ECONOMY

Investors opt for mutual funds

Greek investment portfolios are showing a clear preference to mutual funds as they abandon their holdings in Greek banks, taking their deposits to safer destinations. The mutual funds market is estimated to have attracted a significant share of the deposit outflow, absorbing some 6 billion euros from a total of 20 billion withdrawn since early December.

The leading preference of investors is global asset allocation funds, mostly issued by foreign asset management companies, as well as by certain Greek asset management firms. The reason is clear, as it is part of efforts to minimize the impact of a possible exit of Greece from the eurozone.

This choice is also reflected in the data by the Association of Institutional Investors on the inflow and outflow of mutual funds in the last quarter. They show a clear preference to foreign mutual funds, in which about 559.6 million euros have been placed, while the outpour from domestic mutual funds amounted to 88.9 million euros.

Bond, stock or asset management mutual funds are sometimes chosen instead upon the recommendation of banks to clients who wish to take their money out of the country.

Bank figures confirm that the amount of money forwarded to accounts abroad does not exceed 4 billion euros in total, which pales in comparison to the 6 billion euros in new mutual fund positions and the outpour of 20 billion from the local credit system in the last quarter.

In some cases, this concerns corporate funds or household deposits by people who already had an account in a bank abroad and the money is simply forwarded there.

Meanwhile, a significant portion of depositors have chosen to put their money in safe deposit boxes or simply take it home, a practice that was very popular in 2012 when the deposit outflow had come to 15 billion euros in two months. In several cases small-scale depositors with a balance of 5,000 euros or less choose to withdraw their entire monthly salary instead of making gradual withdrawals.