Public Continued to Flee Banks' Mutual Funds in March

Hapoalim's PKN lost half a billion, Leumi Pia and Ilanot lost quarter-billion each

Evidently the public's taste in investment diversification is changing. According to unofficial figures TheMarker has changed, during March the public continued to heavily withdraw money from mutual funds, in net terms.

Hardest hit were the banks' funds. Bank Hapoalim's PKN lost more than half a billion shekels, and Lahak lost almost as much. Altogether the public withdrew about a billion from the various Bank Hapoalim mutual funds.

When Markstone agreed to buy PKN from Bank Hapoalim, the fund had about NIS 21 billion in managed assets. But since the agreement was reached in October 2005, PKN has lost almost NIS 5 billion in assets.

Though the agreement did not have price adjustment mechanism, Bank Hapoalim agreed to take NIS 860 million instead of the original price of NIS 954 million.

PKN is scheduled to change hands from Bank Hapoalim to Markstone at month-end.

Lahak, which has not been sold yet, has lost NIS 3 billion in assets since the withdrawals began in earnest.

Most of the withdrawals were right after the bank agreed to sell PKN. In recent months the pace has steadied at roughly half a billion shekels a month.

Moving onto Leumi Pia mutual fund group, which was sold to Harel, it lost NIS 250 million in March. Pia has yet to change hands as well.

Ilanot Discount of the Bank Discount group, sold to Clal Insurance, also lost a quarter-billion shekels in March.