Be careful about getting lulled into structured mess

This is very different than a CD, which comes from a bank with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection up to $250,000. And it's different than a U.S. Treasury bond, backed entirely by the U.S. government.

In a report issued recently by Demos, a think tank, author John Wasik estimated that banks and brokers sold more than $52 billion of structured products last year, and that individuals have lost at least $113 million in them. Top providers are Morgan StanleyBank of America, Barclays, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, the report said. The report called on regulators to do more to protect seniors, often easy targets because brokers and other advisers suggest the notes carry protection.