EUROPE - Raiffeisen International has reported a 59% growth of assets under management in all of its Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) asset management subsidiaries, bringing the total to over €3bn.

In the course of 2007 the company wants to further extend its presence in the regions by opening asset management subsidiaries in Serbia and the Ukraine.

Currently, Raiffeisen International, part of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), has asset management companies in Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic. In addition, it has representative offices in Lithuania and Moldova.

So far, only 10% of assets under management in the CEE region come from institutional investors, a spokesman confirmed to IPE. But Raiffeisen is convinced that with further development of the financial markets the retail/institutional ratio will develop more and more towards the 50/50 division the Raiffeisen group sees in Austria at the moment.

Raiffeisen International sees a "tremendous long-term growth potential for investment funds in CEE," said CEO Herbert Stepic.

As an indicator for the growth potential he noted that assets under management for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia amounted to €20bn, which is close to 7% of the GDP at year-end 2005. In Bulgaria, Romania and Russia this figure was around 1% while in the eurozone total assets under management accounted for 60% of the GDP.

Raiffeisen International had established its first asset management subsidiaries in the CEE region in 1998 in Slovakia and Croatia. Meanwhile it is market leader in both regions with a share of about one-third.

One of the recent additions to the Raiffeisen CEE group is the asset management subsidiary in Bulgaria which opened in spring 2006. To date it has a market share of 17%.