Complex Instruments Appropriateness Test

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive's appropriateness requirements apply where firms sell products without advice. Defining a product as 'complex' means firms selling these products without advice will need to assess whether a potential purchaser has the necessary experience and knowledge to understand the product they wish to purchase - this is the 'appropriateness test'.

The following types of investment instrument are deemed 'Complex.'

Instrument Type
Subordinated Debt Instruments Subordinated debt is a loan or security that ranks below other loans and securities with regard to claims on a company's assets or earnings. Subordinated debt is also known as a junior security or subordinated loan.
Unlisted Equity An unlisted security is a financial instrument that is not traded on an exchange, but through the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Market makers facilitate the buying and selling of unlisted securities in the OTC market. Because they are not exchange traded, unlisted securities can be less liquid than listed securities.
Index-Linked Debt An index-linked bond is a bond in which payment of interest income on the principal is related to a specific price index, usually the Consumer Price Index. This feature provides protection to investors by shielding them from changes in the underlying index.
Callable Bonds A callable bond (also called redeemable bond) is a type of bond (debt security) that allows the issuer of the bond to retain the privilege of redeeming the bond at some point before the bond reaches its date of maturity.
Asset Backed Securities An asset-backed security (ABS) is a security whose income payments and value are derived from and collateralized (or "backed") by a specified pool of underlying assets. The pool of assets is typically a group of small and illiquid assets which are unable to be sold individually.
Participating Capital and Convertible Preference shares The term participating convertible preferred stock refers to a security commonly issued as part of venture capital financing. Participating convertible preferred stock provides the holder with the rights to both dividends as well as a conversion feature.
Perpetual Bonds Perpetual bond, which is also known as a perpetual or just a perp, is a bond with no maturity date. Therefore, it may be treated as equity, not as debt. Issuers pay coupons on perpetual bonds forever, and they do not have to redeem the principal.
Convertible Debt In finance, a convertible bond or convertible note or convertible debt (or a convertible debenture if it has a maturity of greater than 10 years) is a type of bond that the holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company or cash of equal value.
Subscription Shares Newly issued securities that an investor has agreed or stated their intent to buy prior to the issue date. When investors use rights, they expect to own the designated number of shares to which they have subscribed once the offering is complete.
Puttable Bonds A Puttable bond is a bond with an embedded put option. The holder of the puttable bond has the right, but not the obligation, to demand early repayment of the principal. The put option is exercisable on one or more specified dates.
Stepped Coupon Bonds An interest paying bond whose coupons change to pre-determined levels on specific dates.
Equity Linked Notes An equity linked note (or ELN) is a debt instrument that varies from a standard fixed-income security in that the coupon is built on the return of a single stock, basket of stocks, or equity index, otherwise known as the underlying equity.
Derivatives and Structured/Hybrid Products In structured finance, a structured product, also known as a market-linked investment, is a pre-packaged investment strategy based on a single security, a basket of securities, options, indices, commodities, debt issuance or foreign currencies, and to a lesser extent, derivatives. A hybrid product is a combination of two or more types of financial products. The combination of annuities and long-term care insurance provides an example of a hybrid product.
Mortgage Backed Securities A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security that is secured by a mortgage or collection of mortgages. The mortgages are sold to a group of individuals (a government agency or investment bank) that securitizes, or packages, the loans together into a security that investors can buy.
Exchange Traded Commodities Commodity ETFs are exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in physical commodities, such as agricultural goods, natural resources and precious metals. A commodity ETF is usually focused on either a single commodity, holding it in physical storage, or it is focused on investments in futures contracts.
Composite Units A composite unit is a set of different products grouped together in proportion to their sales mix. In other words, its' a way to categorize and group products from different business segments together in an effect to manage sales, inventory levels, and break-even points.
Defaulted Bonds In finance, default is failure to meet the legal obligations (or conditions) of a loan, for example when a home buyer fails to make a mortgage payment, or when a corporation or government fails to pay a bond which has reached maturity.
Contingent Convertible Debt (CoCo Bonds) Contingent convertible securities, otherwise known as 'CoCos', are hybrid securities issued by banks as debt instruments (e.g. bonds) and automatically converted into equity shares if a contractually pre-defined 'trigger event' occurs.

If you would like to invest in a complex Instrument, you will need to complete and return a Complex Instrument Appropriateness Test. Please click here to download the form.

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