Aviva buys Romanian asset manager

ROMANIA - UK-based life and pension service provider Aviva is set to take over Romanian asset manager Certinvest.

Aviva announced today it will purchase 99.8% of shares in Certinvest from Eugen Voicu, chief executive of Certinvest who controls 22.22% of the company, and the main shareholder the Romanian-American Enterprise Fund (RAEF), a private US corporation set up in 1995 by the US Congress.

"This acquisition enables us to provide high quality asset management services to our pensions, investment and life insurance clients," said Pierre-Olivier Bouee, director of Central and Eastern Europe at Aviva.

"Over the past few years, the open-ended fund industry in Romania has shown an annual growth rate of over 50% and we believe that there's considerable potential for that growth to continue."

Certinvest said earlier this year it might offer a private pension fund under the recently-reformed Romanian retirement system.

Aviva's Romanian subsidiary also got the go ahead two weeks ago from the Private Pension Supervision Commission (CSSPP) to sell a fund under the mandatory second pillar system, which will start accruing capital from next Monday.

According to its website, Certinvest - created in 1994 - is the longest-standing asset manager in the Romanian market and today specialises in open-ended funds.

Aviva began life insurance operations in Romania in 2000 and now insures over 400,000 Romanians.

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

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