ECONOMY

Foreign investors in ASE

Foreign investors own a significant chunk of shares listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), according to comparative data on investor groups compiled for the first time by the Central Securities Depository (CSD) and the ASE, on the basis of Monday’s trading session. The total participation of foreign investors in the ASE is valued at 21.8 billion euros, or 22.27 percent of the total of 97.85 billion euros. Participation is significantly higher in the blue chips included in the FTSE/ASE-20 index, valued at 16.6 billion euros, or 32.09 percent of the 51.88-billion-euro total. Just under two thirds of foreign investment in ASE stocks (63.3 percent) is held by institutionals; 22.5 percent is held by other foreign organizations and 11.8 percent by offshore companies. The study shows that domestic private investors account for 30.9 percent of the ASE’s total capitalization and 21.12 percent of shares in the FTSE/ASE-20. Overall, the ASE emerges as a «retail» market with broad dispersion – fully in line with other developed markets. However, the study compiled by the ASE and CSD has two basic weaknesses; first, it does not provide separate data for banks and institutional investors (together, they control 17.6 percent of total capitalization and 15.35 percent of FTSE/ASE-20 shares), and thus does not reveal the exact proportion of shares held by institutionals in the ASE, although it is clear that this is quite low. Secondly, the lack of data on shareholder ownership does not assist in reaching conclusions on the respective weight of Greek private investors and foreign institutionals in the free float of the Greek market.The ASE and CSD said data will be upgraded and updated regularly.