Russell Investments has classified Greece as a developed market since 2001.
But if financial assistance efforts by the ECB, along with political solutions, are unsuccessful, Greece will have to exit the EU and lose that status. That’s because of Russell’s “financial crisis rule.”
“Emergent circumstances can always arise in the market,” says Mat Lystra, senior research analyst for Russell Indexes. “Should conditions become difficult for global investors, the rule allows us to respond to a market that is no longer viewed as being a part of the standard global equity opportunity set.”
Potential events that could influence Russell’s decision to implement the financial crisis rule include:
- A return to the Greek drachma currency from the Euro, which could result in strict capital controls and a currency crisis.
- Nationalization of substantial portions of the Greek economy, which could affect investor compensation if they own nationalized companies.
- Prolonged closure of the Athens Stock Exchange, which would prevent price discovery and impact liquidity, resulting in possible write-downs or write-offs of investments.
- Elevated country risk, as measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which would cause Greek risk scores to fail developed market status.
IndexUniverse.com reports Greece would be excluded from MSCI’s European Monetary Union indices if it left the Eurozone, but would not necessarily lose its developed market classification. MSCI said it would potentially reclassify Greece as a standalone market.