Sun Hung Kai Financial, Hong Kong's biggest brokerage by market value, said it has sold more than HK$8 billion in retail structured notes since it launched the product four years ago. Demand for sophisticated investment products has led the firm to introduce 24 batches of retail structured notes, dubbed minibonds, since 2002. A typical retail structured product usually guarantees investors that they will get back their initial investments. Investors make additional gains if the stocks or indices to which the products are linked reach certain levels. Such products usually generate a higher return than bank deposits when interest rates are low, but their appeal fades when interest rates rise. Sun Hung Kai's notes were credit-linked structured products that comprise fixed-rate incomes and a variety of yield structures including an inverse floater (in which the coupon rate has an inverse relationship to short-term interest rates). 'In 2002, structured products were primarily for institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals from private banks due to their high minimum subscription amount,' said Christophe Lee, the chief executive of SHKP Fund Management, SHK's asset management unit. 'Over the past four years, we have seen a strong demand for [simply] structured products in Hong Kong's retail market.' According to a recent Securities and Futures Commission study, 147 retail structured notes were sold in the year to June, a 53 per cent rise year on year but off the 210 per cent growth recorded in 2004. Demand for retail structured note products fell 52 per cent for the year to June to HK$9.75 billion as rising interest rates boosted the appeal of bank deposits, the SFC study found. The price of SHK's shares has surged 254.88 per cent this year, compared with the Hang Seng Index's 17.93 per cent gain. The stock last traded at HK$7.63 on Friday.