Barclays Russia on the block again as Kazakhs back out

Barclays Bank’s deal to sell its Russian retail unit to Kazakhstan’s leading lender by assets is no longer on the cards, according to Kommersant. Kazkommertsbank is believed to have changed its mind after reaching a tentative agreement with the British lender in February. The British bank opted to sell the former Expobank business because it… Continue Reading

Financial regulator not to intefere in "more calm'' markets

By Ivan Anderzhanov. Russia’s financial regulator has opted not to interfere by using market controls like it availed of in the aftermath of the last financial crisis in 2008. Dmitry Pankin, head of the Federal Financial Markets Service, held a meeting with traders and representatives of the Central Bank of Russia to discuss the  highly… Continue Reading

Otkritie nabs Natkin for New York sales position

By Marcus Williams. Russia’s Otkritie Capital has recruited J.P. Natkin from French bank Credit Agricole as director of equity sales for its new Wall Street office. J.P. Natkin, a Russia veteran with over two decades of experience, worked in Russia for the Australian resource venture capital group Vanguard Petroleum. Most recently, he served as a… Continue Reading

Sberbank slashes branch network by 239

By Ivan Anderzhanov. Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, has cut its retail network by 239 in the first six months of this year even as major foreign lenders retreat from the sector. Data from the Central Bank indicates that rival Russian banks like VTB24, Gazprombank, Alfa-Bank and Rosbank have increased the size of their retail network,… Continue Reading

Russia Finance Minister Kudrin 'quits' after 11 years

By Marcus Williams. Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, the cool-headed darling of the country’s purse-strings, has resigned after clashing with President Dmitry Medvedev. Kudrin, who ran finance since 2000, quit the government after saying he would not work under Medvedev in next year’s cabinet due to serious disagreements over spending in defense. Kudrin had indicated… Continue Reading

Kudrin depature to rupture Russian investment case

By Ivan Anderzhanov and Eugene Kasevin. Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin‘s statement that he is unwilling to work in a future Russian government after the presidential elections will dent investor confidence in the country’s fiscal discipline. Kudrin yesterday ruled himself out of working in the next government, if President Dmitry Medvedev becomes premier, following Vladimir… Continue Reading

Dutch minister urges EU sanctions for Magnitsky’s alleged killers

By Andrei Skvarsky. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has called for European Union-wide sanctions on Russian officials blamed for the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky if Russia fails to take criminal action against them. “Depending on the outcomes of the Russian judicial investigation, I intend to raise the possibility of further action at… Continue Reading

Russia seeks to lift the lid on Swiss bank accounts

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Swiss government has promised to disclose details of some of the Russian accounts in Swiss banks to Russian authorities. Under an agreement planned for this week, Russia would be able to seek such information if any of its citizens with a bank account in Switzerland is suspected of tax evasion or… Continue Reading

Jordan asks to join EBRD

By Andrei Skvarsky. Jordan has asked to join the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a view to receiving EBRD funding, the European institution said in a statement. Jordan has now joined Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in seeking EBRD membership. The four nations are the target of support under the “Deauville Partnership”, launched at… Continue Reading

RenCap hires economist for Turkey, Eastern European countries, Egypt

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian broker Renaissance Capital has hired Mert Yildiz from Kuwait China Investment Company as economist for Turkey, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Egypt. Yildiz, who will be based in London, worked as an economist at the Istanbul operation of Dutch bank ING before joining Kuwait China Investment Company, RenCap said in a statement. Continue Reading

VTB expects bailed-out Bank of Moscow to make rocketing profits

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s state-owned VTB Group, which is taking over Bank of Moscow, expects the latter to make a minimum net profit of 30bn rubles for 2013, a sum equivalent to $954m at the current exchange rate. Bank of Moscow recorded losses of 68.3bn rubles ($2.17bn) for 2010. However, VTB expects the capital city’s… Continue Reading

J.P. Morgan lends $100m to Sberbank

By Andrei Skvarsky. J.P. Morgan has extended a five-year loan of $100m to Sberbank for the “pre-export financing of a corporate client in the Russian oil and gas sector”, Russia’s biggest lender said. The loan “comes at a time of uncertainty about the availability of liquidity in Europe and is testimony to our trusted relationship… Continue Reading

BNP Paribas replaces chief operating officer in Moscow

By Andrei Skvarsky. French bank BNP Paribas has appointed Palle Larsen as chief operating officer at its Russian subsidiary, having moved him over from a similar job in Paris. In his Moscow-based position Larsen, who is Danish, replaces Kieran MacMahon, who has been transferred to the French lender’s representative office in Turkey, according to Russian… Continue Reading

RenCap records 25% drop in London operation’s revenues for 2010

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Renaissance Capital’s London-based operation recorded a 25% drop in its revenues for last year due to a change of strategy. The London firm’s revenues plunged by $17m to $52m in 2010 due to its changed strategy of earning its income from commissions on a brokerage basis, rather than by profiting… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog hires Merrill’s Todd Berman to co-run investment banking

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian broker Troika Dialog has hired Todd Berman from Bank of America Merrill Lynch as co-head of investment banking. Berman, who takes up his new role early next month, will share the job of running Troika’s investment banking business with Igor Sagiryan, who joined the Moscow-headquartered brokerage two years ago, the firm said in… Continue Reading

Russia’s sovereign private equity fund names advisers

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign institution for promoting foreign investment in Russia’s barren private equity sector, has put together an international advisory board, appointing to it company chiefs and sovereign wealth top brass from various countries. The board’s nine members, who will work on a pro bono basis, include top figures… Continue Reading

Troika’s Vardanian quits as head of Skolkovo management school

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Troika Dialog’s founder and chief executive, Ruben Vardanian, has stepped down as president of the Kremlin-overseen Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. Vardanian, who will remain involved with the school, heading its Committee on International Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships, has been replaced by Andrey Rappoport, one of the institution’s founding partners.… Continue Reading

Russian sovereign fund for private equity support makes top hires

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign fund for the promotion of foreign investment in Russia’s private equity sector, has announced a series of top hires, bringing in bankers from Troika Dialog, Alfa Group and other firms. Directorships have been handed to Richard Ogdon from Troika Dialog, Tagir Sitdekov from Alfa… Continue Reading

BREAKING NEWS: Kremlin gets rid of "business-friendly" Prokhorov

Eugene Kasevin, EM in Moscow Recent sabotage in Mikhail Prokhorov’s Right Cause party has taken a hard turn today when Russia’s biggest taxpayer was forced to withdraw his party membership along with his leadership. Mikhail Prokhorov, a billionaire whose assets include half of Russian brokerage Renaissance Capital, has publicly accused Vladislav Surkov, President  Dmitry Medvedev’s first deputy chief… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: Moscow, twinned with Cushing

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog. On the face of it, there is little in common between the Russian capital, population 11.5 mln, and Cushing, Oklahoma, population 8,400. But they do have one important factor in common; Cushing is where the price of WTI is fixed, and over the past six months, the… Continue Reading

Putin-linked lender to buy out Bank St Petersburg

By Andrei Skvarsky. Bank St Petersburg, one of Russia’s biggest regional lenders, is planning to sell out to the Rossiya bank as state-controlled entities mop up privately held banks. Rossiya is controlled by Yury Kovalchuk, a man widely reputed as Putin’s “personal banker”. The two banks, both of which are based in St Petersburg, are… Continue Reading

RenCap hires Nomura's Shambayati to co-lead global markets

By Andrei Skvarsky. Moscow-based Renaissance Capital has hired Soroosh Shambayati as managing director and global co-head of markets from Japan’s Nomura. Shambayati will have responsibility for fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) in Rencap’s key geographies of Russia, the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Asia and Africa. At Nomura, he had been chairman of global emerging markets.… Continue Reading

Troika names Aton's Fedorova for business support role

Troika Dialog, the brokerage being acquired by state-controlled Sberbank, has appointed Irina Fedorova as director of business support. Fedorova, who last worked at Aton in a business support role, will be responsbile for supporting Troika’s private client division as well as “servicing private clients within the framework of the Sberbank merger”. Prior to Aton, she… Continue Reading

China to launch investment fund for Russia

By Andrei Skvarsky.   China plans to launch a fund to help Chinese small and medium-sized firms to invest in Russia.   China’s National Development and Reform Commission has invited Russia to join the fund when the latter becomes well-established, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. Continue Reading

The Brits are fast fading in Russia as PM Cameron arrives

By Andrei Skvarsky. British banks HSBC and Barclays, along with oil major BP, are fading from Russia just as UK Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in Moscow on Monday to try to reverse a nadir in British-Russian relations. HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, has shut its modest Russian retail network after committing $200m for building it… Continue Reading

Ex-MICEX boss Rybnikov put at helm of St Petersburg commodity exchange

By Andrei Skvarsky. Ex-head of MICEX Alexei Rybnikov has been appointed as president of the St Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX), a commodity trading floor. SPIMEX’s board of directors unanimously put the reins in the hands of Rybnikov, who headed JP Morgan Chase’s investment banking operation in Moscow and Russia’s National Depository Centre before joining… Continue Reading

VTB Capital hires Ilya Veller from UniCredit for equity sales role

By Andrei Skvarsky. VTB Capital has confirmed to that it has hired Ilya Veller from UniCredit Securities as senior manager for equity sales at its Moscow office. Veller had a brief six month tenure at UniCredit’s Moscow brokerage, where he headed the special situations group. He previously oversaw sales at Russia’s Aton Capital, which… Continue Reading

HSBC launches emerging markets ETF on the LSE

By Andrei Skvarsky. HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, has launched an emerging markets fund onto the London Stock Exchange. The Irish-domiciled HSBC MSCI Emerging Markets Exchange Trade Fund will replicate the performance of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) emerging markets index, which tracks the performance of major companies in countries such as Brazil, Russia, China… Continue Reading