Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

PIONEER'S CLIENTS KNOW THEY ARE MAKING A VENTURE INVESTMENT

Martin Dibble, Head of the Pioneer Mutual Fund Department Eastern Europe, to the BANKER weekly When speaking about himself Martin Dibble underlines that his life has been connected with two important dates in the history of Czechoslovakia. The Pioneer Fund's Head for Esatern Europe was born in the twon of Ostrava in the year of the Prague Spring - 1968 - when the Czechs tried to overthrow the communist regime. And he graduated in economics in Prague in 1989 - the year of the tender revolution. Initially, his carreer was conncted with the financial sector. For almost twelve years he worked in marketing and sales divisions of the companies Procter Gamble and Warner-Lambert. In 2001 Mr. Dibble won the contest for the positions of a marketing director of Pioneer Czeska Investichni Spolechnost, a subsidiary to the US-registered Pioneer Fund, which invests its clients' money in its mutual funds. At thattime the fund was already owned by the Italian UniCredito financial group, which purchased BULBANK in November 2000. In Pioneer Martin Dibble was appointed Head of the department, running operations in Eastern Europe.The Czech finacier loves sports. As a student he played handball, and now he is fond of skiing and squash. He prefers to spend with his family the limited spare time he has. He likes Bulgaria very much and intends to enjoy his holidays in this country, together with his wife and three children. Mr. Dibble, Pioneer launched sale of shares in its mutual funds on the Bulgarian market in the beginning of 2003. How do you appreciate your nine-month operation in this country?- We are pleased with the number of clients we have succeeded to attract. Most of them invested in at least two of Pioneer's funds. We are glad as this shows that Bulgarian investors know how to distribute the risk. Well, what amounts do Bulgarians tend to invest?- The average amount of investments is in the range of EUR4,000-5,000, which is surprising for us. From that point of view the investments made by Bulgarians in pioneer's funds are quite similar to those in the Czech Republic and in the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The difference is that the number of our clients in Bulgaria - only 600 persons - is considerably lower than in other East European countries.How can you explain that insignificant difference in the invested amounts, having in mind that per capita income in Bulgaria is much lower than in the Czech republic?- The explanation is that our first clients were from the strata of affluent and highly-educated people who possess sufficient money and do not need much time for explaining the advantages and risks of investing in mutual funds. In the next twelve months we intend to focus on that group of people and attract the highest possible number of such clients. However, our aim is to work with a wider range of investors. Therefore, we'll launch new products of Pioneer, intended to attract the interest of citizens with smaller amounts fo savings. If these plans of ours are realized, the average amount of investments in Pioneer's mutual funds will quite logically decrease in 2004, but the number of clients and the aggregate amount of money we manage, will certainly go up. Investments in mutual funds are principally considered risky. Do you explicitly warn your clients about that?- Yes, we do. If you open any of the contracts we sign with our clients you'll be convinced of that. There are specific texts in them, saying that the investment might bring both profits and losses. BULBANK's officials who sell Pioneer's products have been also instructed to warn the clients that this is a venture investment. We underline that this depends entirely on the market quotations of the securities in which Pioneer invests the money it manages. When you are selling ypur products to someone, do you inquire if he has paid his taxes? I'm asking that question because a considerable amount of the incomes in Bulgaria are not declared. - This is a problem to any of the developing economies, to a lesser or a larger degree. I'm not clear about the details of the procedure, but our partner BULBANK strictly observes the efficient Bulgarian legislation and the measures for struggling dirty money. In addition, the funds, managed by Pioneer, are traded on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange, and laws regarding money laundering in that country are some of the stictest. When closing contracts we have to reckon with both Bulgarian a Luxemburg legislation. We make everything possible to find out the source of the money invested with us. Therefore, it's quite difficult to use thses deal for money laundering purposes. In the notion of Bulgarian Luxemburg is rather a country with a very liberal financial regime...
- Luxemburg is a very big capital market. The volume of investments there is huge as compared to the size of that country. This is due to the fact that legislation in Luxemburg has cleared away all hindrances to investors. Profits from deals in securities, for example, are not taxed, although very big financial turnovers go through the Luxemburg Stock Exchange. I know that profits from deals in securities are not taxed in Bulgaria either, but the transactions on the capital market in your country are still insignificant and you cannot feel the effect of that.

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