В Лондоне прошло заседание оргкомитета Российско-Британской рабочей группы по банковско-финансовым вопросам

Minutes of the Initial Meeting of the Proposed Banking \Working Group

Date: Tuesday 13th January 2004

Time: 13.00

Venue: Baker & Mckenzie, 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JA

Chairman: Godfrey Cromwell, Executive Director, RBCC

Present: Godfrey Cromwell, RBCC
Oleg Preksin, Association of Russian Banks
Alison Conroy, HSBC
Oleg Lavroushin, Russian Finance Academy
Rodger Slape, Interfax
Jon Edwards, London Stock Exchange
Svetlana Rozanova, London Stock Exchange
Brian Kennedy, Moscow Narodny Bank
Dmitry Yemtsev, Moscow Narodny Bank
Sergey Kondratiev, Mosnarbank
George Piskov, Association of Russian Banks
Johnny Rizq, Lloyds TSB
Wladimir Ledochowski, RZB
Leo Stefan, RZB


1. Opening Remarks Oleg Preksin

Godfrey Cromwell

2. Discussion of Outline Proposal re the Russo-British Working Group on Banking and Finance (WGBF)

3. What do attendees expect to get from the Group?

4. Agreement of relevant topics for discussion

5. Options for a “Steering Committee” to move the process forward

6. Any other business


· Godfrey Cromwell (GC) made the introduction and explained that the purpose of the meeting and the banking group is to bring together those interested and coordinate mutual areas that the group wishes to push forward

· Oleg Preskin (OP) also made an introductory comment adding to GC’ introduction explaining that the idea is to create a semi formal group with the aim of reaching new developments and opportunities for businesses in the banking sector in Russia and the UK. He added that another function would be to explore the position that Britain plays in both European and international business and by doing so create an informal club. He added that all the members of this group are all specialists in different fields and can therefore the group will aid friendly relations whereby the participants can help and support each other to reach specific targets.

· OP stated that a pre meeting was held in Moscow with the Russian members a month ago. The aim of this meeting was to establish how much interest there was in such a group and where the interests lie. The subject of what the major activities should be and what direction the group should follow was also broached.

· OP explained the background of a few of the participating companies and explained where their interests lie.

Moscow Narodny Bank (MNB); a Russian owned British bank who are currently undergoing serious discussions regarding how the Central Bank of Russia can extract its capital. A subject which is currently widely discussed in the media.

Interfax: Interfax as well as focusing on the news agency business is also involved in the ratings business as Interfax is the founding member and major supporter of Interfax rating agency.

Mosnarbank: MNB is also represented in the group by S. Kondratiev who is with Eurofinance/Mosnarbank. Mosnarbank shows the result of the first real merger in the Russian banking sector

Moscow Financial Institute: This institute where many leading Russian bankers received their education is a leading university in the financial sector in Russia. Professor Lavrushin from the institute is also an active member of the working group on administrative reform in the banking sector.

Uniastrum: George Piskov from Uniastrom the manager of the bank is equally involved with traditional banking activities as well as in the brokerage house; he was also responsible for setting up the Association of Russian banks representative office in London.

· OP handed out faxes from various companies in Russia expressing their interest in the group (available on request)

· GC asked if any questions arise from the initial draft regarding the group that was drawn up in September. He then highlighted that the fundamental question we must discuss is what people would like to achieve and benefit from in forming such a group.

· OP: felt the need to explain what was discussed at the Moscow meeting in relation to GC’s comment. The meeting took place on 20th November 2003 in Moscow.

· Mr. Preksin explained that the areas for consideration that were highlighted in the Moscow meeting included:

· The Russians considered it useful to use the group to properly position the proper Russian financial institutions in their activities. Both sides can work together to establish how and what needs to be done.

They would like to use the British experience in developing the UK financial system to their advantage when working on banking reform and the subsequent supervision of it. Through doing this together the Russian side are confident that we will be able to attract the proper attention and implementation of particular proposals in banking reform.

Usage of the group to secure the proper way of accession to the WTO.

It was discussed that the not many research projects in Russia are wholly trusted. The group therefore could be used as a platform for discussion and debate of many issues.

The last issue that was discussed was that of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The experience of the British could be used to aid the implementation of both practical and legal procedures in Russia. The procedures used in the UK are acceptable here so therefore should be equally acceptable to the Russian legislators.

Areas to be considered for further discussion

Sergey Kondratiev (SK) explained that as Eurofinance and Mosnarbank are looking at privatisation and as this will undoubtedly become common practise in Russia it would be of interest to hear about UK experience on this issue especially concerning open tender and FSA requirements and procedures. In particular the UK procedures of termination of the price and whether this is announced officially would be of interest. Another potential topic would be who should have the authority to make decisions during privatisation of governmental property.

It was explained that perhaps the relevance of UK experience is more aligned with mergers and acquisitions rather than privatisation and therefore issues such as who would be the appropriate shareholder as well as a whole host of regulatory issues would be relevant.

OP stated that he has spoken to many banks who are saying the largest Russian banks have 2-3 years to decide what kind of banks they are going to do, whether they will the merge externally or internally. The general consensus is that the banking group could be used to avoid potential pot holes that they would otherwise be unaware of and also to aid finding mutually acceptable solutions that will be acceptable for both the Russian and international banking community.

Johnny Rizq added that not only would the UK bankers be able to help with valuation of the financial institutions but could also help once the merger has occurred. He explained that it is often much harder than it looks on paper as integration is harder than one might consider. He explained that although there is a lack of experience in this field in Russia, the UK banks have learned how to successfully deliver a merger with results, something that is not always guaranteed with the transaction.

George Piskov enforced that as a number of Russian banks are likely to merge in the next few years two areas of interest will be regulatory issues and business issue, for example legislation. He highlighted the need to aid the regulators what steps should be taken so as to avoid mistakes. Throughout group discussion he believes that they will know what to ask for when the Central Bank is implementing the same practises as in the UK.

Ideas for practical form for the Group


George Piskov suggested that a good way for banks to get to know each other without striking a proper due diligence business relationship is via secondments.

Internet Forum;

Another idea suggested was to create an internet forum as this is an easy way to exchange ideas. It is also beneficial as it is inexpensive. It was considered that the forum could be sponsored or perhaps banker.ru would be willing to host it.

Although the general consensus was that it was an interesting idea a few reservations were voiced. These included how best to dissimilate information. There would be a need to broaden information and awareness of the site. A suggestion was put forward that perhaps the EBRD would be interested in marketing such a site to its members.

Another idea to raise awareness was proposed by GC who interjected that a preliminary round of seminars would no doubt help to promote the forum and start discussions.

Another problem was raised in connection with sharing information on the internet. It was felt that perhaps members of the forum would be hesitant about sharing certain information, especially regarding regulatory issues. In response it was recommended that a moderator could be appointed.

Another possible difficulty put forward was that unless specific tasks are achievable then there is a danger that the forum could slip into being an advertising site. It was agreed that specific targets need to be put in place and met and that the forum will need to gain momentum and keep moving forward as well as remaining focused.

Roger Slape again stressed that human relationships need to be harnessed in order for such a tool to be successful. He stated that results will only be seen in the movers and shakers unite in making it happen.

It was generally agreed that the internet forum was a good idea and OP indicated that he would like to propose it at a formal meeting. He suggested that such meeting could take place in April just before the Russian Economic Forum when the results from the March election have been released. The date of 16th April was proposed as it was considered that a large number of both Russian and UK bankers would be available to attend.

It was questioned whether this internet forum would be up and running by this date.

OP replied that perhaps the minutes of this meeting could be used as a starting point. He suggested that we ask people to respond so a clear view can be formed as to what the contributors interests are so consequently their ideas and comments can be implemented. The suggestions will be put forward at the April meeting.

The following questions were put in place:

· Who exactly who you like to attract to attend the banking group?

Suggestions included the FSA, ECGD. Smaller Russian banks or larger banks?

· What topics do you consider preferable to discuss?

· What are you thoughts concerning the internet forum?

· What form other than the internet forum do you think the group should take?

It was agreed that each attendee should come up with 5 or so firm suggestions for the banking group which would be put forward at the next meeting. It was settled that Susannah Clark would coordinate this. All responses should be sent to her at the RBCC office either by email; events@rbcc.co.uk or by fax +44 (0)20 7403 1245.

The next meeting was set for Friday 16th April 2004.

The meeting was adjourned

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