Last week, the VZMD  sent to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia founded suggestions for the changes to apply to three articles of the Financial Instruments Market Act  (ZTFI-1) as suggested by the outgoing government of the Republic of Slovenia. Despite fierce opposition of the VZMD and some members of the National Assembly, at the end of last month the Collegeof the President of the National Assembly endorsed the reading of the ZTFI-1 under urgent procedure. The VZMD therefore calls on all deputy groups to address the new act or the “constitution” of the financial instruments market in a responsible and in-depth manner despite the adopted urgent procedure, and to at least remedy the weaknesses against which the professional public together with the VZMD issued strong warnings based on concrete assessments, reviews, and suggestions.

The VZMD strongly opposed the urgent adoption procedure of the new ZTFI mainly due to the fact that the excuse of transferring provisions required by EU directives is all too often used (while lacking proper discussion)  to bring forward provisions, which have nothing to do with European regulation requirements. Instead, these are “home-grown planted ideas.” With the aim to pursue particular interests of the financial industry, these ideas are usually served by the Securities Market Agency (ATVP), the Bank of Slovenia, and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia, who clearly feel as if they were the chosen ones to protect the financial industry from minority shareholders. Therefore, in August VZMD's associates had to once again prepare the proposals of amendments and warn the public about the highly questionable provisions of the ZTFI-1 bill, which have absolutely nothing to do with the declared objectives, said to be the reason for the urgent adoption of ZTFI-1.

The proposed Article 187 of ZTFI-1 consolidates the existing outrageous practice, which enables financial intermediaries to “sell” their clients to the best bidder, as if they were bags of potatoes. The last such case was GBD d.d., which ceased to carry out its investments services and sold its clients to the Austrian BKS Bank AG. Such unacceptable acts must be prevented by incorporating an additional provision to Article 187 of the ZTFI-1, as suggested by the VZMD. But the unfair practices of charging for financial intermediaries’ services doesn’t end with “selling” minority shareholders. In fact, the financial industry took advantage of the previous so-called “alignments with European standards” to introduce “innovative” compensations, which don’t exist in European practices.  Particularly outstanding is the charging for the payment of each dividend. In previous years, the VZMD identified cases where minority shareholders had to pay an amount higher than the value of the dividend for the payment of the dividend! The least that we can do in such instances is to provide minority shareholders with the possibility to combine multiple dividends into a single payment to bear the payment costs only once. In view of this, VZMD proposes a concrete supplement of Article 287 of the ZTFI-1.

It is commonly known that  European requirements aren’t there to “persecute” trust accounts used by minority shareholders to mitigate to a certain extent and with professional assistance (lawyers or public notaries) the greed for “compensation” shown by the financial industry (or brokerage firms and banks). One of such possibilities is also used by Share SUPPORT at VZMD (VIDEO), which improved the position of thousands of minority shareholders! The European regulation protects and safeguards such possibilities, since Article 38 of the EU Regulation no. 909/2014 doesn’t allow for new or additional restrictions to trust accounts to those valid on 17 September 2014. In contrast with this, for the last two years the Republic of Slovenia have seen a “campaign” aimed at suppressing Share SUPPORT, which is disgracefully led by ATPV. At the VZMD, they oppose the adoption of a solution carried out under the profane pretense of adopting European directives, which isn’t compliant with the European legislation and which paints a tragic picture of the existence of minority shareholders in Slovenia! Therefore VZMD’s associates propose an adequate change of Article 296 of ZTFI-1, to stand up to further elimination of minority shareholding activities in the Republic of Slovenia.

On Monday and Tuesday, Brussels hosted the annual meeting of the European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users (Better Finance). On Monday, the meeting of the Executive Board was followed by the General Meeting of this influential European federation, which brings together over 4 million individual investors from Europe.

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While shareholders and bondholders of six major Slovenian banks who were expropriated in 2013 have been waiting for more than a year and a half in vain for the unconstitutionality of the Banking Act (ZBan-1L) to be remedied, which was imposed on the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, the representative of the Civil Initiative »Canceled Minority Shareholders of the NKBM bank« and member of the PanSlovenian Investors' & Shareholders' Association (VZMD) Expert Council, Mr. Peter Glavič, sent a request for public access to ECB documents to European Central Bank (ECB) at the end of May. As Mr. Glavič pointed out, he sent a letter to the ECB, since »the Constitutional Court has not yet given the green light to the Court of Auditors to access the documentation of the Bank of Slovenia about the events between 2012-2014«. After receiving the answer, the Civil Initiative informed the Constitutional Court, the Court of Auditors, the Government and the National Assembly, that there are no obstacles whatsoever for an investigation in the Bank of Slovenia and for the law remedying the unconstitutionality.

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Last night the Slovene business delegation to the Republic of Kazakhstan arrived in the capital city of Astana. Mr. Kristjan Verbič, President of PanSlovenian Investors’ & Shareholders’ Association (VZMD) , joined the delegation at the invitation of the organizers, Public agency SPIRIT Slovenia, the Kazakh Invest Agency, and the Kazakh-Slovene Business Club.

Next week the Slovene business delegation will visit the Republic of Kazakhstan. The visit will be organized by the Public agency SPIRIT Slovenia, The public agency Kazakh Invest, and the Kazakh-Slovene Business Club. Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, will see members of the Slovene business delegation visit numerous companies and institutions, and participate at the Slovene-Kazakh business forum and B2B talks. At the invitation of the organizers, the event will also be attended by the PanSlovenian Investors’ & Shareholders’ Association (VZMD) President, Mr. Kristjan Verbič. In addition to the scheduled program, Mr. Verbič will participate in numerous other meetings with people whom he had met and developed a collaboration with upon his visit to Kazakhstan in 2013. That year Mr. Verbič, as a member of the delegation accompanying the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Karl Erjavec, actively participated at the business conferences in the capital city Astana (VIDEO by RTV Slovenia), and at the Almaty business, cultural, and scientific center, which were attended by representatives of more than 230 Kazakh and 28 Slovene companies.

The meeting of the Council of the International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ICIE) opened on Saturday in Thessaloniki, Greece with introductory business and social events. Mr. Kristjan Verbič, the PanSlovenian Investors’ & Shareholders’ Association (VZMD) President, participated at the meeting after receiving a personal invitation form the organizers of the event. This time too, Mr. Verbič successfully presented the activities and opportunities offered by the VZMD international business-investor programs: Invest to Slovenia (investo.si) and International Investors` Network (invest-to.net).

With regard to the shareholders who have been squeezed out of the TEKSTINA, d.d., company, this week the PanSlovenian Investors' & Shareholders' Association (VZMD) has started paying the additional cash compensation, received for shareholders who are included in the shareholders agreement or the "Share SUPPORT" scheme at the VZMD (VIDEO). In fact, after lengthy and complex negotiations a settlement was reached before the Mediation Committee in March, which was upheld in April by the District Court in Nova Gorica. Among others, this settlement binds the main shareholder SVILA IN, d.o.o., to pay the shareholders an additional amount of € 14.20 per share (in addition to the € 3.40 per share, which was the amount paid to them in 2017). 

On Wednesday and Thursday last week, the PanSlovenian Investors' & Shareholders' Association (VZMD) President, Mr. Kristjan Verbič, attended the international conference organized by the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) “ALFI London Cocktail & Conference” − after successfully participating at a three-day international conference “The Eurofi High Level Seminar 2018” in Sofia, Bulgaria, which saw over 800 participants and more than 130 lectures by the most prominent representatives of EU institutions, regulatory and supervisor authorities, and financial industry.

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Last week, Sofia was home to the three-day prominent international conference “The Eurofi High Level Seminar 2018” organized by the international organization Eurofi in association with the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. At the invitation of the organizer, the conference was also attended by the PanSlovenian Investors’ & Shareholders’ Association (VZMD) President, Mr. Kristjan Verbič, primarily in order to exhibit activities and opportunities as part of the VZMD international business-investor programs: Invest to Slovenia – investo.si and International Investors' Network – invest-to.net.

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Alongside the "High-Level Conference: Financing Sustainable Growth" held by the European Commission on the 22th of March, the European Federation of Investors (Better Finance) President, Ms. Jella Benner-Heinacher, and Better Finance Managing Director, Mr. Guillaume Prache, met with the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Karmenu Vella.

The working visit from the Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Mr. Jyrki Katainen, was kicked off yesterday with a joint session of the EU Affairs and Economy Committees of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. Mr. Kristjan Verbič, President of the PanSlovenian Investors' & Shareholders' Association (VZMD), participated at the session as the only representative of the public. He has already met with Vice-President Katainen in Brussels, and he took this opportunity to share a few words with him. Mr. Katainen visited Slovenia as part of the European semester, the EU's annual cycle of budgetary, economic and reform processes coordination between the member states. In addition to the session at the National Assembly, the European semester will include talks with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, a working lunch with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia and a reception with the President of the Republic of Slovenia.

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After Tuesday's work meeting of the members of the Slovene business delegation with the Minister of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Zdravko Počivalšek, and the reception with the Slovene Prime Minister, Mr. Miro Cerar, a "Business forum" was held in Skopje yesterday, organized by the Economic Chamber of Macedonia (ECM) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS). The PanSlovenian Investors’ and Shareholders’ Association (VZMD) President, Mr. Kristjan Verbič, participated in the high-level meeting mostly to present the activities and opportunities offered by the international business-investor programs of the VZMD: Invest to Slovenia – investo.si and International Investors' Network – invest-to.net

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