The plan’s booster feature will kick in if the index falls by more than 20 per cent. This feature calculates index performance on the final value of the index relative to its initial value rather than the percentage of the fall. This figure is then doubled to provide a total return. So if the index falls by 30 per cent, the final level of the index would be 70 per cent of its initial value. The booster feature would calculate the return as two times 70 per cent, which is 140 per cent. This would represent a full capital return plus 40 per cent growth.
When the index falls by more than 50 per cent, the booster feature will provide capital protection. If the index falls by 65 per cent, the final value of the index will be 35 per cent of its initial value. Using the booster feature, this would produce a 70 per cent return and investors would lose 30 per cent of their original capital.
Merchant Capital’s growth plan: FTSE bull & bear achieves also has the potential for positive returns if the index falls. It provides a return equivalent to 1.25 times any growth in the index or 100 per cent of any fall in the index up to 50 per cent after six years and three weeks.
To match the Morgan Stanley plan’s 60 per cent fixed return, the Merchant Capital would need the index to grow by 48 per cent. Higher returns are possible with Merchant Capital’s plan, but the drawback is that investors are fully exposed to falls of more than 50 per cent, which are cushioned by Morgan Stanley’s booster feature.