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  • 22 Jun 2017 7:16 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Thomson-Reuters in cooperation with CFA Association Russia held a morning seminar on the company’s existing products, their proper use, and how financial analysts could benefit from using them.

    During the event CFA Russia also broke the news that it has worked out an agreement with Thomson-Reuters based on which the members of CFA Russia will get a one-month free trial access to some of the company’s databases. 

    Furthermore, all companies that hire CFA Russia members will also receive discounts when purchasing Thomson-Reuters data analysis tools.

    The morning event, held at the Thomson-Reuters office, gathered over 30 financial professionals. There were three speakers from Thomson-Reuters at the seminar: Nikita Pavlov, the head of the capital and FX markets department, Ilya Parfenov, an AIM client specialist advisor, and Ekaterina Morozova, a business development manager.

    Following a brief introduction by Vladimir Tutkevich, CFA Russia’s executive director, Nikita Pavlov took the floor. He began with an overview of the company and told a bit about the work of Thomson-Reuters’ office in Russia.

    “I’m very proud that the team from Russia creates products that are relevant for everyone in the world,” said Nikita.

    Ilya Parfenov was up next and focused on Datasteam, powerful Thomson-Reuters-built software that combines economic research and strategy development with analysis. According to Ilya, the program allows to bring together the “top-down” and “bottom-up” aspects of the investment workflow. Software also has strong analytical tools that provide critical data sources.

    After a short coffee-break, Ekaterina Morozova gave a short presentation on how to analyze the foreign exchange markets and effectively trade using Thomson-Reuters databases.

    On a final note, Vladimir Tutkevich said that the final details of the agreement between CFA Russia and Thomson-Reuters are currently being finalized and CFA Russia will disclose them within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more information. 

  • 19 Jun 2017 6:27 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Last Friday, CFA Russia sent Dmitry Ryabykh and Denis Sitnikov, the instructors of two leading training courses on financial modeling and business valuation, to attend a special seminar given by Aswath Damodaran, a world renowned scholar of finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

    Professor Damodaran is the author of many academic papers and influential books on business valuation, corporate finance, and investment management. When it comes to the subject of valuation there are very few experts worldwide like Professor Damodaran.

    From the left to right: Denis Sitnikov, Dmitry Ryabykh, Aswath Damodaran, and CFA Russia's executive director Vladimir Tutkevich.

    During his seminar in Moscow, Professor Damodaran explained what are the differences and similarities between valuation techniques to be used on Uber, Ferrari, and the Russian steel company Severstal. The seminar was of a great value to everyone interested in business valuation and finance.

    During the next financial year, CFA Russia is planning to expand its training courses by bringing in a few new instructors and updating its course curriculum. Stay tuned to consider participating as a student or an instructor

  • 14 Jun 2017 5:05 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Melancholic reflections on the rainy day of June 13 were brightened by CFA Association Russia’s social event in Totibadze Gallery at the Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod. CFA Russia invited Muriel Rousseau-Ovtchinnikov, a renowned French artist whose paintings are currently displayed at the gallery, to talk about her work, modern art, and fascinating stories of her life.

    For about 30 CFA Russia guests it was a great opportunity to put aside the monotony of work and see Muriel’s exhibition named The Weather Changes The Happiness Stays, catch up with each other, and do some business networking in a friendly environment over a glass of fine wine and French cheese.

    Above: Muriel Rousseau-Ovchinnikov

    Muriel moved to Russia in 1993 after marrying a Russian painter, Nikolai Ovtchinnikov. Since then she has worked as a painter, designer, as well as founded the famous chain of cafes, Jean-Jacques (named after Jean-Jacques Rousseau to whom Muriel can trace back her lineage).

    It is through painting Muriel tells the story of her life – childhood spent in France, adult years filled with happiness, her arrival to Moscow and falling in love with Russia. Guests were pleased to learn about Muriel’s stories through the exhibition that was a look into her soul and an attempt to capture memories filled with happiness.

    After Muriel’s presentation and a few follow-up questions, the event smoothly turned into a friendly networking session during which the guests had an opportunity to meet each other over a glass of red Chilean wine and the servings of Brie cheese.

    CFA Russia would like to thank Marina Tsurtsumia, the director of Totibadze Gallery, for helping us with the organization of the event.

  • 08 Jun 2017 4:33 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    CFA Association Russia continued hosting its regular business breakfast series at the Correa’s restaurant on June 8. This time CFA Russia invited Evgeniy Ivkin, an expert in crisis management, who focused on how to sustain a stable growth and avoid making poor business decisions.

    Having obtained an MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago and worked in 15 different countries, Evgeniy brought an international perspective on conducting business in Russia. During the presentation he pointed out common mistakes that Russian companies make and suggested a few business strategies to prevent losses.

    Evgeniy explained the method of basic screening to filter out companies that cannot be saved by a crisis manager during the times of trouble. According to Evgeniy, there are four types of business models that cannot be fixed: businesses based on personal relationships, poorly managed businesses whose owners want a crisis manager to fix everything for them, businesses whose owners want a crisis manager to bring back the money he/she stole, and businesses that became ineffective a long time ago but their owners only noticed it now.

    There are two types of businesses in Russia, those that operate as a system and “chaotic” businesses. The former is a stable and coherent model, but unfortunately only 1-5 percent of Russian companies work that way. The other 95-99 percent operate chaotically, the guest speaker explained.

    A key factor in conducting a successful business is to focus on something one knows really well. “The typical mistake is to change one market segment to another or what is worse to start working in a completely different industry without enough knowledge and skills”, Evgeniy said.

    Another common mistake is to focus on personal interests of owners rather than those of clients. Sometimes entrepreneurs try to import business ideas from Europe or the United States and use them in Russia, but more often than not, their ideas fail due to significant differences in the market systems, client preferences and their mentality, Evgeniy explained.

    To sum up his presentation, Evgeniy talked about the importance of always working on the improvement of one’s business. “Business can be compared with the traffic light: it cannot stay the same for a long time, it always changes,” the speaker concluded.

    Text by Oxana Kozlova

  • 05 Jun 2017 4:23 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Although the principle of diversification is a key investment management strategy, when it comes to gender diversity, the investment industry is still largely dominated by men. CFA Institute recognizes this and is currently pushing to close the gender gap in the investment profession.

    Some countries, like Vietnam (43 percent) and Romania (39 percent), have a better men-to-women ratio than others, such as Saudi Arabia (3 percent) and Qatar (6 percent); however, according to a 2016 CFA Institute study, Gender Diversity in Investment Managementwomen represent less than one in five CFA charterholders globally.

    In Russia, the number of female CFA charterholders has increased by 2 percent over the past year. The 2016 report revealed that 15.5 percent of CFA charterholders in Russia were women. In 2017, that number has risen to 17.5 percent.

    Gary Baker, Managing Director of CFA Institute EMEA (on the left) and Neil Withers, President of CFA Association Russia (on the right) during CFA Russia's Annual Charter Awards Ceremony in December of 2016.

    Compared to other countries in Eastern Europe, Russia scored below Romania and Bulgaria (27.6 percent), but above Hungary (13.5 percent), Ukraine (13.1 percent), Poland (12.2 percent), and the Czech Republic (11.1 percent).

    The two percent hike also brought Russia closer to the United Kingdom (20 percent) and put it above the United States (16.4 percent).

    On a more long-term basis, CFA Russia has shown an increasing trend in the number of female charterholders. There has been a steady rise from 14.8 percent in 2013 to 17.5 percent in 2017.

    During his visit in Moscow, Paul Smith, CEO of CFA Institute, emphasized the importance of bringing in more women into the investment profession and making it more diverse. Some of the strategies of attracting and retaining women professionals include university outreach programs and educating companies on the effectiveness of a mixed-gender workforce.  

  • 01 Jun 2017 12:17 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Paul Smith, President of CFA Institute, spent a day in Moscow meeting the board members of CFA Association Russia before heading to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPEIF).

    CFA Russia board members met Paul for breakfast and had a chance to get to know him personally, before moving to the discussion of issues surrounding CFA Institute, its societies worldwide and future plans to increase membership and improve the global brand of the professional association.

    Having worked in the investment management industry and held various top positions in major financial companies across the world, the president of CFA Institute brought a lot to the table.

    “CFA Institute is focused on trying to deliver on its mission that is to raise professional investment standards throughout the investment community globally,” Paul Smith said.

    The president said that currently CFA Institute is focusing on the demand side of the CFA charter, working to bring awareness to employers around the world about the designation and making the CFA charter more recognizable. The main idea is that once more companies start seeing the real value of the CFA charter and require it for certain positions, then more people would seek to obtain it, thus increasing a number of CFA members and candidates worldwide.

    As of late, China has become a global leader in the number of CFA candidates.

    “It’s just China, really, there is no secret… 40 percent of all our candidates come from China,” Paul said, adding that a large portion of CFA Institute’s revenues now come from Asia.

    Apart from the increase of CFA candidates in Asia, Paul also mentioned about CFA Institute’s push to include more women in the investment profession. Currently, the numbers are not great, but the organization is working hard to change this, the president said.

    Finally, Paul and CFA Russia board members discussed some of the strategies on how to increase a number of members in local societies by improving membership value. The board members talked about future targets and goals that CFA Russia is aiming to achieve within the next couple of years.

    After spending a day in Moscow, Paul went to St. Petersburg to attend the SPIEF-2017 that is held during June 1-3. 

  • 24 May 2017 12:34 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    On March 23, CFA Association Russia held its regular business breakfast, focusing on the early stages of startups and how their founders could build successful businesses with the help of venture capitalists.

    The invited speakers at the event held at the Food House restaurant, which has lately become a regular gathering place for the CFA Russia community, were Dmitry Chikhachev, Managing Partner at the venture capital firm Runa Capital, and Mikhail Ushakov, a young entrepreneur known for the development of Forksy, software designed for weight loss and healthy-eating and the browser extensions company Metabar that a few years ago was successfully sold to Russian Internet-giant Yandex.

    When dealing with the management of a startup, investors should only be motivated by how to best allocate available resources to maximize their value, Dmitry explained. Whereas startup founders can (and often have) other non-monetary incentives, such as comfort, a desire to work with his/her friends only or even a dream to change the world, investors’ key interests should be focused on the increase of a company’s cost.

    Dmitry Chikhachev from Runa Kapital talking to Boris Tawakkoli (left), a member of CFA Russia's board of directors, and Vladimir Tutkevich, CFA Russia's executive director.

    Although startup founders seek personal interests when managing their companies, they should understand that when they sign an agreement with investors, their personal interests should be put aside.

    “The moment you sign an investment agreement, you become judicially responsible to satisfy the needs of your investors and shareholders,” Dmitry said.

    The speaker also added that the idea of fiduciary duty and all the legal responsibilities that come with it are a common thing in the West; however, some startup founders in Russia still fail to follow and oblige this concept.

    According to Mikhail Ushakov, the most important moment for a startup founder is when his/her company becomes profitable. That is the key and that is what all startup founders should strive for.

    Mikhail Ushakov, the founder of Forksy

    Speaking about the relations with investors, Mikhail pointed out the importance of trust.

    “It can be hard to achieve, as startup founders and investors may have different interests, but it’s important to build trust,” Mikhail emphasized, adding that without the element of trust it can be hard to become successful.

    The speakers soon turned their presentation into a dialogue, as the members of an audience were eager to ask questions and join a conversation. Compared to the San Francisco Bay Area, Russian startups may be in their infancy, however, slowly but surely, new entrepreneurial ventures are starting to get traction in Moscow and other big Russian cities.

    CORRECTION: The previous version stated that Mikhail Ushakov sold Forksy to Yandex. This turned out to be false; instead, Mikhail sold his another startup to Yandex, the browser extensions company Metabar.

  • 22 May 2017 12:35 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    As the June CFA Exam is quickly approaching, CFA Association Russia held the Kaplan Schweser Live Mock CFA Exam on May 20. For the second time in a row the Mock Exam took place at the Economic Faculty of the Moscow State University (MSU).

    Over 130 people registered for the Schweser Mock Exam, which helps CFA candidates to put their skills and knowledge to a real test.

    The Mock Exam lasted six hours, observed all the rules set by CFA Institute, and was identical in its format, difficulty, and length to the actual CFA Exam.

    After the exam, all participants were given answer keys and access to online answer explanations. The Schweser gives the candidates a chance to get a full picture of the upcoming CFA exam and also see how they scored in comparison with other candidates. All of this helps to refresh the knowledge and gain confidence CFA candidates need to pass the actual CFA Exam in June.

    CFA Association Russia wishes the best of luck to all candidates taking the CFA Exam on June 3.

  • 18 May 2017 4:50 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    CFA Association Russia tried out a new format for its regular business breakfast, held on May 16 in the Food House restaurant on New Arbat Street. This time, the association invited five different experts, all from the Ernst & Young (EY) accounting firm, to discuss the ins and outs of M&A deals.

    Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are transactions in which companies and other business organizations change their ownership by purchasing, selling, transferring or combining their operating units. M&As help companies to grow, merge with other enterprises to become more competitive and cost-effective, change the nature of their business or even survive.

    A great deal of complex documentation and legal obligations need to be fulfilled and taken care of before and during a M&A deal. That’s what the EY experts – Victor Kalgin, Andrey Sulin, Yuri Nechuyatov, Denis Shaklein and Andrey Rechitskiy – came to talk about at the event.

    Andrey Rechitskiy and Andrey Sulin kicked off a presentation telling about the key stages of M&A transactions and what kind of hidden traps one could face during a process.

    Andrey Sulin (left) and Andrey Rechitskiy

    “The longer time it takes to seal a deal, the higher chances of failure it has,” Rechitskiy explained. However, he also added that one shouldn’t rush either, as a hasty decision can also be detrimental for a process.

    Andrey Sulin also mentioned about BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) before introducing Yuri Nechuyatov to the audience. Yuri focused on current tendencies in taxation. In particular, he talked about the impact of BEPS in M&A transactions. Among other things, the expert pointed out that the BEPS strategy is currently being actively used in Russia

    Victor Kalgin, CFA, an active member of the CFA Russia community, took the floor next and spoke about the principles of taxation. According to Victor, the three key principles of taxation are “people, business, and transparency.” 

    Speaking of transparency, Victor emphasized how important it is to be honest when declaring taxes. “A revenue agency will find out about everything. It will eventually know everything about all the assets that you own,” Victor said, suggesting not to try to hide anything from tax authorities.

    Victor Kalgin, CFA

    When carrying out M&A transactions companies face a series of complex legal questions. Denis Shaklein, the fifth speaker, extensively talked about a number of legal issues present in M&A deals.

    A full video from the event is available in the members-only area of the CFA Russia’s website.

    Text by Oxana Kozlova

  • 03 May 2017 3:18 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    After winning the Russian stage of the 2016-2017 CFA Institute Research Challenge, the annual global competition among student teams in financial analysis, the teams from the Moscow State University (MSU) and the Higher School of Economics (HSE) competed at the EMEA Regional Final held in Prague on April 27.

    36 teams from all across the EMEA Region were invited to the Czech Republic. The teams were randomly divided into six groups with six teams competing in each. One team advanced from each group to the evening part of the final to figure out which team would represent the EMEA Region at the Global Final that was also held in Prague the next day.

    A team from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) at the EMEA Regional Final in Prague

    Following a tough competition between the six group winners, a team from Norway emerged as the winner of the EMEA Region and joined the Americas and the Asia Pacific Regional champions at the Global Final.

    Just like last year, a team from the Americas became the best team in the world. According to judges, students from Barna Business School in the Dominican Republic had the best performance, edging their colleagues from Europe and Asia.

    CFA Association Russia is proud of every single student from Russia that participated in the EMEA Final. They all demonstrated hard work and dedication, and spent endless hours in preparation to this competition.

    "The event and its atmosphere were unforgettable. We had a chance to meet people from all over the world who were as passionate about finance as we are," said Evgenia Bystrova, the captain of the MSU team.

    MSU students won the Russian stage of the Research Challenge in March

    Evgenia also added that everyone in her team gained the invaluable experience of public speaking by presenting a financial report in front of a large audience. It is worth noting that CFA Association Russia organized three public speaking training sessions for both MSU and HSE teams to polish up their presentation skills before the finals in Prague.

    "The Research Challenge was a great opportunity to learn," the young student from Moscow said.

    The association also would like to thank all participants and their faculty advisers of the Russian stage of the competition, as well as volunteers, including report graders, industry mentors and university staff who all helped students throughout the entire course of the Research Challenge.

    Neil Withers (first on the right), President of CFA Association Russia, with faculty advisers and industry mentors of the two Russian teams in Prague 

    And finally, CFA Association Russia expresses gratitude to Wiley, the Moscow Exchange, Thomson-Reuters and Kaplan Schweser, the four companies that sponsored and helped to put together the 2016-2017 local stage of Research Challenge. 

    Year after year, the Research Challenge is getting more popular and competitive among Russian universities. What started as a small Moscow-based event with only a handful of teams several years ago has now become a nationwide competition with over 40 teams representing universities from all across Russia.

    The CFA Institute Research Challenge gives university students practical mentoring and hands-on training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company, and each team writes a research report on its assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation.

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