The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a message for investors considering lesser-understood investments as an alternative to traditional fixed-income and equity investments: caveat emptor.

Investments such as structured products, high-yield bonds and floating-rate loan funds hold the promise of high returns. And they may seem welcome alternatives at a time when the stock market is volatile and fixed-income investments are paying paltry yields. But they should be approached with caution, FINRA advises.

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