Monday, 24 September 2007

VTB hires for new global markets arm

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

24 Septembe 2007

Russian state-run bank VTB has appointed a former McKinsey consultant to develop its move into investment banking following the defection last week of Vasily Kirpichev to Dresdner Kleinwort.

Julia Chupina, a VTB board member, has replaced Kirpichev, who moved to London four months ago to take responsibility for VTB Europe, the investment banking start-up.

Steve Thunem, head of VTB’s newly created global markets group, said the bank plans to hire 60 staff in London and between 20 and 30 people in Moscow, for the new venture. VTB’s London team is moving into new offices next year at 14 Cornhill. The 6,360 sq m space is double that of its King William Street offices and is sufficient for a trading floor.

He said: “Investment banking will not be solely London-based. There will be two hubs in Moscow and in London. The intent is to manage Moscow-based investment banking activities in a separate entity, integrated with the London hub. Logically, it would make sense to locate activities such as equity trading and domestic sales, research, rouble bond trading and distribution in Moscow. We are also likely to develop sales and distribution in New York and Singapore.”

Thunem, who came from Dutch-owned bank ABN Amro in April, has been joined by former colleagues George Niedringhaus and Edward Bungey as head of fixed income and senior fixed income sales person, respectively. Martin Pasek, formerly at Credit Suisse, has been hired as head of structured products.

VTB is also seeking a head of investment banking, a head of equity markets and a team of 20 analysts and plans to build a small M&A advisory group. Russian banks are locked in a fight for talent with western rivals, such as Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, which are building teams in Moscow.

One senior banker who was approached for a job, said: “I am not sure the $50m (€35.4m) earmarked for between 15 and 20 bankers’ salaries is enough to work for a Kremlin-controlled bank. The headhunters, the Rose Partnership, do not have anyone in Moscow and do not seem overly familiar with the Russian banking scene.”

The battle to secure top bankers has resulted in a merry-go-round among leading investment banks. Dresdner hired Kirpichev after the defection last year of its senior rainmaker Bob Foresman, head of the bank’s Moscow office, to Renaissance Capital, the leading independent investment bank operating in Russia.


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