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Equity-Linked Note (ELN)


An Equity-Linked Note (ELN) is a debt instrument wherein the final payout is linked to the performance of an underlying equity, such as a stock or set of stocks. An ELN combines the features of a bond and a call option. The issuer of the ELN usually guarantees a return of the principal amount, unless a specified event occurs.


The phonetics of the keyword “Equity-Linked Note (ELN)” would be:Equity – EH-kwuh-teeLinked – LIHNG-kdNote – NOHTE – EEEL – EL N – EN

Key Takeaways

  1. Direct Exposure to Underlying Equity: Equity-Linked Note (ELN) is a type of structured financial instrument that provides investors with an opportunity to have direct exposure to the performance of a specific equity, such as a stock or basket of stocks.
  2. Risk-Return Profile: In ELN, the return is linked to the performance of the underlying equity. If the stock performs well, the investor’s returns are higher and vice versa. However, if the stock performs poorly, investors risk losing a portion, or all, of their principal investment.
  3. Useful in Diverse Market Conditions: ELNs can be useful in various market conditions. In bullish markets, investors can have an increased upside potential compared to a direct equity investment. In bearish or sideways moving markets, the protection features can help to shield investors against a portion of market downside. However, this means ELN is complex and may not be suitable for all kinds of investors.


Equity-Linked Note (ELN) is an important business/finance term because it represents a type of debt instrument that allows an investor to gain exposure to a specific equity, such as a stock or equity index, without directly investing in it. The return on an ELN is linked to the performance of the underlying equity or equity index. This helps to align the interests of the investor with the performance of the equity, offering the potential for higher returns compared to traditional fixed-income instruments. In addition, ELNs usually offer some level of principal protection, diminishing potential losses in the event of a poor performing underlying equity. Therefore, ELNs play a crucial role in risk management and in enhancing returns in equity investment strategies.


Equity-Linked Notes (ELNs) serve a pivotal role in the finance world by providing investors a way to gain exposure to a specific equity, a basket of equities, or an equity index, all without direct investment. Primarily employed as a wealth management tool, ELNs are hybrid debt instruments that yield a return indexed to the performance of underlying equities or equity indices. This gives investors the ability to capture the upside potential of specific equities while having a limited downside, as the invested principal is typically protected unless the note issuer defaults.The purpose of an ELN is to balance potential returns with risks, making it ideal for investors seeking to capitalize on equity market movements while insulating themselves from full degrees of downside risks. Also, ELNs offer a degree of flexibility that is not present in direct equity investment. For instance, they may be structured to pay a fixed coupon if the equity reference performs as expected, or convert into the underlying equity at maturity if the performance beats specified indexes. This unique blend of debt and equity-like features makes ELNs a versatile financial instrument, useful in various investment strategies.


1. HSBC’s Equity Linked Notes: HSBC Bank has often offered its investors various types of Equity Linked Notes. One such ELN was linked to FTSE 100 Index. This means that the returns for the investors who purchased these notes were tied to the performance of the FTSE 100 index. If the index performs well, the returns for the investors also improved.2. Citibank’s Equity-Linked Notes: In 2010, Citibank issued equity-linked notes that were tied to the American Depository Shares of Baidu Inc, a Chinese internet company. This was a unique investment option for people wanting to tap into the performance of Baidu without physically owning the shares.3. Morgan Stanley’s ELNs: Morgan Stanley has been known to issue a variety of structured financial products, and equity-linked notes (ELNs) are amongst these. For example, they issued ELNs linked to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF trust. Investors who bought this note were entitled to returns based on the performance of the S&P 500 ETF, less any accrued fees.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Equity-Linked Note (ELN)?

An Equity-Linked Note (ELN) is a debt instrument that generates gains based on the performance of a specific equity, such an individual stock, basket of stocks, or an equity index. The note’s return is tied to the equity’s return, providing investors with potential considerable upside.

How does an Equity-Linked Note work?

ELNs work by deriving their value from an underlying stock or market index. If the equity or index performs positively, the investor gets the principal investment back and earns interest. However, if the equity or index underperforms, the investor receives capital repayment less the drop in the underlying asset.

Who should consider investing in an Equity-Linked Note (ELN)?

ELNs are suitable for investors expecting modest returns and ready to risk capital depreciation in return for the opportunity to earn potentially above-average income. These investors must be comfortable with the possibility of receiving the delivery of the underlying equity at a higher price.

What are the key benefits of investing in an Equity-Linked Note?

ELNs offer a potentially higher return than the returns from traditional fixed-income investments. They also provide investors with an opportunity to invest directly in an underlying stock or market index. It’s a good option for diversification as well.

What are the risks involved with the Equity-Linked Note?

If the equity or index does not perform well, the investor could experience depreciation in the capital amount invested. Also, in the worst-case scenario, if the issuer of the note goes bankrupt, the investor can lose all the principal amount. So, it is essential to assess the creditworthiness of the issuer.

Can I sell my Equity-Linked Note before maturity?

Yes, it’s possible. However, the selling price will depend on market conditions at that time and might be less than the original investment, resulting in potential losses.

Is the interest gained from an Equity-Linked Note taxed?

The taxation depends on the jurisdiction of the investor. Generally, interest gained from an ELN is subject to income tax, and it’s best to consult with a tax advisor for specifics.

Related Finance Terms

  • Principal Protection: This is a feature of some ELNs that guarantees the investor will receive at least the initial investment back, regardless of how the linked equity performs.
  • Underlying Asset: This is the equity, normally a stock or group of stocks, that the performance of the ELN is linked to.
  • Coupon Rate: This refers to the potential periodic interest paid on the note, which may be dependent on the performance of the underlying asset.
  • Derivative: ELNs are a type of derivative, which is a financial instrument whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets.
  • Maturity Date: The date on which the ELN will mature and the principal along with the final profit or loss is returned to the investor.

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