for a week and its stock collapses (like it did)?
Q In the def. of call and put option, a “specified time” is mentioned. How much is the min or max of this? Will this work intraday as well?
Q Will taxes be computed on call or put are similar to those calculated on stock market, like 15% if sold short (1 yr and profit is less than 1 lakh)?

Thanks for the wonderful explanation.

Reply
Mridusmita

Hello Manipal,
I have made an error in the article. It is buying a call option and selling a put option. We have assumed that the option premium is same, so it will not make any difference
Suppose, I want to buy a share for Rs. 50 after 90 days. I can instead buy a call option and sell a put option for an exercise price of RS. 50 after 90 days.
If the price of the share rises above 52, I can exercise my call option (right to buy at Rs. 50). The buyer of the put option will not exercise his right (to sell the share to me at Rs.50) as he can sell the share in the market at Rs.52
If the price of the share falls to 48, I will not exercise my call option (right to buy at Rs.50). The buyer of the put share will exercise his right to sell the share to me at Rs. 50.
So, buying a call option and selling a put option is like purchasing the underlying share when the options expire.
Hope it helps

Reply
Allu rajesh

Mam, I have one doubt market cap means no of shares multiplied with share value, here my doubt is no of shares means, total no of shares of that company or no of shares in stock exchanges,
I would be thankful to you Plz clarify my doubt

Reply
Mridusmita

In total market capitalisation, we take the total number of shares. We also calculated free-float market capitalisation. In this, we take only the shares which are freely available to trade in the stock market.

Reply
Allu rajesh

Thanq Mam, when we calculate sensex, we will consider which type of market captilisation of 30 companies

Reply
Mridusmita

Free float. You may read this article: /sensex-calculated-explained/

Reply

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