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Jarek Dominiak is forming investment clubs to teach financial management skills to people from all walks of life, and particularly to people living in rural areas. These clubs build trust among participants and encourage hands-on learning through collective investing.
In Poland and throughout much of central Europe, the economic transition of the past decade has been challenging, in part because few people grew up managing personal fundsin the way that they need to now. As new regulations, institutions, and terminology emerged to support a market economy, governments failed to communicate these changes and teach its citizens how to live in the changed economy. Thousands received bonds and company stock through privatization programs that encouraged companies to compensate downsized factory workers. These initiatives did not come with proper training, however, leaving the workers with papers and certificates they could not translate into profits.
Association of Individual Investors (SII) is the largest organization of stock investors in Poland, which operates since 1999. SII organizes conferences and trainings for investors, if necessary, intervene on their behalf, attends in the general meetings of companies. The Association currently has more than 8,000 members.
To steer people through the economic transition underway in Poland and to give them the information and tools they need to support a market economy, Jarek teaches people about financial systems and management. His investors’ association stimulates the growth of small investors’ clubs throughout Poland that bring together people who want to know more about the new economy and their role in it. By making joint investment decisions, club members learn group responsibility and community trust is strengthened. In seven years, Jarek hopes to see over one thousand investment clubs, and twenty thousand participants, operating throughout the country.
Jarek believes that in few years there will be many thousandsclubs operating in Poland, with participants and branches. These branches will offer educational support programs, organize training sessions and meetings, and distribute free educational materials. As one measure of success, Jarek expects to see the percentage of Polish citizens who invest in the stock market to rise in the next years.