The war in Ukraine has been raging for exactly a week, and the UN already counts one million Ukrainians on the run.

The financial market is only a sideshow of this catastrophe.

The markets have collapsed globally, trading on the Russian stock exchange is still suspended.

However, investors who want to withdraw their money from Russian stocks face the problem that they are currently almost unable to do so.

According to the Moscow Stock Exchange, foreign investors around the world owned around $86 billion worth of Russian stocks at the end of last year.

In Germany, Deutsche Börse has already suspended trading in various Russian securities such as Gazprom and Rosneft.

And other trading platforms that do not belong to the regulated public market also voluntarily comply with this requirement.

Investors are often indirectly invested in Russian values, via investment funds or listed index funds, ETF (Exchange Traded Funds).

However, private investors who want to sell their funds with Russian participation can only do so to a limited extent – ​​for the most part not at all.

What exactly does this mean for investors and which funds are affected?

Moscow Stock Exchange closed

There are almost 40 actively managed funds in Germany that invest primarily in Russian stocks.

Investors who want to sell their fund shares can usually do so in two ways: either they return the shares to the fund company or they sell them on the stock exchange.

The fund companies are normally obliged to redeem the shares.

On the other hand, trading on the stock exchange, i.e. on the so-called secondary market, is hardly worthwhile for many active funds, also because the liquidity is too low.

Since trading on the Moscow stock exchange, where the majority of all Russian stocks are listed, has been closed since last Friday, there is no longer any natural price discovery for these stocks.

For the fund companies, this means that the total value of the fund assets, the so-called net asset value (NAV, Net Asset Value), can no longer be determined correctly.

Various fund companies that sell investment funds with a focus on Russia have therefore suspended trading.

Dan Kemp, head of investments at fund analysis firm Morningstar, says that investors who want to sell Russian assets for moral reasons technically remain owners - because the funds cannot be sold at the moment.

Which funds affected?

For example, Deutsche Bank's subsidiary, DWS, announced on Tuesday that it would suspend the issue of new shares in actively managed mutual funds with significant exposure to Russia.

The DWS Russia equity fund, which invests its money in smaller and larger Russian companies, is likely to be affected by this.

By the time it halted trading, the fund was down 67 percent since the start of the new year.

The largest positions include energy groups Novatek, Lukoil, Sberbank and energy group Rosneft.

However, DWS is not alone in this.

JP Morgan Asset Management has also suspended trading in two funds: investors cannot buy or redeem new shares in JP Morgan Investmentfonds Russia Equity or Emerging Europe Equity.

The same applies to the Swiss asset manager Pictet, where shares in the Russian Equities fund can no longer be traded.

It is said that trading will only continue when market conditions allow it again.

But even then, transactions may not be processed in the normal way - which has to do with the conversion from rubles to dollars.

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