First Bulgarian ETF begins trading on LSE

Expat Bulgaria SOFIX UCITS, the first Bulgarian exchange-traded fund (ETF), managed by Expat Asset Management, began trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on October 1. The fund started trading on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) in September 2016 and was subsequently listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in January 2018.

The operation took more than a year’s worth of efforts from Expat Asset Management, which, despite the administrative obstacles and the lack of institutional support, managed to establish a relationship between the global investors trading on the LSE and the shares of the BSE.

“We are happy that we managed to cope with all the technical hurdles,” said Nikola Yankov, chairman of Expat Asset Management’s board. “This is the first Bulgarian issue to be traded on the London Stock Exchange, and Expat Asset Management is the first asset manager from the CEE region with financial instruments cross-listed on the stock exchanges in London and Frankfurt. We would like to thank the LSE for their support and the good partnership. The cross-listing of the index fund in London is a success not only for Expat, but opens up new opportunities for the Bulgarian capital market as a whole.”

The ETF tracks the performance of the main Bulgarian equity index SOFIX, providing investors with access to the largest and most liquid companies on the BSE. Expat has a net asset value of 28.2 million Bulgarian levs (14.4 million euros) and trades on the LSE with the stock exchange code BGX. In addition, Expat manages a family of 11 ETFs which provide country-specific exposure in the Central and East European (CEE) region for international investors.

In addition to the ETF on the SOFIX (the first official stock market index of the BSE), the other funds track the main equity indices of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Greece. All these funds are traded on the stock exchanges in Sofia and Frankfurt, and Expat plans to list them for trading in London too. This would provide international investors with an easy and effective way to manage their exposure to specific countries in the region, overcoming deficiencies, such as lack of liquidity, lack of access and other technical factors typical for many of the CEE markets.