Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Sberbank to team up with Troika

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow
04 March 2008

Russia's biggest lender, Sberbank, is to sign an agreement to distribute mutual funds for Troika Dialog which could lead to greater co-operation between the two banks.

German Gref, the new chief executive of State-controlled Sberbank, said last month it was considering moving into investment banking, but no decision has yet been made on whether it will be developed internally or via acquisition.

Troika, a privately-owned investment bank, has previously rejected takeover approaches from JP Morgan and Credit Suisse.

Having hired Goldman Sachs to look into a flotation, Troika last year shelved plans for a listing until after Russia's presidential elections, which took place this weekend.

Pavel Teplukin, one of the founders of Troika and the head of its asset management unit, said the third-party distribution deal with Sberbank could lead to further co-operation.

He said: "We are trying to explore various avenues for our co-operation with Sberbank after the change in its management. Sberbank is one of the largest banks in the world and we have plenty of ideas."

Troika has over $5bn (€3.3bn) in funds under management but only $500m of that is from retail funds, known in Russia as public investment funds (PIFs).

Teplukin said the bank wanted to grow its mutual fund business to $7bn by 2012.

State-controlled Sberbank raised $8.8bn in May last year on the domestic market to recapitalise its balance sheet and finance lending growth.

The bank, which delayed a $1.5bn London share offering until the third quarter, has been overhauling its senior management team following the appointment of former economy minister Gref as chief executive late last year.

Anton Karamzin recently joined Sberbank from Morgan Stanley's Russian office as chief finance officer and deputy chairman.

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