Russia's Alfa-Bank goes back to basics to regain digital leadership
New chief executive says ‘smart simplicity’ hold key to success for Russia’s largest privately owned bank.
Euromoney's latest coverage of macroeconomic, FX, fixed income and equity market trends in the oil-producing economy.
New chief executive says ‘smart simplicity’ hold key to success for Russia’s largest privately owned bank.
Macro and monetary policy factors are affecting some currencies more than traditional commodity triggers.
Accepting payments from customers in Russia is not always a straightforward process, although interest in the area is growing.
Fitch sounds the alarm over unsecured consumer lending boom as household incomes stagnate.
Two borrowers beat US pressure by tapping into demand with euro and renminbi sales.
Five years ago it was a niche player specializing in consumer loans for the elderly – today Sovcombank is one of Russia’s largest privately owned banks, with a clutch of new shareholders from China and the Gulf.
With new US sanctions looming over Russia and the effects of higher oil prices largely already priced in, will the Russian rouble sink or swim as we approach the end of 2018?
Investment bankers hope for an autumn thaw after a spring freeze.
Cryptocurrencies are still not legal in Russia for now, but that isn’t stopping businesses from preparing to take hold of the future.
When the World Cup fanfare is over, investors must gauge whether the country represents a better bet than other emerging markets – and there are still some nagging doubts.
The state has done a lot of damage.
Soviet military bunkers in Kazakhstan and portable houses in Siberia linked up to the plumbing: Bitcoin mining is moving in some interesting directions that will become even more diverse as China cracks down on its domestic industry.
New technology and a handful of savvy operators have transformed banking for SMEs in Russia since the start of the decade.
Three years ago, Raiffeisen Bank International was on the casualty list – today it is again one of the best-performing banks in Europe.
On a recent visit to the Russian central bank on a wintry day, Euromoney’s eye was caught by a chap holding a large and surprisingly professionally produced billboard.
A cost-cutting drive and a dearth of deal making at home have made for a turbulent few years at RenCap.
Concerns over rising protectionism reducing the trade in goods might be offset by the growing trend for trade in services.
Tinkoff Mobile targets middle class with premium service; Sberbank offers free package to cut telecoms bill.
For the banking industry, 2017 was a time of trying finally to resolve issues of the past and avoid new mistakes, yet dig beneath the surface and it was also 12 months of intrigue and, sometimes, farce.
Primary issuance back to 2013 levels; private-sector names prove popular with investors
A pair of multibillion-dollar bank bailouts in under a month has roiled Russia’s banking sector and raised questions about the regulator’s competence – Dmitry Tulin, the central bank’s new head of banking supervision, insists such criticism is misguided.
Anyone trying to keep track of attitudes to cryptocurrencies among Russian policymakers could be forgiven for feeling a trifle dizzy going into December.
Sanctions and regulatory scrutiny stymie sales; western subsidiaries surge back to profit.
One large bank bailout may be seen as a misfortune; two certainly raise some questions.
Deposit run sparks Russia’s largest-ever bank rescue; central bank criticized for allowing debt-fuelled expansion spree.
Roman Lokhov has transformed BCS from a Russian retail broker to a full-service investment bank through a combination of technology, transparency and opportunism.
Spreads at multi-year lows as demand remains buoyant; Investors reverse underweight positions.
Euromoney’s latest Country Risk Survey shows a gradual rebalancing of risk scores this year, as the aftershocks of the global banking and sovereign debt crises wear off, political risks tied to the European electoral cycle fade, and capital access improves for EMs.
Experts are beginning to feel more confident about Russia’s prospects, and its credit ratings will ultimately reflect this.
Leading Russian investment bank adds Israel to coverage list; India next target after Essar sell-side mandate wins admirers.
International investors regain appetite for Russian stocks; Sovcomflot privatization on the table again.
International banks recently put up an unsecured loan for a Russian borrower with a parent on the US sanctions list.
Russia’s leading investment bank has seen its fortunes fluctuate over the past two years.
Matrix Capital to offer fund management, advisory; ‘perfect fit’ for global banks in era of Russia pullback.
US investors shun Russian privatization; global banks not required, say locals.
The rouble has enjoyed a strong start to the year, shrugging off underlying weakness in the Russian economy, leading the CBR to hike rates by 50 basis points on Friday.
Timing is right for Post Bank launch, says chairman.
Investment-banking volumes in emerging Europe have fallen to their lowest levels for more than a decade.
VTB Capital cemented its position as Moscow’s leading investment bank last year.
While irked by western dominance of Swift and determined to assert its monetary independence, the prospect of Russia going it alone on payments and messaging remains remote.
Russia is a safe haven, say bankers; local liquidity holding back supply.
Bad debts spark second wave of sector losses; CEO says low-cost, credit card model key to success.
In 2013, Russia’s central bank became a mega-regulator, overseeing a slew of credit institutions, from banks, insurance agencies, investment vehicles, micro-finance houses to pawnshops.
Elvira Nabiullina, Euromoney’s central bank governor of the year, is staunchly sticking to her controversial crisis-fighting plan as Russia reels from its biggest financial crisis since 1998.
A prolific bank buyer but notoriously publicity-shy, Igor Kim is little known outside his native Russia.
Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Central Bank of Russia, has been named Euromoney’s Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2015.
Central Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina is using orthodox but painful policy measures to combat the oil- and sanctions-driven storm that is ravaging the economy.
More secondary listings likely; consumer, tech, export stocks in focus.
Two successful IPOs should have been good news for the country’s markets – if anyone had bothered to tell the world more about them.
Banks are prepared to sit through a couple of lean years in emerging Europe’s largest market, given that it will bounce back eventually.
Raiffeisen insiders insist the bank’s current woes stem from circumstances beyond its control.
The rouble’s crash sent currencies tumbling across the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Emerging markets (EMs) with fiscal and external imbalances, vulnerable to capital outflows – including oil and other commodity producers struggling to balance their budgets – are among the 72 sovereigns downgraded since the end of 2014 by more than 440 economists and other country-risk experts.
Belarus’s leaders are promising a dramatic package of reforms that could overhaul the country’s sclerotic command economy and reduce its dependence on Russia.
Russia has been caught in the eye of a perfect storm.
As Europe has stagnated since the financial crisis, Russia proved an invaluable source of returns for a handful of lucky western banking groups.
The growing likelihood of an economic crisis in Russia will have a major impact on global markets in 2015.
Rouble brews trouble for Russia
Moscow’s revamped stock exchange has everything it takes to be a global player, with the exception of supply and demand.
As sanctions and falling oil prices force the rouble’s slide, country risk experts are questioning the ability of privately owned and/or state-backed banks and corporates to obtain credit and repay their debts amid capital flight and an economy in decline.
The latest results of a systemic risk index reveal elevated risks in Russia, Portugal and France but a generally marked improvement across the rest of Europe.
Analysts support the Central Bank of Russia’s (CBR) response to the collapse of the rouble, arguing it will shift market expectations and could stabilize the currency in the medium-term.
While sanctions are hitting the Russian markets and pushing up interest rates, senior executives at Sberbank and potash producer Uralkali tell Euromoney the country’s banks and corporates are looking internally and to the east for new sources of financing.
I was intrigued to see that Blackstone, the leading private equity firm, is disengaging from Russia.
Sector profitability holding up; central bank adds dollars to liquidity provision.
CEE enthusiasts should not despair just yet.
Incensed by their failure to reform, Brics policymakers have established a flawed rival to the World Bank and IMF.
Philosopher, philanthropist and father of 23 – Roman Avdeev is a far cry from the stereotype of Russian oligarch.
Russia’s consumer lenders are the modern face of Russian finance, and could prove resilient to the current crisis.
Sanctions overs the conflict in Ukraine have closed off western capital markets to some Russian companies, giving Asia an opportunity to take a greater role.
The escalating conflict in Ukraine and sanctions placed on Russia by the EU and the US are pushing private Russian money into Asian wealth centres and encouraging the country’s corporates to seek new sources of funding in the region.
The outrageous swings in fortune of Renaissance Capital over the past 20 years are the stuff of Hollywood legend.
The Russian rouble is facing strong headwinds as the political fall-out over the fatal MH17 plane crash and fresh economic sanctions bite, with analysts predicting a tough year ahead for the Bric currency.
Joint investment fund undertakes new deals; Kazakhstan’s nationalized bank sell-offs set to go.
The Washington-led sanctions on Russia, as well as officials and associates in the Putin circle, are toothless, Oleksandr Shlapak, Ukraine’s post-revolution finance minister, tells Euromoney.
Hopes that Russian issuers can fund all their needs in Asia’s markets are likely to be misplaced.
Fallout from the Ukraine crisis has not yet hurt the country’s planned infrastructure development programme.
Banks and their corporate clients are scrabbling to get up to speed and comply with a growing slate of US and European sanctions against Russia – or face unlimited fines and imprisonment.
The battle between the west and Russia over Ukraine is intensifying amid a full-on financial war.
Russia’s adventures in Ukraine are adversely affecting its international issuance.
The crisis in Crimea should give the west pause for thought in its relations with eastern European states and with Russia.
Russia-US tensions over Ukraine could be the 'first major political conflict that is played out in international financial markets', according to Citi, as sanctions take their bite.
Treasury professionals of companies with combined annual sales of more than $250 billion have voted China, India and Russia as the worst countries to repatriate company funds from, according to Euromoney’s ‘trapped cash’ pulse survey.
Five CIOs discuss asset allocation changes in light of the tension in the border countries.
Russia’s muscular posture on the Crimean region of Ukraine, re-awakening Cold War tensions, threatens to tip the economy into a mild recession and has put a spotlight on the country’s structural weaknesses amid political risk, say analysts.
While OTP and Raiffeisen are vulnerable to FX losses and a slowdown in Russia and Ukraine, the impact should be manageable, though there are some exceptions.
Although current account deterioration, persistent capital outflows and the Ukraine crisis would seem to weaken rouble, the central bank’s flexible FX regime should keep the currency out of turmoil, say analysts.
The scale of Ukraine’s challenge to correct economic balances is staggering, even if a political consensus is reached that would see an IMF support package.
Central and eastern Europe is attractive for private equity houses.
In an in-depth interview with Euromoney, the head of the powerful Russian state lender discusses domestic bank competition, regulation, credit growth and reveals the impact of state ownership.
VTB’s chief executive likens his role in Russian banking to that of a surgeon in a state-owned clinic.
Russian and western firms have shovelled millions into investment banks in Russia.
A new generation of firms are seeking market share from more established players in an already crowded investment-banking scene.
As growth slows, Russia needs to become less volatile as a market.
CFO and acting CEO Viktor Belyakov defends his firm’s strategy amid one of Russia’s biggest corporate dramas this year.
Tinkoff has sold a clever story of another kind of Russian bank.
The IPO of Tinkoff Credit Systems, a Russian consumer finance bank, trounces rivals’ valuations, even as bad debts tick up and tighter regulations loom.
Issuer ‘comes of age’; creates first euro benchmark.
During the past three years, Russian banks have plastered over holes in the corporate sector with record profits from retail.
In mid-2013, Rusal had its lowest net debt level since 2008: less than $10 billion, Oleg Mukhamedshin, deputy CEO, tells Euromoney.
Kazakhstan is set to remain the safest country in central Asia, and as the economy diversifies away from hydrocarbon and mineral reserves, it could soon precede Russia in the Euromoney Country Risk rankings.
Incoming governor holds bank’s first press conference; launches new refinancing facility.
With one or two exceptions, the majority of former Soviet independent states, alongside Russia, have become riskier this year, continuing longer-term trends.
Corruption levels are worsening across emerging markets and pose a real danger to the sustainability of economic growth, reckon ECR analysts
Qatar’s investment in VTB helps future deals between Russia and the Gulf, but relations will remain difficult.
Sberbank CEO German Gref says he has led Russia’s biggest bank through a thorough transformation.
Cyprus’s problems stem in part from doing business in Russia.
Sberbank chief German Gref, who – as the former economics minister – was the boss of Central Bank of Russia governor-designate Elvira Nabiullina, says the bank’s dominance in the country’s economic affairs won’t exert undue influence over monetary policymaking.
Putin gets a strong but pliant central bank governor in Elvira Nabiullina.
Once seasonal rouble demand for tax payments has passed later this month, the currency should suffer, given Russia’s close links to Cyprus.
The ramifications of selling contingent convertible bonds (CoCos) to retail buyers could be brutally illustrated by the bailout of Cyprus’s banking sector, while ties with Russia complicate strategy.
Rosneft signs second tranche; Maroc Telecom next
First Eurolira deals; Eurorouble bonds in vogue
The Russian government’s desire to build an international financial centre in Moscow is genuine.
A trio of successful listings out of emerging Europe has boosted bankers’ hopes of an equity primary markets renaissance in 2013, with prospects for further supply from Russia, Turkey and beyond.
Oleg Tinkov is at the forefront of the consumer-banking boom that is changing Russian finance.
A central securities depository, liberalization of the local bond market, movement to T+2 settlement and a stock exchange merger – it’s all very welcome in Russia’s capital markets.
There are good strategic reasons for Sberbank to be concerned about the growth of such operations as Tinkoff and Home Credit: and good reason for a counter-attack.
Russia must employ careful persistence in its movement towards a floating exchange rate.
$45 billion cash for TNK BP; Bond markets wait for more
John Hyman named CEO; Jennings refocuses on Africa
Depository law proves final hurdle; OFZ spreads tighten on foreign buying
A wave of lower tier 2 issuance will not deal with Russian banks’ strained capital levels.
State raises $5.2 billion; Clears way for Promsvyazbank, VTB
Alexei Kudrin thinks he has a solution to Russia’s twin troubles: anti-Putin street protests and an oil-financed pot of state patronage that is rapidly running out.
When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, few investors envisaged that the newly created republics would compete with their more westernized, democratic and reform-minded neighbours in central and eastern Europe.
Russia’s finance minister is, in the words of his predecessor, a rare example of a liberal in the government.
As president Vladimir Putin enters his third term, one of the main critics of the political and corruption risks in Russia is Bill Browder, chief executive of London hedge fund Hermitage Capital.
PPF exits Nomos; VTB backs $1.5 billion buyout
Russia is planning to launch a new state-owned investment agency next year to invest the country’s oil wealth in global financial markets, finance minister Anton Siluanov tells Euromoney in an exclusive interview.