An Accelerated Return Note is a type of alternative investment product that lets you bet on a specific segment of the market, like the S&P or the price of gold or biotech stocks or…, for a fixed period, say 2 years, and they pay you 2x or 3x the performance increase of that, but set a cap of something like 30%. So if the S&P is up 10% during your period, they pay you a 20% return. But if the S&P is up 20%, they only pay you the cap (30% in this example). And if the S&P is up 40%, they only pay you the cap (30%).
If it goes down, your investment goes down the same, just as it would if you invested in it directly.
Essentially, you make a bet that something is going to go up, but not an insane amount, and if it does, you make out better than the market.
It’s an interesting and flexible alternative tied to any number of things and over fixed periods.