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Delta Holding founder suggests investing in Stocks over real estate, sparks revival of regional stock exchange concept

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Miroslav Mišković, the founder and president of Delta Holding, recently offered a unique perspective on investment choices when questioned about allocating funds to dollars or euros. Contrary to conventional options, he proposed investing in stocks for the future, hinting at a partial revival of the past idea of establishing a regional stock exchange among the former Yugoslav republics.

Mišković highlighted the prevalent trend of individuals investing in real estate over the past two to three decades to preserve the value of their wealth. However, he suggested a shift in focus, advocating for the former Yugoslavia to explore stock market investments with effective propaganda and marketing.

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Across the region, stock exchanges operate in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Montenegro. Reports from Blumberg Adria revealed a decline in turnover for the Ljubljana and Belgrade stock exchanges in the past year, attributed to the absence of extraordinary events like wars or pandemics.

The total turnover on stock exchanges in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, and Skopje reached an impressive 1.743 billion euros last year. The Banja Luka Stock Exchange led with a turnover of 538.4 million euros, followed by the Zagreb Stock Exchange with 371.8 million euros and the Ljubljana Stock Exchange with 330 million euros. In 2022, all Adria region stock exchanges collectively surpassed the previous year’s turnover by 50 million euros, reaching a total of 1.804 billion euros.

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The concept of a regional stock exchange has been under consideration for years. While some view it as a positive prospect, others express skepticism. Nenad Gujaničić, a broker, deems the idea somewhat utopian, citing the lack of political will as a significant hurdle. On the other hand, economist Aleksandar Stevanović emphasizes the need for legal establishment with national treatment across all countries for such an initiative to succeed.

Both experts concur that last year posed challenges for the Belgrade Stock Exchange, experiencing the lowest stock turnover since its reestablishment. Gujaničić attributes this to a multi-year exodus of investors and companies, while Stevanović points out that the exchange faces hurdles from a history of corporate scandals and inadequate protection of minority shareholders’ rights.

In conclusion, both experts agree that large companies could be instrumental in driving participation in the stock market. However, it hinges on their willingness to embrace transparency. Stevanović notes that Serbia has a sufficient number of sizable firms that could go public, but the decision depends on whether they are ready to adopt a more transparent approach or prefer to maintain their current status.

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