Thursday, 2 August 2007

Fortis strengthens Russian venture

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

31 July 2007

Fortis Investments, the Belgo-Dutch asset manager, has doubled the number of staff in its Russian fund management joint venture to 90 and hired two senior investment professionals from a local rival.

The alliance with St Petersburg-based CIT Finance, completed in May, combines the companies’ interests in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries and Kazakhstan.

The venture has raided Russian rival Alfa Capital Partners for talent. Charles Tennes, former chief investment officer at Alfa, has been appointed head of equity, while Alfa portfolio manager Pavel Laberko arrives as head of research.

Tennes joined Alfa in 2003 from US hedge fund Rydex, where he oversaw $9bn (€6.6bn) in assets as portfolio director.

"Chuck Tennes is a leap forward for asset management in Russia," Alfa Capital chairman Bernard Sucher said, after hiring him.

Tennes is a commentator on financial media such as CNBC, CNNfn and Bloomberg TV.

Christian Fendt, director of the eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions at Fortis Investments, has moved to St Petersburg to become chief operating officer of the venture, which is headed by CIT’s Vladimir Tsuprov.

A spokeswoman for CIT Fortis said: "We have hired fund managers, middle and back office staff and we are looking for a head of sales and other sales people."

The joint venture, which has an office in Moscow, has launched a Kazakhstan subsidiary with six staff in Almaty, the Kazakh capital.

CIT Finance said assets under management had risen 44% to €910m since January.

Fortis said it wanted to tap into Russia's retail market and to offer international clients access to Russian investment opportunities.

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