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The composite route to success?

A Hong Kong for eastern Europe?

On November 27 Dresdner Bank launched a series of index certificates allowing participation in the Central European Clearing Houses and Exchanges Index (CECE Index) of the Austrian Futures and Options Exchange (Ötob). Two years in development, the index is a composite of 41 actively traded blue-chip stocks listed on the Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw stock exchanges. By March, Ötob will offer exchange-traded futures and options on the CECE Index and on the four national indices from which it is derived.

Officials at Ötob think the index's major selling point is that it offers investors in central Europe risk-management tools at an easy-to-access clearing house with high-quality technical and legal support. The structure of the index is supervised by an international panel that reviews the performance of the shares and considers whether new issues should qualify.

Thomas Eckert, head of equity trading at Dresdner Bank's Frankfurt office, believes such moves help make the products attractive: "Ötob's indices are very well engineered. Moreover, we have a higher degree of confidence in the Austrian legal environment than the legal environment in the local markets.

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