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Russia investment banking: VTB Capital faces down the doubters

Russia’s leading investment bank has seen its fortunes fluctuate over the past two years. Alexei Yakovitsky, VTB Capital’s chief executive, talks to Euromoney about Brexit, Africa and state ownership and explains why sanctions have proved more of a blessing than a curse.

Alexei Yakovitsky-300

Alexei Yakovitsky, VTB Capital's
chief executive

Ever since the UK voted in June to leave the EU, the hunt has been on for the canary in the City of London’s metaphorical coal mine – the first big bank, fund or other financial firm to announce definite plans to take its business elsewhere after Brexit.

On October 11, it seemed that it had finally been located in reports that Russia’s VTB Bank is planning to shift its international investment banking operation to continental Europe in response to the UK’s referendum result. 

The speed with which VTB moved to refute the story, however, suggests that reports of the death of the canary – and the City of London – may be premature. The following day, on stage at VTB Capital’s glitzy Russia Calling forum in Moscow, group chairman Andrey Kostin is clear. 

“We are not going to leave the UK,” he tells a packed auditorium of investors and journalists waiting for president Vladimir Putin to put in a belated appearance. “The newspapers misunderstood our position.”

On the sidelines of the forum, VTB Capital’s chief executive, Alexei Yakovitsky, is equally emphatic.

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