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Stock Index Focusing on Israeli Tech Announced

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and BlueStar Indexes issued a new stock index, a “Start-up Nation Index,” called TA -BIGITech, that will track Israeli tech stocks, regardless of which stock exchange they are listed on, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

“As you know, there aren’t that many Israeli tech stocks on the TASE,” BlueStar Indexes founder and chief investment officer Steven Schoenfeld said. “They go public in London or New York, so this this index helps raise the visibility of tech stocks.”

“Start-up nation is one of the most powerful brands for Israel, so this is the Start-up Nation Index,” he said. …

The index is currently composed of 57 companies, including CheckPoint, Amdocs, Stratasys, Nice, Mobileye and Mellanox, and has an aggregate market capitalization of $75 billion, about triple that of the TA -TechElite benchmark.

“This new index is particularly important because it provides convenient access for global investors around the world to Israeli hi-tech companies trading on various exchanges,” Yossi Beinart, CEO of the TASE, told the Post.

Schoenfeld explained the impetus for the fund in an interview earlier this week.

Schoenfeld described the philosophy of his company to associate editor Ben Cohen in Joining the Start-Up Nation Just Got a Lot Easier, which was published in the March 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine

By nature an animated man, the bullishness Schoenfeld displayed during our interview reflected his assertion that the performance of Israeli companies like these should magnetically attract investors searching for a secure bottom line. As a result of that deeply-held conviction, Schoenfeld and his colleagues at BlueStar have developed a complex methodology to steer investors into an economy that, back in the 1980s, was scarred by hyperinflation, but which subsequently emerged to rebuff the 2008 global economic crisis with more aplomb than Europe and even the United States.
The growing awareness of Israel’s economic dynamism, bolstered by the 2009 bestseller Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, a book that briskly extolled the virtues of Israel’s corporate culture, has certainly eased BlueStar’s path into the investor community. Still, Schoenfeld points out, the indicators are not yet blindingly obvious to everyone. The perception of Israel as a country mired in regional conflicts is one brake on investor enthusiasm. The habit of regarding Israel as a recipient of diaspora Jewish munificence, by slipping a few coins into a Jewish National Fund blue box or by purchasing Israel Bonds, is another.

“You should absolutely give as much charity as you can,” Schoenfeld told me emphatically. “In no way am I saying the mission of BlueStar Investments is to replace charity.” What the company offers, he continued, can be described as “Mission Driven Investing,” a concept that rests upon three pillars. Firstly, that Israel is a sound investment in purely fiscal terms. Secondly, that investing in Israel conforms to the mission of large institutions with substantial endowments, like the various Jewish Federations around the United States. Thirdly, that by investing in Israel, the country’s economic profile is boosted at a time when its graduation from emerging to developed market has created a fresh set of challenges—as Schoenfeld describes it with an endearingly eccentric metaphor, Israel has gone from being a “large carp in the Mediterranean” to a “small minnow in the Atlantic.”

[Photo: Israeltourism / Flickr ]