Expect 2003 to be the toughest year for retail investments since 1988. So, this Christmas, the thing I want most on my wish list is a product capable of becoming the biggest seller for 2003.
The fund could be launched under the branding of Saviour Funds and offer the magic figure of 10 per cent net income (paid monthly, of course), potential for capital growth and instant access with no risk, providing the Romanian stockmarket rises by 5 per cent a year for the next five years. That should be no problem as the index is already up by 75 per cent in sterling terms this year.
The fund would use a highly original derivative trade to achieve the income with low risk. It would be so original and sophisticated that I would not remember how it worked.
However, I can vouch that the vintage port which would follow the Dom Perignon at dinner when this was explained would be very classy, so I am sure the product would also be top notch. After my sixth glass, my memory would be a little hazy. But one moment likely to shine out through the alcoholic haze during the dinner presentation would be the initial commission rate of 8 per cent, with 2 per cent renewal, making this a must-have product for all IFAs' bank balances.
The very nature of this sophisticated product means that the charging structure would be thoroughly opaque, which is excellent news as the client would just concentrate on the 10 per cent income.
In conclusion, if you want to retire at the end of 2003, this product should certainly be on your wish list this Yuletide.
Mark Dampier is head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown