Structured investments have been part of diversified portfolios in Europe and Asia for many years. While the basic concept for these products originated in the United States in the 1980s, structured investments 'compete' with a formidable range of alternative investment vehicles, such as individual securities, mutual funds, electronically traded funds (ETFs), and closed-end funds. The recent growth of these instruments is due to innovative features, better pricing and improved market liquidity.The idea of a structured investment is simple: to create an investment product that combines some of the best features of equity and fixed income - namely upside potential with downside protection. This is accomplished by creating a 'basket' of investments that can include bonds, CDs, equities, commodities, currencies, real estate investment trusts, and derivative products. The mix of investments in the basket determines its potential upside, as well as downside protection, tax implication, time horizon, and other considerations.