On April 4, 2011 in Sofia was held the 9th edition of the “Banks Investments Money” forum. The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria took part in its organization as part of its 20th anniversary celebration. Madlena Davidova, Vice President of the Club, together with the host of the event Emil Popov, Chair of the "Banks Investment Money" Foundation, EU funds Minister Tomislav Donchev, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Hungarian Ambassador to Bulgaria Judit Lang and Maxim Behar, CEO of Bulgaria's largest PR company M3 Communications Group, Inc opened Bulgaria’s top finance forum.
Bulgaria’s government is shooting at a 20% absorption rate of EU funds by the end of 2011, EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev announced at the beginning of the forum. He said that a total of BGN 3 B of EU money have been paid to Bulgarian beneficiaries to date under the EU programs, which “brings us not just asphalt, concrete, and bricks, i.e. infrastructure; it brings us competitiveness and work discipline, and improves Bulgarian institutions.”
Hungarian Ambassador to Bulgaria Judit Lang, who represented the Hungarian EU Presidency, pointed out the crucially important coordinated EU response for the recovery from the economic and financial crisis. She did say that before the crisis the EU member stated had failed to observe properly the requirements of the EU stability and Growth Pact, which led to unsustainable public debts, but contrasted this development to the measures taken in response to the crisis- including the future European stability mechanism and stability facility as well as stress test.
The head of the InvestBulgaria Agency Borislav Stefanov, one of the keynote speakers at the forum, declared that Bulgaria’s non-banking financial sector has suffered the hardest blow in the wake of the mass outflow of direct foreign investments from the country. According to Stefanov there are grounds for moderate optimisms as FDI’s have almost doubled to EUR 103.8 M, against EUR 57.3 M a year ago. "Investments are the main driver for small, open economies like Bulgaria as they bring fresh capital. Foreign direct investments are one of the main factors for the improved living standards of part of the Bulgarian citizens over the last few years," he commented. Most of the foreign investments in the last three-four years have been the financial, property and construction sectors.
Kamen Kolchev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Elana financial holding, said on Monday that Bulgaria's government should launch high-quality initial public offerings to bring back to life the capital market, dented now by low liquidity and lack of quality stock, according to experts. He added that Bulgarian state can play a crucial role by listing energy and other state-owned companies on the Stock Exchange because such a move will lift the country’s bourse to much higher levels of liquidity by bringing back the investors, while the indices will naturally adjust themselves after that. Kolchev attributed the sorry performance of the capital market at the moment to the fact that the foreign investors withdrew their IPOs once the crisis set in, but, more troublingly, still do not seem interested in coming back. In his opining the crisis taught many Bulgarian financial experts a precious lesson - not to rely on the local market alone.
Bulgaria has seen a boom of investment intermediaries filing for voluntary liquidation since the beginning of the year due to stagnation in the sector, Angel Dzhalazov, deputy head of the Financial Supervision Commission said. The trend started last year - the number of companies active in the segment declined to 55 in November from 61 in June even though on the whole investment intermediaries saw an improvement in their financial results for the period, shows a report of the regulator. "The global crisis is all about psychology. It will be over when all players on the market decide that it is over," he added.
At a glamorous gala dinner fourteen banking and investment awards were handed where DSK Bank grabbed two of the Financial Institution of the Year 2010 prizes: the grand prize of being Bulgaria's "Best Bank of 2010" and "Most Profitable Bank of 2010".