Mutual Funds Report Record Influxes in May

Psagot raised NIS 1.2 billion; managers expect more investment in June as NIS 30 billion seeks targets

Although share prices are at record heights, Israeli mutual funds reported huge influxes of money in May.

The public invested more than NIS 5 billion in May 2007, up from NIS 4.3 billion in April, and this month isn't even over yet.

During the first five months of 2007, the public placed more than NIS 20 billion in mutual funds, bringing their total assets under management to a record NIS 140 billion.

Most of the money invested in mutual funds this year has gone into bond funds, which invest a majority of their assets in government and corporate paper. That pattern held true in May as well.

Industry sources believe that if anything, the influx will increase in June, barring a dramatic downturn in the marketplace. There is a technical reason for that optimism: a massive NIS 30 billion worth of government paper comes due, freeing the money for re-investment elsewhere. That money is presently tied up in makams (short-term Bank of Israel certificates) and fixed-income series 2670 Shahar bonds.

At least it won't all pour into the marketplace at once. NIS 8 billion worth of makams mature at the start of June, followed by NIS 20 billion worth of series 2670 Shahars at June's end. Another NIS 2 billion worth of non-traded bonds matures in June, bringing our total to NIS 30 billion.

All that will need to find new homes: expect an onslaught of marketing as funds jostle each other for your money.

As said, much depends on the developments in the marketplace. Recruitment by the funds slowed this week as bond prices dipped.

In May, the mutual funds company that brought in the most was Psagot, with NIS 1.2 billion. Prisma (a Markstone company) was second, raising a billion shekels and Migdal was third, taking in NIS 600 million.

Seen from the year's start, Psagot is again the winner, taking in NIS 4.2 billion for its mutual funds. Migdal raised NIS 3.3 billion.