Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital is axing its annual investment forum showcase in Moscow following a turbulent nine months when it has been forced to cut 50% of its staff and sell half of the company to billionaire oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov.
The three-day forum has in the past attracted thousands of investors and fund managers from the West with a stellar-line up of speakers, including former British prime minister Tony Blair and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
The Rencap forum, which was in its thirteenth year in 2008, has traditionally been run in June.
A Rencap spokesman said the group’s key executives would instead feature at the government organized St Petersburg Investment forum. He said investors were more interested this year in gaining access to government officials rather than plenum sessions on the state of the economy. Rencap is also hosting an exclusive dinner.
The St Petersburg forum, which will run from June 4-6, will be opened by Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev and will feature finance minister Alexei Kudrin and a plethora of top names from the cabinet, along with the chief executive of US financial giant Citigroup Vikram Pandit and the head of the British oil group BP Tony Hayward.
Russian rivals Troika Dialog will also be present in St Petersburg for the duration of the forum. Troika organized its own second forum in February in spite of the global economic crisis.
A Troika source said preparations for next February’s forum were already well underway with a full programme of plenary sessions and speakers from abroad expected in Moscow.
Investment banking sources suggested the influence of Prokhorov and his ONEXIM investment vehicle over Rencap was growing.
“Rencap have really had to tighten their belt since Prokhorov come on board. Headcount has been slashed, bonuses have been cut and all but non-essential travel is off,” said the source.
Troika, which sold a third of its business to South Africa’s Standard Bank, this revealed further senior job cuts. Giedurus Pukas, managing director of its private equity arm, is leaving the group along with at team to set up his own firm.
UK chief executive Howard Snell is also leaving the group to pursue other opportunities, as is institutional sales executive Louise Gibney.
A Troika spokeswoman said the latest job cuts had taken the headcount reduction down to 30%, from 25% taken in January.
Troika is also close to integrating Standard Bank’s staff in Moscow within the investment bank, asset management and private equity arms.
The bank dismissed Russian press reports that Troika president and asset management chief executive Pavel Teplukhin was leaving “as rubbish.”