ALES IPAVEC, PRESIDENT OF THE LJUBLJANA STOCK EXCHANGE:"Financial literacy is low in Slovenia"

ALINA VASIESCU (TRANSLATED BY COSMIN GHIDOVEANU)
English Section #Bursele din regiune / 28 mai

"Financial literacy is low in Slovenia"

In the last four years, the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (Slovenia) has developed a platform for companies at different stages of the life cycle, through which they can raise financing, says Ales Ipavec, Chairman of the Board of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, who mentions that the platform is aimed to start-ups, mid-cap companies, as well as those in the blue-chip category.

However, the market official in Ljubljana points out that Slovenian companies are reluctant to access the stock market because they have an outdated mentality. "It is difficult to convince them to enter the capital market because they mostly use the banking system. Over 80% of companies turn to banks for financing, the capital market is not yet seen as a financing alternative in Slovenia. But, we carry out intensive educational programs because financial literacy is at a fairly low level in the country. We are not educating just the general public, but also our customers, especially the economically active population. Companies are very surprised when they find out the possibilities the capital market can offer".

Ales Ipavec also said that there are 22 billion euros in bank deposits in Slovenia, which shows that there is no confidence in the capital market. "People keep their money in negative interest deposits, rather than investing in the market".

Mr. Ipavec notes, however, that the capital market in Slovenia is quite underdeveloped compared to the domestic economy, with a capitalization of about 43 billion euros, of which only 8 billion are in shares and 34 billion in bonds.

"The main reason for this is that in Slovenia, although the stock market has been in existence for 32 years, there is still no capitalist mentality. Our transition from socialism to a market economy is not over. We have taken the first step, privatization, a rather big step, an incentive for the stock market, but we should also carry out the next steps. However, the trend in our market is a good one, it's just that the pace is too slow. We are taking small steps, but we are on the right path".

Ales Ipavec also states: "We are a small market, it is very difficult to have a stock exchange that can survive on its own, that's why we work together in the region. This is a necessity for us".

The representative of the Slovenian Stock Exchange emphasizes that the markets cooperate at regional level, but the biggest problem is that the financial industry in the region does not do that. "Our funds do not work together, like the stock exchanges do. Governments should get involved so that our funds invest in countries in the region, and vice versa, "said Ales Ipavec, recalling that pension or investment funds allocate very little money to the local market, the rest being directed to developed countries, the West, or emerging markets etc. "Investments in the Central and Eastern European region are very small", Ales Ipavec concluded.

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