Banks are always looking out for 'The Next Big Thing' in structured products, and it seems Barclays Capital may have stumbled on it with its iPath exchange-traded note programme - at least, that appears to be the case judging by the number of rivals that have jumped on the bandwagon with launches of their own.

Exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are senior, unsecured debt securities of an issuer, designed to track a specified index. Key to their popularity in the US is a view that ETNs offer preferentia

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