ECONOMY

Greek mutual fund industry is being enriched

Mutual funds investing in commodities and companies mining precious and non-precious metals are about to be set up in Greece. Greek private investors will be able to make placements in gold and reap capital gains when, for instance, the price of oil is on the rise or the dollar is sliding. The development comes as part of general mobility in the domestic mutual fund scene, where the search for new ideas for new products is gaining steam. Following the recent announcement of plans for real estate mutual funds – seven years after the introduction of the relevant legislation – and one for institutional investors only, large global investment houses, such as California-based Templeton, are now seeking Greek partners. The first proponent of the idea for real estate mutual funds, as Kathimerini recently reported, was the chairman of the Social Insurance Foundation (IKA), Yiannis Vartholomeos, who wishes to see an energetic management of the property of the country’s social insurance fund. The Employment and Social Protection Ministry is already preparing legislation that aims to remove obstacles that have hindered the development of property mutual funds. Realtors say the creation of such funds will effectively kick-start the liberalization of the market, which will called upon to face the strong imported competition. Separately, a new fund, the Global Optimizer, is being introduced by a foreign financial group and will start being offered to institutional investors soon. Templeton is said to be planning to launch four fund-of-funds in Greece initially but introduce its full range later. Commodities The mobility in the sector has also taken the form of discussions on the setting up of mutual funds investing in commodities, whose prices had seen steep rises before last month’s «deflation.» But unresolved legal ambiguities have now led to a lull in the discussions. In the same framework, an idea has been floated for mutual funds investing not directly in commodities but in mining companies. Separately, Piraeus Bank this week completed the transfer of the remaining 49 percent of its mutual fund partnership with the Dutch-based group ING to the latter’s Investment Management Europe BV. The bank will operate a fully owned mutual fund subsidiary.