The University of Hong Kong
School of Economics and Finance
Due: April 24, 2015
Bruce Honiball’s Invention
It was another disappointing year for Bruce Honiball, the manager of retail services at the Gibb River Bank. Sure, the retail side of Gibb River was making money, but it didn’t grow at all in 2003. Gibb River had plenty of loyal depositors, but few new ones, Bruce had to figure out some new product or financial service—something that would generate some excitement and attention.
Bruce had been musing on one idea for some time. How about making it easy and safe— for Gibb River’s customers to put money in the stock market? How about giving them the upside of investing in equities—at least some of the upside—but non of the downside?
Bruce could see the advertisements now:
How would you like to invest in Australian stocks completely risk-free? You can with the new Gibb River Bank Equity-Linked Deposit. You share in the good years, we take case of the bad ones.
Here’s how it works. Deposit $A100 with us for one year. At the end of that period you get back your $A100 plus $A5 for every 10 percent rise in the value of the Australian All Ordinaries stock index. But, if the market index falls during this period, the Bank will still refund your $A100 deposit in full.
There’s no risk of loss. Gibb River Bank is your safety net. Bruce had floated the idea before and encountered immediate skepticism, even derision: “Heads they win, tails we lose—is that what you’re proposing, Mr. Honiball?” Bruce had no ready answer. Could the bank really aﬀord to make such an attractive oﬀer? How should it invest the money that would come in form customers? The bank had no appetite for major new risks.
Bruce has puzzled over these questions for the past two weeks but has been unable to come up with a satisfactory answer. He believes that the Australian equity market
is currently fully valued, but he realizes that some of his...
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