BULGARIA – Unicredito's Pioneer Investments is to become the first foreign fund manager to launch products in Bulgaria.

Pioneer plans to launch five funds through another Unicredito subsidiary, Bulbank, which is Bulgaria’s biggest bank in terms of assets.

As Bulgaria moves closer to joining the European Union Pioneer believes the mutual fund market in Bulgaria will develop. Says Roman Pospisil, head of new markets at Pioneer: “Although the market does not look like it is improving at the moment, we want to be there, established and ready waiting for when it happens.”

Funds will be targeted across the range of Bulbank’s clients, although it is imagined that affluent investors and VIP private clients will be the first to take up the new products.

The five funds comprise two money market fixed income funds, one balanced fund and two equity funds, and it is hoped that 25 million euros will be invested by the end of 2003.

The products will be launched on January 22. Pioneer Investments manages over 100 billion euros of assets globally.