The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Russian investment bankers don suits

Scotching a reputation for cowboy practices, they are responding to demands for more sophistication and the state’s desire to create an important financial centre. New respectability is accompanied by impending consolidation that will leave eight or so leading houses. Elliot Wilson reports.

LIKE RUSSIA, A proud nation that has struggled with its own, post-communist identity, Moscow’s investment banking industry has spent the past two decades deciding what it really wants to be.

Since the early 1990s, when the nation opened its doors to foreign capital for the first time since 1917, investment banking has grown in fits and starts, proving either very profitable (1996 to mid-1998 and 2005 to mid-2008) or a horrendous vortex for sucking in money. It has also been dismissed as a dysfunctional market, at times blighted by financial freebooters.

In the past, investment banks have often leapt in feet first before realizing their mistake and have struggled to earn a regular wage in Moscow. One leading European banker said working in the capital was "like trying to get friendly with a bear: so long as you can feed and care for the beast you’re fine, but as soon as you run out of food, you’ll have your face ripped off".

Russia’s gruff, bearish image has been well earned. Over the past two decades big fortunes have been made, creating a whole class of billionaire-oligarchs. Those fortunes could often only be made because the country was the Wild East, a place where one’s personal safety, as well as that of one’s family, was dependent on an ability to dodge bullets, real and metaphorical.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree