Stanley Vyner, CIO of ING Pilgrim

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 13, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If you were looking for your investments to make money this year, believe it or not, Russia was the place to be.

Its stock market is up more than 80 percent year-to-date, closing Tuesday at a new 52-week high.

All this as Russian leader Vladimir Putin makes his first official visit to the United States today to support President Bush in the war on terror.

What's Russia doing right? Let's ask an expert. Stanley Vyner is the chief investment officer at ING Pilgrim.

By the way, your fund that focuses on Russia is doing very well.

STANLEY VYNER, CIO, ING PILGRIM: A modest 57 percent through yesterday.

CAVUTO: Not bad, not bad.

And I should disclose ahead of time, we didn't book him because of this, but I own this fund, but I suffered bad times too, so I am not brilliant.

But let me ask you a little bit about what is driving this right now. What is driving it?

VYNER: It's a confluence of very important issues here. Firstly, a very weak Ruble that emanated from the default of 1998. Then you've had pretty frisky oil prices over the past 18 months. That works wonders for Russia's big oil companies. And right up to today, you've had Mr. Putin emerging as a healthy, powerful, strong, popular guy who actually gets difficult things done.

CAVUTO: Yes, he really has been almost Machiavellian here. I mean brilliant in that he has sided with the president in the war on terror. He still keeps much of the Muslim world behind him, regardless. And he has won a lot of kudos from financiers who say, you have gotten your house in order.

VYNER: Exactly right, and the thing is, that he is moving to the main stream, which makes people think, maybe Russia is a real country.

CAVUTO: Right, right. Do you buy that?

VYNER: Yes, yes. So that a vast a vast country, remember, it came out of -- decades of the dead hand of communism, that freely only have been trying the capitalist game for -- what -- ten years?

CAVUTO: Yes, but you know this region better than I do, Stanley, but we always get excited when we hear promising signs, you know, as well as with Mikhail Gorbachev when (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fallen on hard times again.

VYNER: But look at the hard facts. Look what Putin has got through: The tax system, personal tax. Got through a reduction in rates, to a flat rate of 13 percent. And what happened? Tax revenues went up, because people are prepared to pay a moderate simple tax.

The corporate tax rate goes to 24 percent first of January next year.

CAVUTO: Now, the RTS, that is the equivalent of our Dow, if we had another peek at this, guys, on that, that has just been on a stellar ride. So what is driving it more to the point lately?

VYNER: I think, the weakest thing, for example, our fund is up 7 percent since September 10. Definitely the move of Russia, led by Putin to the mainstream, and the fact that the Russian oil companies would cut back production to placate OPEC...

CAVUTO: Well, they only did a smidgen...


VYNER: Well, they are privately owned, they are going to make a profit.

CAVUTO: So that was not just doing it for us, that was, then -- and we will take a look at your fund here now to today, but that wasn't an issue of, you know, them helping America. It was just like, well, look, we want to help ourselves.

VYNER: They are making money.

CAVUTO: Thirty-thousand barrels a day, that's a pittance, isn't it?

VYNER: It is indeed, but look it these oil companies. They are trading at single digit P/Es on 2002 earnings.

CAVUTO: So, you would still be a believer in Russia going forward?

VYNER: I'd be a believer, but if got some risk capital and split it into the regular bit and the super charged bit, and at the far end of the supercharged bit, have a bit of Russia.

CAVUTO: Stanley, very good having you. Stanley Vyner, the chief investment officer at ING Pilgrim.

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