ARTAN GJERGJI, CEO, ALBANIAN STOCK EXCHANGE:"Stock exchanges in CEE need to turn their eyes towards those in South-Eastern Europe"

English Section #Bursele din regiune / 28 mai 2021

"Stock exchanges in CEE need to turn their eyes towards those in South-Eastern Europe"

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can be the main player that can facilitate a cooperation between the exchanges in our region, says Artan Gjergji, CEO of the Albanian Stock Exchange.

Artan Gjergji a spus: "The development of Central and Eastern European countries started from the same point in the 90s, because we have moved from centralized economies to market economies. But even if we all started from the same point, the Central European countries had a more accelerated development pace, mainly due to foreign direct investment that came from developed countries. Then the investment wave has shifted to other countries in the region, such as Romania or Bulgaria, mainly due to integration into the European Union. After that, it came to the countries of South Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans".

According to the CEO of the Albanian Stock Exchange, if we look at the development of the stock markets in the region, we see that they closely mirror that picture.

"The most important stock exchanges in the region are those in Poland, Hungary or Czech Republic. In the second wave, we are seeing the development of the stock markets in Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia", said Artan Gjergji.

I believe that the stock exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe have to turn their eyes towards those in South-Eastern Europe, smaller exchanges that are trying to develop, but which could grow faster with a little help from the exchanges in Central Europe".

Artan Gjergji went on: "The EBRD is a very important player in our region, and may be the main player to bring us together at the same table. We are sharing ideas in conferences, but unless someone takes the initiative, and start organizing the others, it will be rather hard to unite. The EBRD has acted, and in our region has been more present in the stock market. It has promoted, supported strategies and governments to develop the markets. It has supported corporate governance, which is very important for the markets in our region. It has been an investor and what could be the focal point here, has become a shareholder in various stock exchanges in the region".

According to the presentation of the Albanian Stock Exchange CEO, in 2012 the EBRD became a shareholder of the Moscow stock exchange with 6%, in 2014 of the Bucharest Stock Exchange with 10%, in 2015 of the Istanbul stock exchange with 10%, and in 2016 of the Zagreb one with 5%. It has also supported the SEE Link project, which comprises the exchanges in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Zagreb.

It is a key market player and I think we can ask the EBRD to become the admiral ship of our ideas, to coordinate and integrate better, to make our markets more visible. And in order to integrate, we need to integrate know-how, infrastructure, and, of course, the legal foundation", said the CEO of the Albanian stock exchange.

From his point of view, large and medium-sized exchanges in our region, such as Poland, Turkey or Hungary, and then in Romania, Bulgaria or Croatia, should be more present in the picture of the stock markets in SE Europe and Western Balkans.

"They could begin investing into small stakes in the other stock exchanges, like the EBRD did, to try and help them. We need know-how and players on the stock market. So I think that the major exchanges, just like they got support from the Western exchanges or governments, should do the same with their smaller brothers in SE Europe", said Artan Gjergji.

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