A Safer Bet in Risky Markets; Secure: Roger Bedford, with Wife Yvonne, Has a Bond That Guarantees a Return of at Least Ten per Cent

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Thestockmarketmayhave clawed back some of its losses, but it remains extremely jittery. Fundmanagers and other stock-pickingprofessionals claim they can spot areas of value. Shares in some businesseshave been oversold in the Northern Rock crisis, they say, and make attractivebuys.

But not many savers have the stomach for that kind of risk. A safer bet is thesort of stock market investment that is guaranteed not to go down - but whichcan lock in future FTSE 100 gains.

Guaranteed equity bonds (Gebs) tie up savers' money for a set period, usuallythree or five years. The investment is guaranteed not to fall in value and somedeals even promise a minimum return.

The real benefit, though, is that these bonds give all, or a proportion, of anygrowth in the market over the period.

Roger Bedford, 62, a retired company boss from Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, hasput a lump sum into a five-year Nationwide Geb that promises 65 per cent of thegrowth in a mix of stock market indices covering the UK, Japanese and Europeanmarkets. He is guaranteed a minimum ten per cent return.

Having started his investment after a big fall in the markets, Roger thinks hehas a better chance of them rising over the period. 'No, I don't mind at all ifthey fall further in the near future,' he says. 'But over the five years,they've got to go up, please.' The Footsie, which peaked at over 6,700 in June,began its steep slide in the middle of July. …