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EBRD pioneers private pension management in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is pioneering the development of private pension management in Bosnia and Herzegovina with an equity investment in the European Voluntary Pension Fund Management Company (EPF) together with Skupna pokojninska družba and the Pension Reserve Fund of Republika Srpska.

The EBRD and Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF) will jointly invest BAM 1,452,000 (€742,500 equivalent) to purchase 33 per cent of the capital and voting rights in the joint stock company.

The investment will allow the fund management firm to become the first provider of voluntary pension management services in Republika Srpska, one of the two entities constituting Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will offer private customers and investors a wider choice and represent a major milestone in the development of the local capital market.

Local capital market development is one of the strategic priorities of the EBRD under its new transition concept. Under this plan the Bank aims to promote the six transition qualities of resilience, integration, inclusion, greenness, governance and competitiveness, which are key elements of successful and sustainable market economies.

Holger Muent, EBRD Director, Western Balkans, said: “Pension reform and the development of private pension management are challenging yet crucial steps as countries progress in their economic transition. The EBRD is proud to be involved in this effort as we aim to pioneer the development of local capital markets. Private pension management is highly sensitive and has to be handled with the utmost care and prudence, and our investment in the fund management company signals our confidence that this is what the company will do for the benefit of its clients and the market.”

Tomaz Zavrsnik, CEO of EPF, said: “It is a real privilege and responsibility to be the first pension fund management company in Bosnia and Herzegovina to receive an equity investment from the EBRD. This shows that the establishment of the voluntary pension insurance system is very important for the strengthening and development of the entire financial system in our country. We hope that the participation of the EBRD as an important and respected international financial institution will further contribute to the success of this process.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD has invested more than €2 billion in almost 140 projects in the country.

The Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF) is a €48.5 million fund supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with high-growth potential in the Western Balkans. ENEF works in cooperation with the EBRD in the evaluation and approval of projects. The EBRD is also an investor in the Fund together with the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Union (EU), the German Development Bank (DEG), the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) and the government of Italy.

ENEF is part of a larger SME platform, the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF), established jointly by the EBRD, the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, to support the development and strengthening of the private sector in the Western Balkans.

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