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I think we can all agree on two things - the future of the European insurance
market is in the Central and Eastern part of the continent and the first
step in order to enter this new market is to know it and understand it.
I was frequently asked why more and more companies from Central and Eastern Europe and especially from the former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Republic of Moldavia etc.) annually participate at FIAR - The International Insurance - Reinsurance Forum in Sinaia, Romania.
The answer is rather simple - because Romania was, is and will be the best communication and understanding bridge between the West and the East of the old continent.
Thereby it is perfectly explicable that our strategy of promoting Eastern European companies can now be translated into know-how of their realities, development and potential.
What better proof could we present you in order to sustain our arguments but the recent Memorandum for good cooperation and mutual promotion recently signed in Yalta between The League of Insurance Organizations of Ukraine and Media XPRIMM.
So, if you want to connect yourselves to the activities within these areas, which will prove to be vital for the future of the European insurance market, we will be happy to have you as guests between the 19th and the 23rd of May at the 11th edition of FIAR.
with Mr. Peter KRISTOFOVIC,
Peter KRISTOFOVIC: Our plan is to become, in due time, the largest, the most important independent financial advisor on the Romanian market. The arguments upon which this statement is based lies in the brand new model of financial advisory that will set a new benchmark for the market. This model is already very popular in the United States, where the financial intermediation market is a lot more developed than the European one.
I have been in this business for over 15 years and the way we do business is not based on multilevel marketing, we have a hierarchy similar to general insurance companies. In order to be more specific I can tell you that in Romania we will have over 30 branches where all the employees are working full-time.
Our group's business has evolved during time and now we cover financial segments like life and non-life insurance, investment funds or pension schemes. Our goal is to become a sole financial advisor for each of our clients and develop a custom made personal financial plan for each individual or each company that we work for.
One of our main goals at this present stage is to have notebooks with specially designed software for our staff. This special software has already been tested in the Czech Republic. Technology is very important for our business and that is why we will have an internet portal for our activities in Romania. This portal will serve both clients and employees as it will be used both for sales purposes and for training and e-learning activities for our personnel.
At SALVE Group we are trying to be as innovative as possible. During my activity I have noticed that the American market has served as a source of inspiration for the European one. I am not waiting for the American trends to cross the ocean; I am observing them and implementing the most appropriate ones in our business. That is why I have spent two months in the US in order to get acquainted with the latest trends on the intermediation market. I would like to give you another example of ideas that we have implemented in our activity is that we have a database with all our clients and their accounts and we are managing each client's needs, using the database to expand the services provided to them. I feel that people are getting needier, needy for financial advice in many sectors. People will need an advisor for every area of their personal finances, from mortgages to savings, to insurances, to investments.
XPRIMM: What are the strategies upon which your activity in Romania will be based on?
P. K.: Human resources are a very important chapter in the history of our business and we are glad that valuable people from insurance companies are migrating to intermediation companies. Thus, during time, we gathered in our company a valuable group of specialists. The specialists that I am talking about are ready to bring their know-how to Romania. Their experience and spirit of innovation will bring Romanians a new distribution channel for financial products: the internet portal. People will be able to buy financial products or seek advice about financial products through our portal. This portal has to be user-friendly first of all and second of all it must serve as a communication bridge between clients and our advisors. I don't think that an all automated portal would be better, as human interaction is not to be forgotten.
The SALVE Group believes in technology and internet. I personally think that technology will help us reach new heights in our business. That is why we are pioneers in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of introducing internet as a distribution channel and call-centers for advisory purposes.
In what concerns our strategies for the Romanian market one must know that information doesn't mean knowledge. And what I mean by that is even that most of our competitors have gather enough information on the pension system we still keep a competitive edge as we have experienced the same process in Slovakia. As I have mentioned earlier we have always looked for the best specialist everywhere we went: Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ukraine. Romania makes no exception as we have managed to put together a group of Romanian and Slovak specialists amongst which Romeo JANTEA and Mihai SEITAN. Both of them are leading specialists in pensions and insurances.
I like to thing about my teams as people on a bus going on a trip. If the people are nice and pleasant the trip will be pleasant as well, but if they aren't than you have a problem. The symbiosis between the Slovak experienced specialists and the Romanian ones is, in my opinion, one that will bring us success.
The service team for the Romanian market has already been tested on other markets, like the Czech one. On the other hand I would like to mention that we are currently undergoing the training process. The trainings are held by our Slovak specialists who are now helping our Romanian personnel to understand the system and to benefit from their experience.
Our preparations are heavily underway as we have covered most of the territory and we are also proud to say that we already have 10,000 people ready and in training for our future operations in Romania. We will share with our new staff our know-how and they will be focused on Pillar II pensions.
In what concerns Pillar III I can tell you that we will focus on this type of pensions after the Pillar II pensions' first subscription period is over. I feel that we must focus on these four months of subscription as it is one of the main financial events in Romania.
XPRIMM: What could you tell us about the SALVE Group's history?
P. K.: This is one my favorite topics as it means talking about my company's success. I have started when I was 20 years old, in 1992 and I have entered this adventure, of having my own company, in 1996. The company grew, but I needed an investor, which came from the US and has helped me expand the business.
From 2006 we are totally independent and we are now perfectly capable of financing our activities and plans, like our expansion in Ukraine or Romania.
Our development strategy includes countries from the Eastern block as I feel we have a competitive advantage over western companies as we can fully understand the mentality in former socialist countries.
During the company's history I was lucky enough to meet the right people along the way, people that have been very important assets to the company's growth. I can give some examples like the CEO of ALLIANZ Slovakia or the CEO of ALLIANZ Pensions Slovakia whom have joined the ranks of our top management and have helped us develop the business.
XPRIMM: Could you compare the two private pension systems, in Romania and Slovakia?
P. K.: First of all, this reform is a historical event and I am giving it its worthy importance as I am currently dedicating 50% of my time to this emerging market.
I know this process is hard, because in Slovakia it was as it generates huge political debate and it was quickly turned into a political weapon by both left and right wing parties. As it was set up the private pension system meant a big threat for the state budget.
I feel that the Romanian model is the wiser one as the percentage, at first, that is going to be allocated to private pension funds is lower and it is set-up to grow constantly over a certain period of time. This approach is wiser as it has a good psychological effect on the potential contributors.
Even if I started this comparison with a difference between the two systems I do feel that the Slovakian model was one of the models taken under consideration by the Romanian legislators.
There are things I admire in the Romanian private pension system, one of which is the licensing process which I consider to be better and even more fair than the Slovak one. Unfortunately, in Slovakia, the state turned the licensing process into a very profitable business. Even the tests that a marketing agent had to pass were really missing the important aspects of an agent's activity. I have, personally, passed this test I can honestly tell you that most of the aspects included in the test were of no use in my activity as a marketing agent for private pension funds.
In Romania brokers can be independent as they can sell products from different companies, which in Slovakia didn't happen. There was this big anomaly with the system as pension brokers could only sell products of one single company. Of course, most of the market participants established more companies in order to fulfill their role as consultants.
But there are aspects of the Romanian private pension system that I feel could be improved. For example, for each subscription one needs a copy of the ID, which could prove to be very hard in a remote village in the mountains. Also, the registration process with the National Pension House is one of the biggest challenges the system has to offer as it can prove to be very long and complicated at the same time.
XPRIMM: Thank you!
A EUR 90 million transaction
On 17th of October, Banca TRANSILVANIA and GROUPAMA signed the contract through which the French company becomes the unique shareholder of BT Asigurari.
Aside from the transaction, the parties established an exclusive bancassurance accord for non life products. The terms and conditions of the contract are confidential, some of them following to have effects in the future too.
The transaction's initial value of the 90% bank' shares has been established at EUR 90 million being possible the final price to grow considering the financial results of BT Asigurari in 2007. The estimated date for the closed transaction is the 31st of December 2007.
BT Asigurari holds the 9th position in the non life Top and 12th position in the Top of life companies, with a 4% market share. In the first semester of 2007, BT Asigurari registered a EUR 40 million business figure, upper with 40% than the similar period of the previous year. Between 2004 and 2006, the company has registered a 162% growth, while the profile market has had an evolution of 54%. BT Asigurari has the second large distribution network, with more than 270 agencies and work places, covering the entire country.
GROUPAMA is the third French profile company. Present on the market since the 19 century, it started its activity as insurance mutual company and developed as modern company offering a large range of insurance products in France. The company is already present in Central Europe through is branch in Hungary. It also has agencies in Greece, Italy, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, China and Vietnam. The Group's income from insurance premiums reached EUR 14.2 billion in 2006.
The acquisition of BT Asigurari is part of the development strategic plan of GROUPAMA, which tends to become one of the European insurance leaders, especially concentrating on dynamic external increase politic in Central, East and South of Europe.
Banca TRANSILVANIA is adviced in this transaction by CAPITAL Partners, DELOITTE (Greece) and MUSAT&Asociatii, while GROUPAMA is assisted by RAIFFEISEN Capital Investment and GIDE Loyrette Novel.
by email@example.com, 19.10.2007
Good week for Pillar III
AZT Moderato, the first millionaire pension fund in Romania
AZT Moderato is the first Romanian pension fund that has reached RON 1 million net assets under management (AUM). In fact, the volume of net assets managed by ALLIANZ - TIRIAC Pensii Private is RON 1.2 million according to the company's officials.
"Surely, we're glad to register this premier. In the same time, it's obvious that the hard time just begins from the administration point of view", Dorin BOBOC, Investments Director of the company has stated.
According to the Commission's norms, within 90 days since the net AUM volume reaches one million, the fund's administrator must organize its investments portfolio as to correspond to that contained in the fund's prospect. "For the moment it will neither easy nor cheap. However large the RON 1 million sum may look for a pension market at the beginning of its existence, this sum is more than modest to make advantaged transactions on the capital market. Moreover, since the law prohibits investing more than 5% of the assets in the bonds issued by one remittent, we will be obliged to adopt many positions of small dimensions which lead to transaction expenses costs relative high", Dorin BOBOC mentions.
The rigorous conditions as regards the diversification of the investments will determine at first high administration costs for the pension funds that reach this development stage. No doubt, these high costs will reflect in the evolution of the funds' unit value which will register for short time recoil.
AZT Moderato is a pension fund on Pillar II with a medium financial risk degree.
The fund's prospects contains a portfolio formed from 10% instruments of the monetary market, 25% instruments with variable income and 65% instruments with fixed income.
Though it may seem that the latest are the key of less difficult investments, things are not like this in reality. It is known that the Romanian Government securities remittance is rare and not enough for the market demands.
"That's why we count on the support of ALLIANZ group in general, and on the parent company ALLIANZ - TIRIAC, especially. This company administrates assets of EUR 150 million and has established good relations with the treasuries of the main banks in the system. Taking advantage of these relations, we hope to have access to an adequate state bonds volume as to aim the investment goals", the quoted official of ALLIANZ - TIRIAC Pensii Private has emphasized.
by firstname.lastname@example.org, 24.10.2007
The Insurance Supervisory Commission does not establish the MTPL
Deductibility for dwellings insurance?
Partnership ARDAF - GENERALI Pensions
ING Pensions has 500,000 clients on Pillar II
Within the first three weeks since the start of the adhesion campaign to the compulsory pension funds, ING Pensions has registered 501,407 clients. The company's goal is to reach a 30% market share, respectively 1 million contributors.
"We are half way to our objective of 1 million participants on Pillar II", Bram BOON, President of the Board of Directors of ING Fond de Pensii, has declared.
Radu VASILESCU, General Manager of ING Pensions, has mentioned that sales exceed the initial estimations of the companies and anticipates that the overall number of participants in the market may reach 4 million clients. The official estimates that by next month 60%- 70% clients will already have signed for a pension fund.
The Fund managed by ING is of medium investment risk. The amounts collected from clients will be invested 70% in fixed income financial instruments and the rest of 30% in financial instruments of the capital market.
The company's network is represented by 42,834 authorized marketing agents. Private pensions of ING are available also through 20 authorized brokers and ING Bank.
The shared capital registered by ING Pensions is more than EUR 42 million. BRD-Groupe Societe Generale is the depositary bank and the financial audit is provided by ERNST & YOUNG Assurance Services.
At global level, ING is one of the most important providers of pensions, with 150 years of international experience and 75 million clients in 50 countries. The total value of assets administrated by ING through the pension funds was EUR 223 billion at the end of 2006.
by email@example.com, 12.10.2007
Romanian-Italian relations in the view of Romanian Motor Insurers'
ASITRANS becomes EUROINS
INTERAMERICAN exceeds 100,000
MKB ROMEXTERRA takes over a part of DELTA Asigurari
|CEE, RUSSIA & CIS|
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Financial intermediation - 50% of GDP in 2012
Romania, in top 10 at greenfield projects
THE EDITORIAL STAFF:
General Director: Sergiu
COSTACHE Executive Director: Adriana
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