Category Archives: News

Sberbank buying Russian unit of Allianz

By Andrei Skvarsky. Sberbank has announced it is buying a Russian unit of Europe’s largest insurance company, Allianz. Sberbank’s 100% takeover of Allianz Life is to be finished before the year end, according to a statement from Russia’s biggest lender. It has not been disclosed how much Sberbank is paying for Allianz Life, which is… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Twilight of the West

By Eric Kraus, author of the Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The good news is that we have a ringside seat for the decline of the West… the bad news – we are inside the ring! The miserable thing about being a seer is that when you get it right – no one remembers… Continue Reading

Merrill Lynch promises “strategic hires” in Russia

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Bank of America Merrill Lynch has announced it “is strengthening its infrastructure” in Russia and is going to make “strategic hires”.   Moving to new offices in central Moscow is part of BAML’s expansion in Russia, according to a statement by the bank, which recently dismissed one of its top Moscow-based… Continue Reading

Khodorkovsky money found stashed in Swiss bank

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has stashed between 15m and 20m euros on an account in Swiss bank Julius Baer that no one has heard of until now.   German investigators who were hunting tax dodgers came across the account in searching the databases of Julius Baer’s European headquarters in Frankfurt… Continue Reading

Micex-RTS set provisional trading schedule for New Year’s 'holiday'

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian stock exchanges Micex and RTS have warned they will not issue trading schedules for the New Year holiday season of January 1-10 before arrangements are made for the smooth operation of Russia’s entire banking system in that period. The National Securities Market Association, the Russian National Association of Securities Market Participants… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Dutch bank ING goes on Russian hiring spree

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Dutch bank ING has made a series of hires for its investment banking team in Russia over the past few months in bouncing back after being forced by the global financial crisis to scale down its presence in the country.   Igor Goncharov, Tatiana Prokina and Anna Kochkina were taken on… Continue Reading

UKRAINE COMMENT: Muted response by markets to Tymoshenko sentence

Arthur McCallum  Arthur McCallum, Head of Strategy at Eavex Capital. The October 11 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail and a fine of UAH 1.5bn (USD 188mn) for abuse of power has caused quite a stir internationally. We maintain our view that the escalation of the Tymoshenko situation is a reflection of… Continue Reading

Sberbank targeting cheap buyouts in crisis-rocked Europe

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Wounded European banks UniCredit Group, Raiffeisen, Societe Generale and KBC Group are the next most likely targets for acquisition-hungry Russian behemoth Sberbank.   Sberbank, which has already gobbled up Austria’s VBI and is looking at Dexia’s Turkish unit, is keen for more action in Western European countries bombed out by the… Continue Reading

BRIC exchanges join up the dots for alliance

By Marcus Williams. The exchanges of the emerging markets bloc of Brazil, Russia, India and China are forming an alliance to help deepen their liquidity and offer investors pooled exposure to their markets. This initiative was announced at the 51st AGM of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Johannesburg yesterday. The initiative brings together… Continue Reading

Bankers react in dismay as Russia opts to trade during New Year holiday

By Andrei Skvarsky.Moscow bankers reacted in shock and dismay after the unexpected decision to open Russian stock exchanges Micex and RTS during most of the 10-day national non-working period in early January. Many market participants had long planned holidays and had booked flights and hotels to foreign destinatations. The two bourses will stay open from… Continue Reading

Russia to bail out debt-ridden European countries?

By Marcus Williams. Russia may rescue Europe from its debt crisis provided it sees a concrete rescue plan from the continent’s partners, President Dmitry Medvedev’s economic aide said yesterday. Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the issue of debt with Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado, according to the aide Arkady… Continue Reading

Sberbank may bid for European lender’s Turkish subsidiary

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Russia’s Sberbank is considering bidding for DenizBank, a Turkish lender owned by troubled European bank Dexia.   Dexia, a Brussels-headquartered bank anticipating what would be a second state bailout in the past few years, has its foreign assets up for sale.   “It is clear that Turkey is very much in… Continue Reading

BNP Paribas may buy out Pioneer Investments unit from UniCredit

By Andrei Skvarsky. France’s BNP Paribas is considering a partial buyout of a Russian subsidiary of US-based investment manager Pioneer Investments from Italy’s UniCredit. TKB BNP Paribas Investment Partners, a firm controlled by the French lender and Russian railways monopoly RZD, would take over three funds with total assets of 998m rubles ($31.4m) from Pioneer… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Eternal Russia – The Eternal Return

By Eric Kraus, author of Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The major story is, of course, the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency – an outcome which we always thought likely given that Medvedev seemed a deeply counterintuitive choice for the Russian presidency. Totally lacking in charisma and with no experience of… Continue Reading

VTB Capital hires Goldman banker to run global flow sales

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s VTB Capital has hired Philip Hamilton from Goldman Sachs as global head of flow sales. Hamilton joined former colleague Atanas Bostanjiev, who left Goldman recently to spearhead VTB Capital’s international expansion. Hamilton will be based in London and run trading and sales operations for foreign exchange, credit, loans and rates, according… Continue Reading

Mid Europa boosts stake in solar power operator to 95%

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Mid Europa Partners private equity firm has announced it has boosted its stake in Energy 21, the region’s biggest solar power plant operator, to 95%. Mid Europa, the largest private equity firm focused on Central and Eastern Europe, manages funds worth about 3.2bn euros. An independent firm headquartered in London, it also… Continue Reading

Merrill Lynch dismisses Russian managing director Babayan

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Bank of America Merrill Lynch has dismissed Sergey Babayan as managing director of its Russian subsidiary and co-head of the Moscow-based global markets team.   Babayan, who formerly held senior jobs at Deutsche Bank, Troika Dialog and ABN AMRO, was the only non-technical employee at Moscow’s Merrill Lynch Securities to be cut… Continue Reading

Gazprombank hires S&P's Trofimova for investor relations role

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s Gazprombank has hired Ekaterina Trofimova, a former Standard & Poor’s senior analyst, as head of investor and client relations. Trofimova, who was a Paris-based banking analyst for Russia and former Soviet states at Standard & Poor’s, has been given the position of first vice president at Gazprombank, according to a statement… Continue Reading

East Capital Explorer names Mia Jurke as CEO

Swedish investment company East Capital Explorer has appointed Mia Jurke as its new chief executive. Jurke joins East Capital Explorer to replace Gert Tiivas who joins the Swedish firms private equity business in the Baltic countries. Peter Elam Håkansson, chairman of East Capital, said: “East Capital is the investment manager of East Capital Explorer. The… Continue Reading

Sberbank, VTB seek limits on foreign banks’ access to privatisation deals

By Andrei Skvarsky. Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s two state-controlled banking giants, have complained to the government that foreign banks are getting most of the mandates to sell shares in the current national privatisation programme. In a joint letter to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, whose duties include general oversight of Russia’s finance system, chief executives… Continue Reading

Danish bank Saxo opens shop in Moscow as others retrench

By Marcus Williams. Danish investment Saxo Bank is opening a new representative office in Moscow just as existing players are cutting staff in the Russian capital. Saxo, an online trading and investment specialist, said the opening is a strategic move “to strengthen and expand its position as a leading provider of online trading and investment… Continue Reading

Vozrozhdenie bank may be sold to Russia’s richest official

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Russian bank Vozrozhdenie is planning a sellout to Vladimir Kogan, who, according to his 2010 incomes declaration, is Russia’s wealthiest official.   The Moscow-based lender is in talks on the potential deal with Kogan, according to Russian daily Vedomosti.   Kogan, the 48-year-old director of the construction department at the Regional Development… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Troika close to naming successor to Der Megreditchian

By Andrei Skvarsky. Troika Dialog is close to naming a replacement for Jacques Der Megreditchian, who quit as the Russian brokerage’s head of global markets last Friday, Troika insiders said. Der Megreditchian’s duties have provisionally been distributed between Alexei Zaitsev, Timur Nasardinov and Konstantin Tserazov, who were deputies to the former senior manager. Troika’s chairman… Continue Reading

Putin-VTB Capital love-in gets underway

The annual VTB Capital ‘Russia Calling‘ investor conference is underway in Moscow with “more than 2000 global business and political leaders” in attendance for the third year of the event. Premier Vladimir Putin, who was involved in the genesis of the state-controlled investment bank, will again formally open the conference on Thursday. Alexey Yakovitsky, “global… Continue Reading

BNP Paribas names Moiron country head for Russia

By Marcus Wiliams. French banking giant BNP Paribas has appointed Jean-Yves Moiron its Moscow-based country head for Russia and Belarus. Francois Regnier will replace Moiron as the country head next spring, the Paris-based bank said in the statement. The lender announced  in September that it has no plans to further develop its customer base and… Continue Reading

Renaissance hires Credit Suisse's Berent to run wealth unit

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s Renaissance Group has hired Leo Berent from Credit Suisse to lead a team providing services for ultra-high net worth individuals. Berent has been appointed as deputy head of Renaissance Advisors, the group’s division focusing on private financial and advisory services in Russia, the CIS, Africa and other geographies, Renaissance said in… Continue Reading

Who is Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov ?

 By Andrei Skvarksy. Anton Siluanov was a low-profile career civil servant before being named last week as Russian interim finance minister to replace Alexei Kudrin, to whom he had been a deputy for several years. Although Siluanov is not expected to continue beyond the lifetime of this government, there is an expectation as he tries… Continue Reading

EBRD to invest in Russian housing estates

By Andrei Skvarsky.   The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has committed $20m in a project to build affordable housing in Russia.   The EBRD said in a statement it would hold a significant minority stake in the project’s developer, Ecodolie, which is owned by Baring Vostok Private Equity Fund IV.  The EBRD is… Continue Reading

Renaissance parts company with two senior managers

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s Renaissance Group has parted company with Ashar Qureshi, head of its fund management business, and Yury Gruzglin, global head of fixed income, currencies and commodities. Qureshi combined his role as chief executive of Renaissance Asset Management with the position of vice chairman of Renaissance Group. Qureshi joined the group in February… Continue Reading