Bank of New York enters Poland

The Bank of New York Company will launch an investment fund company in Poland to tap into a surge in pension fund demand.

The Bank of New York Company, a global securities services provider, has registered an investment fund company in Poland called “BNY National Trust TFI SA.” The firm said the fund plans to offer a number of investment funds including private equity, hedge funds and real estate.

If the proposal is approved by the Polish securities regulator KPWIG, Poland’s version of the SEC, The Bank of New York will become the first asset manager to offer US and European private equity opportunities to the Polish institutional markets.

“Poland is one of the fastest growing countries in Eastern Europe,” said Ivan Royle, a London-based spokesperson for Bank of New York. “Pensions will be a focus for this fund, they’ve reached a level of sophistication in Poland that is above other comparable markets.”

Royle said that in the last year Polish pension fund assets have increased by approximately 40 percent, from $21 billion in February 2005 to $29 billion in February 2006. In addition, assets managed by TFIs, which are fund management companies licensed by the Polish Stock Exchange, have increased their assets under management by approximately 70 percent, from $12 billion a year ago to $20 billion today.

BNY National Trust’s first fund will be a closed-end private equity investment fund offering a portfolio of private equity funds and direct investments in established privately held companies.

Royle said the bank sees Poland as a good testing ground for this type of fund, and if it works out, the bank may try similar funds in other Eastern European countries.