Factor Certificates Tutorial

Factor certificates employ a daily leverage factor that multiplies the daily performance of the underlying instrument. Unlike knock-out warrants and mini-futures, factor certificates do not have a knock-out barrier. To avoid a loss greater than the investment, the calculation resets intraday if the performance of the underlying threatens to render the certificate worthless.

Daily Leverage
The performance of the certificate is calculated daily, without reference to previous days’ values. If the underlying returns 1% on the day, the value of 3x certificate increases by 3%, a 5x by 5%. The next day the process is repeated, referencing the prior day’s underlying close.

As such, factor certificates are particularly suitable for day-traders.

However, for a period of more than one day, the cumulative performance of the underlying cannot be simply multiplied by a factor of 3 as the previous day’s price always forms the new basis of calculating each day’s performance for the certificate. To illustrate with an example:

Cumulatively, the factor certificate has returned less than 3x the performance of the underlying.

Intraday Reset
If an underlying for a factor certificate loses more than a certain percentage of its value intraday, the calculation is reset by simulating a new day. The reset threshold varies depending on the leverage factor.

Let’s assume a long factor certificate with a 10x leverage factor. According to the terms of the certificate, a reset will be triggered if the underlying loses more than 9.5% during the calculation day.

Let’s now assume that the underlying loses 12% of its value during a particular day. The reset
and final performance will be as follows: