Guaranteed investment bonds are a specific kind of investment offered by major financial institutions.
They are investments which offer “exposure” to stock markets or other higher risk investments but a guarantee of the return of your capital. Usually, at the price of a limit on how much you can make on the stock market side of the investment.
These were referred to as structured investments when the FCA reported on them in 2014 because this encompasses more general types of these bonds and deposits.
The key problem with these guaranteed investments was that the terms often meant that the prospect of a better return than an ordinary cash deposit was quite low.
Unfortunately to understand the likely outcomes and make an informed decisions required more information and clearer information than was provided by most structured product providers therefore these were often unsuitable.
Many people who invested did get their original investment back, but after 3 or 5 years, had made no interest. Had a fixed term deposit account been advised instead then this would have provided just as safe an investment along with some growth.
Other investments may be called “guaranteed” and this can be an indicator of an unregulated scheme which does not offer guarantees – these are quite different and are explained on Unregulated Investments