THE former Soviet Union and China have the greatest growth potential over the next three years, according to a straw poll of emerging markets conducted by Sunday Money . The poll showed 37.5 per cent of respondents rated Russia and China as the most promising markets. Twenty fund managers and investment advisers were interviewed by phone for the poll. We asked fund managers: Which emerging market do you consider has the greatest potential for growth over the next three years? Which has the highest growth potential of Latin America, eastern Europe or Africa? What proportion of a global portfolio would be best invested in emerging markets? A, 0 to five per cent; B, five to 10 per cent; C, 10 to 15 per cent; D, 15 to 20 per cent; or E, more than 20 per cent? Rank the following in terms of growth potential over A, three years; B, longer term - the former Soviet Union, India, China, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa. The faith shown in Russia by fund managers, was surprising because they said it was far too early to even think of investing there, given the chaotic financial situation. If fund managers are as optimistic about the former Soviet Union as China over the next few years, why are there so many China funds available in Hong Kong but no Russia funds? The answer is probably related to the fund-raising conundrum. It is like making a movie: the idea for the film may be brilliant, but the money must first be secured. Fund management companies are only able to raise funds for markets that have a wide popular appeal. China has had that, at least until recently. Latin America has it and Vietnam is developing it, but the former Soviet Union does not. After the former Soviet Union and China, there was no clear third favourite. There were equal votes for India, South Korea, Brazil and Hong Kong - to some fund managers, Hong Kong qualifies as an emerging market. For question two, the most popular ranking by far, with 87.5 per cent of respondents, was Asia for growth potential, followed by Latin America, Eastern Europe, then Africa. Question three showed how diverse opinions were about emerging markets and why investors could expect different advice on the subject from experts. The spread of answers was right across the range of choices. The five to 10 per cent option was chosen by 25 per cent of respondents. There was equal 12.5 per cent approval of the zero to five per cent, 10 to 15 per cent, 15 to 20 per cent and 20 per cent-plus portfolio ranges. One fund manager disregarded the options given and filled in '100 per cent' as the appropriate amount of a global portfolio to be invested in emerging markets. For the last question, respondents liked the growth prospects of China and the former Soviet Union equally over the next three years, with 37.5 per cent of respondents voting for both. India received 12.5 per cent of the vote as the winner and 37.5 per cent for second position over the three years.