Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Renaissance readies partnership deal in Korea

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

20 February 2008

Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital is to sign a partnership agreement with Korean bank Hanwha Securities to give Korean retail investors access to Russian asset management products.

Renaissance has investment banking joint ventures with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Australia’s Macquarie Bank, along with an informal mergers and acquisitions tie-up with US bank Lehman Brothers.

Stephen Jennings, Renaissance’s founder, last year told Financial News the bank could only do a limited number of partnerships. He said: “How many best friends can you have? You can only have a small number.”

Alexander Kotchoubey, managing director of Renaissance Investment Management, said the two banks had signed a memorandum of understanding to work together – initially in asset management and brokerage, with a view to developing the relationship further in investment banking.

Kotchoubey said: “There is a revolution happening in retail capital. People are looking for substitute markets and the Koreans have been investing in Chinese bonds and are now looking for substitute markets to invest in.”

The two banks will shortly launch a Russian mutual fund in Korea and plan to develop hedge funds and wealth management products.

Hanwha, a subsidiary of one of Korea’s top 10 conglomerates, was chosen as a partner because it has launched a fund investing in Kazakhstan. Renaissance is developing a full-service central Asian investment bank located in Kazakhstan’s financial capital Almaty. Staffing there is being doubled to more than 80 personnel.

Kotchoubey said: “We are very bullish about the central Asian marketplace, as is Hanwha. Korean companies such as Samsung have car factories in Kazakhstan and are expanding in the region. At the moment, the relationship is about investment management but it will develop.”

An agreement is expected to be signed by the end of the month.

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