US: Return to the reverse convertible staple

March 22, 2010

After seeing a more varied product mix recently, the latest offering for the US market has turned back to the ever-popular reverse convertible. There is a broad range of underlyings, but aluminium manufacturer Alcoa is the most frequently used.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s Reverse Exchangeable Securities linked to Alcoa are six-month investments. They pay 11.5% annual coupon, paid monthly with a barrier of 75%, after which capital will be lost at the rate of 1:1.

RBS and Barclays have both decided to issue reverse convertibles linked to the stock of Morgan Stanley, marking an irregular but continued interest in financials as an underlying.

Barclays has issued two notes linked to the bank, both are one-year notes, paying rates of either 8% or 10% annually, and both have an 80% barrier, after which capital is lost on a 1:1 basis. The RBS product is a six-month investment, with an annual rate of 9.75%, with an 80% barrier.