Local investors look outside Greece

Greek mutual fund investors pulled cash out of domestic equity and bond funds last year, switching into funds investing abroad for diversification, data showed yesterday. The industry’s assets under management totaled 24.5 billion euros at the end of 2007, down from -25 billion in November, the Institutional Investors Association said. For the year as a whole, there were net outflows of -1.51 billion. The industry’s 22 fund management companies ran a total of 329 mutual funds. «Many retail investors had come into the market at its 1999 peak and had been stuck with unrealized losses for a long period after the bubble burst. The market’s rise allowed them to exit without significant losses,» said Dimitris Liakos, business development manager at International Funds. Greek stocks gained 17.8 percent in 2007. Looking at returns, domestic equity funds returned 15.76 percent on average, with balanced funds up 7.72 percent and bond funds up 1.58 percent. The top five outperformers among the 58 mutual funds investing in Greek equities last year were HSBC Mid-Caps, up 26.15 percent, Marfin’s Athena fund (+24.15 percent), HSBC Growth (+24.03 percent), ING Dynamic Growth (+24.02 percent) and Bank of Cyprus Greek equities fund (+21.7 percent). The top three performers out of the 35 stock funds investing abroad were Eurobank’s Southeast Europe Opportunities fund, up 25.11 percent, Interamerican’s International Opportunities (+24.44 percent) and HSBC Emerging Markets (+23.45 percent). The average return in this category of funds, which must invest at least 65 percent of their assets abroad, was 4.03 percent.