NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Woolwich Plan Managers, part of London-headquartered Barclays Group and a provider of structured products in the United Kingdom, launched Woolwich Protected FTSE Hedge Plan, a 100% capital-protected vehicle meant to give retail investors access to hedge funds.

For a minimum investment of ?3,000 (US$5,377), investors get two-thirds of any increase in the FTSE Hedge Index over five years. If they maintain the investment for the full five-year term, Barclays guarantees that they will get back their initial capital whether the index goes up or down. But an investor that sells before the term expires may not get the full amount.

The product is available through Barclays Financial Planning from Sept. 1 through Oct. 22. Investment will start Nov. 1, 2004, and the note matures in December 2009.

This is the first retail investment product linked to the FTSE Hedge Index, according to Colin Dickie, product development manager at Woolwich Plan Managers. “The strict eligibility criteria for constituents of FTSE Hedge and the investable nature of the index make it an ideal basis for a product aimed at private investors such as the Woolwich Protected FTSE Hedge Plan,” he said in a statement.

FTSE, which manages a variety of indexes such as the often-quoted FTSE 100, introduced its hedge fund index this July, thereby joining a growing group of investable hedge fund index providers (see Previous HedgeWorld Story).

CKurdas@HedgeWorld.com

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: bkeane@investmentadvisor.com.