NEW YORK (Reuters) -Asset management firm T. Rowe Price plans to close to new investors its Emerging Europe Fund starting from May 9, it said in a regulatory filing this week, after marking the fund's Russian securities down to zero last month.
The $30 million fund, which invests at least 80% of its assets in stocks of companies located in European emerging markets including Eastern Europe and Russia, was down about 83% in the first three months of this year, according to a fact sheet on the T. Rowe Price website.
"Effective at the close of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, May 9, 2022, the fund will close to new investors and new accounts," T. Rowe Price said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
Investors who already hold positions in the fund may redeem their shares or continue to buy additional shares.
"This decision was made in the best interest of the fund's current shareholders and in light of current geopolitical events and market volatility", a T. Rowe Price spokesperson told Reuters on Tuesday.
Last month, T. Rowe Price said Russian securities held in the fund's portfolio would be valued effectively at zero after Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
The move followed an announcement by index provider MSCI that it would remove Russian securities from its MSCI Emerging Markets Indices starting from March 9.
"Russian securities were recently removed from the fund’s benchmark index, which has made the Russian equity market largely uninvestable. Russian equities that continue to be held in our fund have been valued effectively at zero", said the spokesperson.
Except the Emerging Europe Fund, T. Rowe Price emerging markets fund had very little exposure to Russian securities and the majority of its funds had no Russian exposure whatsoever, the spokesperson added.
The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada announced sanctions on Russia - including blocking certain banks' access to the SWIFT international payment system - in the wake of the invasion, which Moscow calls a special military operation.
Several global investors have announced last month they were cutting their positions in Russia.
(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Leslie Adler, Bernard Orr)