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Capital Markets

Recruitment: Bankers swarm to Russian IPO honey pot

Russian firms seek investor-friendly foreign talent; investor-friendly foreign talent seek large bonuses.

Bankers bored by their jobs in the traditional financial centres will begin to defect in greater numbers to Russian companies, according to head-hunters working there. “Experienced professionals from big western banks are increasingly being lured by the promise of a share in the piles of roubles waiting to be made from Russian IPOs, as well as the chance to recapture the sense of adventure that comes with being present as an emerging market gathers momentum,” says Taru Oksman-Ison of the head-hunting company Principal Search.

Demand for experienced foreign bankers has soared in Russia. Many firms there are preparing initial public offerings, and they seek staff with sector knowledge and a reputation that will increase their credibility with investors. Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft, for example, hired former Morgan Stanley vice-president Peter O’Brien in March as it prepares for an offering later this year. The 36-year-old assumed the role of CFO in preparation for an expected July offering that Russian officials hope will raise close to $10 billion.

“If the noises I am hearing from clients are any indication,” Oksman-Ison says, “we can expect more of this kind of hire.” There are certainly other signs of a developing trend: at around the same time as O’Brien’s move, Alan Vine left his post as head of Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office to become chairman of the board at Russia’s Nafta Moskva group.

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