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The Evolution of Structured Products for the Modern Era

April 2, 2024 | Last updated on March 25, 2024
7 min read
View from above of man and woman in business attire in a thoughtful conversation sitting on a bench among plants.
Bill Bamber, CFA
Chief Executive Officer
BMO Global Asset Management

By Bill Bamber, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Global Asset Management

When Deland Kamanga became the Group Head of BMO Wealth in late 2021, this set in motion a new chapter for BMO Global Asset Management. Given Deland’s background in both Wealth Management and Capital Markets, his appointment brought to the fore the concept of better uniting products and ideas that have typically resided on the Capital Markets side of the business and the beneficial capabilities offered by an asset management platform.

As we know, the Advisory model has undergone transformational change over the past decade as more and more advisors moved from being ‘commission-based’ to being ‘fee-based’. Most would agree that for both Advisor and client alike, this change has been beneficial. That said, some popular products, like structured notes, are still very much geared towards the commission-based model. At BMO GAM, we felt it was time to adapt the most popular product in the structured note space for those who sought a well-managed, efficient solution that worked well for fee-based Advisors and, by extension, their clients. Enter the BMO Strategic Equity Yield Fund (SEYF).

The SEYF, simply put, replicates a portfolio of autocallables that are representative of the most popular autocallable structured note offerings in the Canadian marketplace, with an investor-centric twist. As Advisors know, the Canadian structured note market is dominated by the ‘Big Six’ Canadian bank issuers. These issuers have served the market very well and offered an incredible array of notes throughout the years. Juxtaposed against the migration to a fee-based model, however, the array of transactions required to manage a portfolio of Notes can become taxing in time and effort. “Line-item fatigue” is an often-used phrase to describe the build-up of a large number of singular note positions across an Advisor’s book. The solution is a one-ticket strategy—namely, an allocation to the SEYF. The concept of a fund holding and/or replicating a portfolio of notes is not necessarily new; some of the first ones emerged in the 1990s abroad, but it is a newer concept in Canada. Much like the emergence of bond funds, a fund focused on replicating autocallable notes is new to many, but here to stay.

At any given time, there are between 150 and 200 notes available in the Canadian market. The sea change that the BMO Strategic Equity Yield Fund represents is that it recreates that exposure in an evergreen, one-ticket solution. Instead of having to do the considerable leg work associated with structured products yourself, an Advisor can leave it to our experienced Portfolio Managers, buying the Fund whenever it makes sense for clients and adding to your client’s position when needed. The Fund also satisfies investors’ ongoing hunt for yield with an attractive 8% target1 and low-to-medium risk rating.2 For Advisors who already utilize structured notes for some clients, it can serve as a time-saving solution—you could, for instance, continue to customize notes for larger clients while utilizing the SEYF for other clients who would benefit from a similar exposure.

Guided by our team’s 100+ years of combined experience in capital markets, BMO GAM is prepared to fully harness forward-thinking solutions like the BMO Strategic Equity Yield Fund and bring unique solutions to investors nationwide.

Sara Petrcich
Head of ETF & Structured Solutions
BMO Global Asset Management

By Sara Petrcich, Head of ETF & Structured Solutions, BMO Global Asset Management

I began my career in Capital Markets over 20 years ago. My focus then was on building custom solutions for a select group of investors—now, my goal is to bring those types of tools to a wider swath of Canadians.

One of the primary advantages of bringing Capital Markets tools into a mutual fund or ETF is, as Bill mentioned, the evergreen nature of the format. Whereas Capital Markets are transactional, there’s a certain permanence to investment funds—Canadians could potentially remain invested in the SEYF for decades to come, with the flexibility to adjust their position whenever necessary.

In my view, the three key benefits of the BMO Strategic Equity Yield Fund are convenience, cost, and accessibility. Unlike most structured outcomes products, you don’t need to be a large institution or put down a large minimum investment in order to access the fund—the SEYF is available at an MER of 0.73%3 and lower purchase minimums compared to buying an individual structured note. For IIROC Advisors, the Fund is a one-ticket alternative to building a portfolio of structured notes and makes it easy to invest new assets with consistency. For MFDA Advisors, it offers access to an entirely new asset class and yield profile, all in a familiar mutual fund format.

Our ETF & Structured Solutions team prides itself on collaboration and innovation. With both our experienced PMs and Structured Solutions professionals all under one roof, we strive to lead the market with cutting-edge ideas that lead to valuable solutions for Advisors and investors.

To learn more about the BMO Strategic Equity Yield Fund, contact your BMO Global Asset Management Regional Sales Representative.

1 Hypothetical Distribution Yield: For the F Series ̶ The hypothetical distribution yield was calculated by using the most recent regular distribution, or expected distribution, (which may be based on income, dividends, return of capital, and option premiums, as applicable) and excluding additional year end distributions, and special reinvested distributions) annualized for frequency, divided by current net asset value (NAV). Distribution yield is not an indicator of overall performance and will change based on market conditions, NAV fluctuations, and is not guaranteed.

2 For the F series. Risk is defined as the uncertainty of return and the potential for capital loss in your investments.

3 For the F series. The listed target Management Expense Ratio (MER) is estimated. As the fund is less than one year old, actual MER costs will not be known until the fund financial statements for the current fiscal year are released.


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Distribution yields are calculated by using the most recent regular distribution, or expected distribution, (which may be based on income, dividends, return of capital, and option premiums, as applicable) and excluding additional year end distributions, and special reinvested distributions annualized for frequency, divided by current net asset value (NAV). Distributions are not guaranteed, may fluctuate and are subject to change and/or elimination. Distribution rates may change without notice (up or down) depending on market conditions and NAV fluctuations. The payment of distributions should not be confused with a BMO Mutual Fund’s performance, rate of return or yield. If distributions paid by a BMO Mutual Fund are greater than the performance of the investment fund, your original investment will shrink. Distributions paid as a result of capital gains realized by a BMO Mutual Fund, and income and dividends earned by a BMO Mutual Fund, are taxable in your hands in the year they are paid. Your adjusted cost base will be reduced by the amount of any returns of capital. If your adjusted cost base goes below zero, you will have to pay capital gains tax on the amount below zero.

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