Saturday, 24 November 2007

Fund Giant to Launch Retail Funds in Russia

Wealth Briefing

November 22, 2007

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

Fund giant Pioneer Investments is to launch its first Russian domiciled retail funds in Moscow in January.

A senior source close to Pioneer's parent group UniCredit told WealthBriefing: "We will soft launch funds in January and then go public in February."

Elena Loginova, previously chief executive of DWS Investments in Russia, has been hired to lead the business.

Pioneer Investments also plans to offer separate accounts for high net worth individuals, as well as products for institutional clients.

Karen Kesoyan has also been hired as head of marketing from Troika Dialog.

Unicredit is also rebranding its Russian subsidiaries Aton Capital and International Moscow Bank (IMB) but dismissed speculation of a merger.

Unicredit Aton, acquired late last year for $424 million, will focus on brokerage, capital markets origination, research and M&A advisory.

IMB, acquired by Unicredit's Bank Austria unit, will be rebranded as UniCredit Bank and will run fixed income, foreign exchange and money markets activities.

A Unicredit spokeswoman in Milan, told WealthBriefing: "There are currently no plans to merge the two banks. UniCredit via IMB and Aton will open new perspectives for local Russian clients as well as for investors into the Russian market.

"Just like in other Central Eastern Europe countries, UniCredit envisages becoming one of the leading providers of highly sophisticated products and services with a strong local foothold."

Rebranding is expected to start by year-end and will be accompanied by an advertising campaign in Russia and international media.

UniCredit last week paid $2.1 billion for a 91.8 per cent stake in Kazakhstan's ATF Bank, the country's fifth largest.

The group said the deal, which is the biggest foreign investment to date outside Kazakhstan's oil sector, would provide "a hub" for Unicredit to advance deep into central Asia.

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