Saturday, 14 June 2008

Investment Warrants

I came across this special type of warrant few months ago and I find it was quite an interesting derivative instrument that is very different from the usual plain vanilla warrant.

From what I know now is that the only issuer for Investment Warrant is Macquarie. I have gathered some information from their website and re-posted it here. If you are interested to know more, there is an upcoming free seminar on the 18th June 2008 talking about Investment Warrant. You can register here.

Macquarie’s Investment Warrants allow you to get exposure to shares at a fraction of the price. With Investment Warrants you can:

  • gain long term exposure for a fraction of the share price
  • limit your capital at risk
  • increase your effective dividend yield

Investment Warrants have longer expiry dates, lower holding costs and a lower risk profile than Trading Warrants. They are suitable for both short term and long term investment horizons.

If you recall the first post on Analysis of Warrant Data I posted in early January this year, you will notice the warrant name has an additional “I” to indicate that it is an investment warrant, e.g. COSCOCORP MBL ICW90403. Also note that by its definition, there is only investment call warrant and no such thing as investment put warrant.

What is an Investment Warrant?

An Investment Warrant enables you to buy shares in two payments. You pay a fraction of the share price up front and get exposure to the capital movements in the underlying share and all of the ordinary dividends over the life of the warrant.

Generally, the price of an Investment Warrant will move in line with movements in the underlying share and, because warrants are only a fraction of the price of the underlying share, they tend to move in greater percentages than the share price.

Investment Warrants also give you a payment equivalent to 100% of the ordinary dividends of the underlying shares. This is something that normal derivative instruments do not offer. Hence, in a way Investment Warrants therefore allow you to potentially earn a greater return than you might achieve by owning the share itself (see example below).

Investment Warrants give you:

  • the right to buy a share
  • at a specific price (called the exercise price)
  • on a specific date (called the expiry date)
  • the equivalent of 100% of the ordinary dividends throughout the life of the warrant

Investment Warrants are listed on the SGX so you can buy and sell them at any time, just like shares.

At the expiry of the warrant you have the option to either pay the exercise price and take delivery of the shares or simply receive the cash settlement amount (if any).

Benefits of Investment Warrants

  • Greater return potential – through the effect of gearing, price movements are magnified
  • Longer term exposure – lower holding costs mean Investment Warrants are suitable for both short and long term investments
  • No Margin calls - increase your exposure to shares without the risk of margin calls
  • Physical settlement – option to exercise and take delivery of the fully paid shares at expiry
  • Enhanced Dividend Yield – holders receive the equivalent of 100% of the ordinary dividends of the underlying share for less outlay

Warrants enable investors to spend less up front, diversify their investments, potentially accelerate their growth and meet their investment objectives sooner.

Who would use Investment Warrants?

You might use Investment Warrants if:

  • you are a long-term investor looking for a lower risk way to increase your investment returns
  • you are a trader with a positive view on an underlying share and you want a moderately geared alternative
  • you are an existing shareholder and want to unlock some capital from your portfolio by switching from shares into Investment Warrants

How Investment Warrants work

If you believe DBS shares will rise, you may wish to leverage your view by buying Investment Warrants over DBS shares. A hypothetical example is shown below:

Instead of purchasing the DBS share at $21.00 you can buy the Investment Warrant for only $7.30 to gain exposure to the performance of the DBS shares. During the life of the DBS Investment Warrant, the warrant price will tend to move up and down in line with the DBS share price. Investors may increase or exit their investment at any time by buying or selling the Investment Warrants on the SGX. The investor will also receive the equivalent of 100% of the ordinary dividends paid by DBS throughout this term.

At the expiry, if the investor is still holding the warrant they may either pay the exercise price of $15 and take delivery of the DBS shares or they can choose to receive the cash settlement value (if any).

  • The cash settlement at expiry is calculated using the following formula:
    (Share price - Exercise price) x conversion ratio
  • For example, if DBS is at $24 at expiry the warrant value would be:
    ($24.00 - $15.00) x 1 = $9.00

How gearing can boost your return

One of the main advantages of warrants is ‘gearing’, meaning a warrant provides the holder with an increased exposure to the underlying share. Therefore, a small percentage change in the price of the share can lead to a large percentage change in the value of the equity warrant.

The added advantage of Macquarie’s Investment Warrants is the increased effective dividend yield. The holder of an Investment Warrant is entitled to a payment equivalent to 100% of the ordinary dividends in the underlying share; however as the warrant price is only a fraction of the share price the effective dividend yield to the holder is increased.

Here is a hypothetical example:

It’s important to remember leverage works in both directions, so a fall in the share price would also cause a greater percentage fall in the value of the warrant. It is also important to be aware that Investment Warrants will expire worthless if the share price is at or below the exercise price at expiry.

Using Investment Warrants to release capital from your portfolio

Investment warrants are a convenient and lower risk alternative to release capital from your portfolio. If you have an existing share holding you can switch into a Macquarie Investment Warrant by selling the shares and buying Warrants. By doing so you will maintain exposure to the share movements and dividends while releasing capital for other investments.

Here is a hypothetical example:

Advantages of Investment Warrants over other financing facilities

  • Ability to leverage above 70%
  • Limited downside
  • No margin calls

There is always some risks in any kind of investment may it be stock, plain vanilla warrant or option etc. Hence the same goes for Investment Warrant. Please do some homework and understand the risks and rewards of this new derivative instrument better before risking your hard earned money in it.

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