Director of research, Hermitage Capital Management
Vadim Kleiner admits that "in the early days" his job could be a little dangerous, but now he assures me he has good relations with many of his old "enemies". He says: "They understand it's just business. Purely money. Nothing personal."
Kleiner has worked at Hermitage Capital Management for five years. But this being Russia and Hermitage being the famously activist investment company set up by Bill Browder, Kleiner's work remit is different from that of the average equity analyst. He says: "I sit on boards, negotiate with government ministers, battle on the legal front and then send out reports and research notes."
One such report recently landed him in hot water. In December, he made a presentation to the Adam Smith Institute's Russian banking conference in London, entitled: "Hermitage's Plan To Boost Sberbank Value". The report, in customary Hermitage fashion, did not mince its words. It accused Russia's largest bank of, among other things, making subsidized loans to oligarchs at the expense of ordinary Russian depositors; making even more subsidized loans to management and related parties and being overstaffed, inefficient and inequitable.
What made it worse was that Kleiner is a member of Sberbank's supervisory board, because Hermitage is a minority shareholder in the bank.