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Russia’s retail revolution

Low interest rates, lockdown boredom and super-sophisticated trading apps have lured millions of Russian retail investors into the capital markets over the past year. But will they stay for the long term?

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Photo: Reuters

Russia’s retail investment boom has been a long time coming. For years, brokers and policymakers exhorted the country’s citizens to put their savings into its capital markets but without success. High-yielding bank deposits and real estate remained the repository of choice, with investing a distant third place.

“After the first privatization boom in the early 90s, every year people were expecting retail investment to take off in Russia,” says Roman Zilber, head of retail at Raiffeisenbank in Moscow. “But it never happened and many in the industry started to believe it never would.”

Then quite suddenly last year everything changed. Russians rushed to the stock market in their millions, tales of trading derring-do – and occasionally skulduggery – dominated the headlines, US-style investment shows appeared on primetime TV and financial pundits became social media stars.

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Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker is ESG and Emerging Europe Editor. She started her career in banking before switching to journalism in 2003. She has been a regular contributor to Euromoney and Global Capital since 2010, covering emerging markets, banking and capital markets.
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