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  • 28 Apr 2017 5:12 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    To its business breakfast on April 27, CFA Association Russia invited Dr. Sviatoslav Rosov, CFA, a research analyst from CFA Institute, and Alexander Filatov, a member of B&N Bank’s board of directors, to share their views on the present and future role of the fintech industry in Russia and worldwide.

    In his presentation Sviatoslav Rosov focused on the three key fintech areas: the peer-to-peer lending (P2P), Blockchain, and Robo-advisors.

    Originally, the P2P was meant to be the “uber” of personal and business credits, removing the need for banks. And in China it has really become that: 75 percent of the global P2P market is located there, and 20% of China’s consumer credit is P2P; the UK, however, has been casting a more critical eye on the industry, as it has become very different now from what it was in the past.

    Dr. Sviatoslav Rosov (left) and Alexander Filatov

    Over the last two years the world’s perspective on Blockchain and Bitcoin has changed from the “Bitcoin bad, blockchain good” to the “Blockchain is boring, let’s look at Bitcoin again!” position, as private blockchains, which seemed so promising at first, finally showed their small impact.

    ”There is maybe a realization that private blockchains may not be that important to the wider world. And maybe all the bad things about Bitcoin are just the price you pay for having something that is so useful”, the speaker said.

    Although the robo-advice industry has been quickly improving and some see it as a huge threat for investment advisors, Sviatoslav doesn’t think robots will completely substitute people, at least not anytime soon:

    “I don’t think that it will be enough for robo-advisors to completely take over, because robo-advisors don’t really sell advice, they sell ETF [Exchange-Traded Funds] portfolios. I think and I hope that the underlining demand is for investment advice, not simply for diversified portfolios”, Sviatoslav concluded.

    Following Sviatoslav’s presentation, Alexander Filatov took the floor and spoke about the main tends of fintech development in Russia. In the speaker’s opinion, the Russian fintech market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. “Russian mobile banks сan beat many London’s ones”, said the speaker.

    Exchange offices in Russia have been dying out, being substituted by mobile exchange services. Many new banking mobile platforms have appeared.

    “When I’m asked what is our [Russian] stock exchange I tell that our stock exchange is one big fintech. It’s monopolistic, not very flexible, nonetheless, marching in front of the world,” Alexander said. 

    Text by Oxana Kozlova

  • 27 Apr 2017 3:06 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    On April 25, CFA Association Russia held its regular business breakfast in a new format. The association invited a guru of project management, Vadim Bogdanov, a holder of both Project Management Professional (PMP) and Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) certificates, to give a workshop on how to successfully manage projects and get things done.

    To attain professional goals one must have excellent planning, organizational, executing, controlling, and problem-solving skills; and in today’s fast-paced environment these project management skills have become ever more relevant and are often the difference between success and failure.

    “According to the latest research (2017), by 2020 the lack of professional project managers all over the world will reach about 18 million people, which means that having a PMP certificate will make it a lot easier to land a good job anywhere in the world. Furthermore, another research shows that during the last decade, PMP certificate holders, in general, have been receiving a 5 percent higher salary than those without it,” the speaker said.

    Vadim pointed out that besides having good project management skills, successful managers should learn right strategies and procedures that would help to systematize projects. This is particularly important when a number of projects and their budgets increase.

    “That is why a manager should pick a right strategy for a specific project,” Vadim said.

    He explained, for example, that a pilot project with a small number of people involved is better managed using the Scrum methodology, while a larger and more repetitive project would be completed more efficiently with the PMBOK guidelines.

    With a large number of money being spent on failing and unsuccessful projects, companies should come up with more effective project management strategies. All of these require systematic step-by-step processes that Vadim mentioned during his workshop.

    Text by: Oxana Kozlova

    Editor: Nikolai Pavlov

  • 26 Apr 2017 12:16 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Every year, CFA societies around the world host forecast dinners, inviting experts and professionals to share their thoughts on important issues in the finance and investment industry. Keeping up with this global trend, CFA Association Russia held its fifth annual Forecast Dinner on April 19 at the stylish Tchaikovsky restaurant in central Moscow.

    While enjoying delicious food and fine wine, around 100 guests shared an evening of cheer and great discussions centered on important issues in the world of economy and finance. Everyone understands that in the current economic situation, it is crucial for financial professionals (and others alike) to forecast future events to be able to make effective and educated decisions.

    This year, CFA Russia invited seven guest speakers to its Forecast Dinner:

    • Gary Baker, CFA Institute’s managing director in the EMEA Region
    • Alexey Savatyugin, the chairman of the QIWI Bank’s board of directors and former deputy finance minister of Russia
    • Dominique Fache, a French economist and former director of Enel in Russia
    • Andrey Movchan, the director of the Economic Policy Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center
    • Charles Gave, a co-founder of Cursitor-Eaton Asset Management and president of the French think tank Institut Des Libertes
    • Ksenia Gorbunova, the director of the HR consulting company SQ-Team
    • Evgeny Nadorshin, a chief economist of the independent investment management firm PF Capital

    Neil Withers, CFA, the president of CFA Russia, was a moderator during the event, keeping an audience engaged throughout the evening. Vladimir Tutkevich, the executive director of CFA Russia, started the evening by welcoming everyone and highlighting the importance of the event.

    Neil Withers, CFA, President of CFA Russia, moderated the evening

    Interestingly, the predictions of the invited experts broadly divided into two categories – those who were optimistic about the future and others who warned about tough times ahead. Gary Baker, CFA, for example, had a positive outlook on the future economic situation, arguing that countries, including Russia, ought to change together with the rapidly changing world. In this day and age, when technologies and innovations are constantly changing the old system, everyone should learn how to adapt, said Baker.

    Alexey Savatyugin, who in the past served as a deputy finance minister of Russia, focused on the Russian Central Bank and its policies. In his opinion, existing policies are ineffective and hurt the economy.

    Alexey Savatyugin

    We’re seeing the increase of governmental paternalism… The Central Bank has a monopoly on all financial decisions. There’s no discussion and it has been the trend for the past three years,” Savatyugin said.

    The Russian economy is mostly concentrated around the government and several large enterprises. The former deputy finance minister added that in pursuit of stability the government ignores the development of small and mid-size businesses that in his opinion should be the main driving force of the economy. As a result, businesses are shrinking, causing stagnation, the speaker said.

    Being a former director of Enel in Russia, French economist Dominique Fache talked about what he knows best – the role of the energy sector and its influence on geopolitics.

    Everything what’s happening in the world right now is connected to the issue of energy,” Fache said.

    Being a resource-rich country, Russia should take into account current trends developing in the energy sector, including the use of solar energy that some nations have already started to test. Considering possible environmental risks present when extracting fossil fuels, the use of alternative sources of energy may become an important part of the future global economy, the French energy expert said.

    Andrey Movchan took the floor next and he also focused on the oil business. The expert from the Moscow Carnegie Center had a gloomy prediction for the Russian economy and blamed the so-called “resource curse” from which the country is currently suffering. Movchan argued that Russia due to an abundance of oil has less economic growth and worse economic development than other countries with fewer natural resources.

    Andrey Movchan

    Oil is killing not only birds landing on spills, but entire industries,” Movchan said, pointing out that because of the excessive dependence on oil, the Russian economy failed to diversify and develop other sectors of the economy. When global oil prices plunged a couple of years ago, the Russian economy staggered.

    Although in terms of military power Russia compares itself to the United States, when it comes to the economy Moscow should look closer at countries like Mexico. “There is a lot we [Russia] can learn from Mexicans, especially in terms of the economic diversification,” said Movchan.

    The next speaker, Charles Gave, chose to speak about current changes in global political and economic affairs. The French economist predicted that the global economy is entering a new reality with a number of uncertain risks: the European Union had Brexit and is facing the rise of Euroscepticism across the continent; the election of Donald Trump is likely to change the global political arena; and China’s development of the Silk Road Economic Belt will transform the economic landscape in Asia.

    Charles Gave

    In such an environment, it is important to remember what risk truly is: not volatility, but a permanent loss of capital,” one of Charles Gave’s working slides showed.

    Ksenia Gorbunova from the HR consulting company SQ-Team spoke about a new analysis of Moscow’s labor market in the finance industry. Her analysis was based on a recent survey conducted by CFA Association Russia together with SQ-Team.

    Ksenia Gorbunova

    The SQ-Team head showed some interesting facts and figures, preferring to stick with the hard numbers her company discovered in the survey. For example, the survey analysis revealed that 25 percent of those who participated said they are definitely looking to change a place of employment in 2017; 31 percent said they’d consider changing jobs if interesting vacancies will come up. The numbers reveal that almost 60 percent of all financial professionals who participated in the survey might be job hopping this year.

    Evgeny Nadorshin, a chief economist of PF Capital, capped off the evening with his predictions for the Russian economy. Although before his presentation Nadorshin jokingly promised to stay optimistic, his forecast was very conservative, to say the least.

    Evgeny Nadorshin

    A recession within certain sectors of the Russian economy, including the retail and service industries, has slowed down and some were quick to claim that the crisis was over. Nadorshin, however, said the current economic crisis is far from an end. According to the economist’s calculations, in an optimistic scenario Russia’s GDP would increase by 1 percent in 2017, but most likely there won’t be any growth at all.

    Interestingly, Nadorshin pointed out that if Russian businesses kept all of their earned money in the country, then the Russian economy wouldn’t have been affected by external factors, including low oil prices and sanctions.

    If the outflow of Russian capital didn’t happen, we’d be easily growing by 3 percent right now, regardless of anything,” the economist said.

    Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed during CFA Russia Forecast Dinner are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CFA Association Russia.

  • 03 Apr 2017 4:42 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    On March 30 – 31, CFA Association Russia made a two-day trip to Rostov-on-Don, the capital of Russia’s Southern Federal District, within the framework of the outreach program.

    Last year, CFA Russia started the outreach program seeking to familiarize and promote the mission and values of CFA Institute, as well as build ties with universities and financial professionals across Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

    During the outreach trip to Rostov-on-Don, Neil Withers, President of CFA Russia, and Vladimir Tutkevich, the association’s executive director, were accompanied with Mikhail Tyutyunnik, the director of the Rostov-on-Don branch of the Moscow Exchange (MoEx).

    Neil, Vladimir, and Mikhail met with students at the city’s two major universities, the Southern Federal University (SFU) and the Rostov State University of Economics (RSUE).

    It’s worth noting that SFU students participated in the 2016-2017 CFA Institute Research Challenge. That’s why some of the students and faculty staff at the university knew about CFA Institute and were eager to find out more about both the organization and student competition. Around 60 students attended CFA Russia’s outreach meeting at SFU.

    Almost twice as many people came to meet with the CFA delegation at RSUE. Students and faculty came to learn about the CFA program and the advantages a CFA charter can bring in one’s future professional career.

    Besides meeting with students at the two universities, the CFA Russia representatives held an evening business dinner with members of the Rostov finance community. Many among the present were eager to find out how much time it takes to get a CFA charter, how exactly having the charter may help them advance in their career and other typical questions CFA candidates usually ask.

    The CFA charter is “a golden ticket to the world of global finance,” Vladimir said during the dinner. Once a person gets the CFA designation, he or she becomes part of the elite group of professionals who have globally relevant knowledge and can find employment anywhere in the world, he added.

    Since the start of the outreach program, Neil and Vladimir already visited St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, and Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Throughout 2017, CFA Russia plans to visit more cities, including Perm, Kazan, and even reach as far out as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East. 

  • 24 Mar 2017 4:53 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    During its regular business breakfast on March 24, CFA Association Russia focused on its large neighbor to the south, the People’s Republic of China. It was a fascinating topic for many within the CFA community, especially considering that the global economic center is slowly shifting to the East.

    Breakfast took place at the Correa’s café and gathered around 30 financial professionals. Two guests invited to speak during the event were Eugene Fedorinov, CFA, an MBA graduate from McGill University, who spent some time studying and working in China, and Vladislav Subbota, the deputy director of the risk management department at China Construction Bank, one of the “big four” banks in China.

    Eugene started the event telling about the overall state of China’s economy. China became the world’s second largest economy due to an extraordinary growth over the past quarter of a century. Some experts predict that China will overtake the US economy in nominal GDP by 2018.

    Eugene also spoke about the cultural and business differences between China and the West. According to the speaker, one cannot successfully make business in China without knowing its culture, some of which subtle aspects can be hard for foreigners to grasp. Furthermore, Eugene focused on the real estate development in China, which according to him is one of the key sectors of the country’s economy.

    “Real estate is one of the bedrocks of social and economic system in China,” Eugene said, adding that for the past three decades the real estate was the most profitable business in the country.

    Following Eugene’s presentation, Vladislav Subbota took the floor. As an employee of one of China’s largest banks, Vladislav gave the ins and outs of China’s banking sector. When it comes to banks, China truly is a heavyweight with its banks at the top of the global list in terms of market capitalization.

    “Chinese banks continue to dominate the rankings based on tier 1 capital, holding the top 2 positions as well as 4 out of the top 5 places,” Vladislav said.

    In addition to banks, China has the third largest bond market in the world. Vladislav spoke about the so-called panda-bonds, which refer to Renminbi (RMB)-denominated bonds issued in China by foreign entities. Panda-bonds became a hot topic as of late, especially since after a long period of stagnation their value began to rise significantly in 2015.

    The growing economic and political significance of China is a major factor for Russia to consider. China-Russia cooperation has already started and a few high-level policy changes were made. But the question remains: where will this partnership lead in the future?

  • 22 Mar 2017 3:27 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    On March 18-19, CFA Association Russia held a training course on the Valuation of Business Projects Using Financial Models. The two-day training focused on the analysis of various financial models and how to properly place a right value on businesses.

    Financial modeling and business valuation are key skills for everyone involved in the financial and business sectors. Before investing money on a project, a financial analyst should know how to carefully analyze it and make future growth projections.

    That is why CFA Russia came up with this training. For several years, the course has been taught by two bright experts in the field of business valuation, Denis Sitnikov, CFA, and Maxim Russkikh.

    The course was designed for professionals already familiar with the accounting basics and financial analysis. From the get go the training started with practical questions and the hands-on application of financial models, as well as real-life case studies.

    CFA Russia plans to have more professional trainings throughout the year. For more information, make sure to regularly check our website and social media.

  • 16 Mar 2017 6:20 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    After five long months of hard work and preparation, six teams competed at the 2016-2017 CFA Institute Research Challenge local final that took place at the Moscow Exchange (MoEx) on March 14.

    Six best teams from five universities made it to the Russian final based on the scores of their financial reports. Five finalists were from Moscow – the Higher School of Economics, New Economic School, the Financial Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation, and two teams from the Moscow State University. The sixth team came from Nizhny Novgorod, representing the Higher School of Economics Nizhny Novgorod campus.

    Each team presented their work in front of the panel of judges, comprised of seven financial professionals carefully picked by CFA Russia’s educational committee. Following their presentations, the students had to answer a series of questions coming from the judges.

    After two hours of tough competition, the students from the Moscow State University's Economic Faculty emerged as winners with 94 points (out of 100). The team from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) was runners-up with 92 points.

    Now these two winning teams will represent Russia in the Research Challenge EMEA regional final scheduled for April 26-27 in Prague.

    This year, CFA Russia had the unprecedented number of universities competing at the local stage. There were 44 teams from 33 universities, including the teams of Belarussian State University and Azerbaijan’s Qafqaz University. Due to such large number of universities registered for the local stage, Russia earned a right to send two teams to the EMEA regional final of the Research Challenge.

    The financial analysis of the Moscow Exchange (MoEx), this year’s subject company, gave students a great opportunity to gain valuable experience that would help in their future professional careers. The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a tough competition and participants need to show not only their knowledge of a financial analysis, but also other key professional skills, such as determination, team work, and excellent communication skills.

    CFA Russia would like to thank Wiley, Thomson-Reuters, MoEx, and Kaplan Schweser, companies that sponsored and helped to put together the 2016-2017 Research Challenge. 

  • 16 Mar 2017 10:53 AM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Lately, there have been talks that after a long recession the Russian economy has finally started to grow. Just this week, Maksim Oreshkin, the Minister of Economic Development, said the economy has adapted to new realities and since the beginning of 2017 it has shown the signs of improvement.

    “We expect a two-percent growth at the end of the year,” – Oreshkin said, as cited by the RIA Novosti news agency.

    In light of this, CFA Association Russia invited Evgeny Nadorshin, a chief economist of the private investment fund PF Capital, to its regular business breakfast on March 15 to discuss the true state of the Russian economy. Over 40 guests showed up to the FoodHouse restaurant on Novy Arbat Street, where the association has held a couple of its past events.

    The CFA Russia guest-speaker, recognized by the National Banking Magazine as the best analyst in the Russian banking sector in 2009, said it’s a stretch too far to claim that the Russian economy is on the rise. Nadorshin said at the very best the economy stopped falling at a rate it did over the past few years, but there is nothing too exciting ahead of us in 2017.

    According to the economist, despite the significant depreciation of the Russian ruble last year, there were no positive effects on the economy. The idea of an import-substitution has completely exhausted itself, and most Russian producers aren’t ready for large-scale exports, Nadorshin said.

    The anti-crisis measures taken by the government in 2015-2016 are nothing but an attempt to use plastic bands to try and patch up a sinking ship, Nadorshin said. Since no concrete steps towards fixing the economy in the long-term were taken by the government, the future economic situation looks gloomy, he added.

    Abstaining from reforms and trying to balance the budget, the government is only making matters worse in many segments of the economy, the guest-speaker argued.

    Although the overall economic situation looks bleak, there are, however, some sectors that have showed the signs of improvement. The extraction of natural resources, mining, and certain parts of manufacturing sectors, as well as to some extent IT and tourism industries are beginning to feel more or less comfortable compared to the rest of the economy, Nadorshin said.

    Nadorshin’s presentation was a reality check to the current economic situation. Some might not have agreed with the speaker’s opinion, but nobody remained indifferent. Following the official part of the presentation, many stayed to share their thoughts on the theme with Nadorshin, turning the event into a friendly networking occasion.

    Stay tuned for a full video from the event that soon will be available at the members-only area of the CFA Russia’s website.

  • 07 Mar 2017 2:42 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    Together with its partners, CFA Association Russia held the training course Financial Modeling of Investment Projects on March 4-5. The two-day training course was designed to show how to create straightforward and error-free financial models using MS Excel.

    Eight financial professionals attended the course that took place at the Alt-Invest office. Renat Asadov and Dmitry Ryabykh, CFA, two experienced and highly-qualified financial professionals, coached the course, giving attendees not only theoretical knowledge, but most importantly, providing them with essential hands-on practical experience.

    The training is built around the FAST financial modeling standards that have become popular among investment banks around the world.

    Over the years, CFA Russia’s financial modeling course has proved to be a useful tool for the investment analysis of financial projects. Renat and Dmitry provided the actual financial modeling cases of companies from the Russian financial industry. The use of real-life examples and practicality of the course has made it a popular product in the market.

    CFA Russia plans to organize two other training courses this month. Feel free to contact us for more details on future trainings.

  • 01 Mar 2017 4:04 PM | Nikolai Pavlov (Administrator)

    CFA Association Russia held its Annual General Meeting with all active members of the CFA community on February 21.

    Neil Withers, President of CFA Russia, began the meeting with a short introductory speech, thanked everyone for showing up, and proceeded with the meeting’s formal agenda.

    A new Board of Directors was acclaimed, without dissent, by the members present at the meeting. In 2017, the Board of Directors has 14 members, including two newcomers – Boris Tawakkoli and Alexander Gorshenin. One can find the biographies of all board members and their statements of intent here. The new board consists of the following members:

    • Neil Withers, CFA, CFA Association Russia, President
    • Alexander Gorshenin, CFA, OJSC TPS Real Estate
    • Anton Shpuntov, CFA, Interros
    • Boris Tawakkoli, CFA, MosFirst LLC
    • Denis Sitnikov, CFA, Quantum Consulting
    • Dmitry Ryabykh, CFA, Alt-Invest Group
    • Ivan Belyaev, CFA, Sberbank CIB
    • Maria Kharlashkina, CFA, Moscow Exchange Group
    • Marina Shestakova, CFA, CAIA, Wermuth Asset Management
    • Natalia Kolupaeva, Raiffeisenbank
    • Scott Rose, CFA, Bloomberg (Moscow)
    • Sofya Donets, CFA, the Central Bank of Russia
    • Vladimir Potapov, CFA, VTB Capital Asset Management
    • Vladimir Tutkevich, CFA Association Russia, CEO

    CFA Russia’s president also thanked Natalia Sorokina and Gokce Tezel, who are no longer board members, for their service.

    Afterwards, Neil gave a presentation, focusing on the current state of the association and its strategic priorities in 2017. At this moment, CFA Russia plans to focus on the following areas:

    • Membership value and its renewal rate
    • The outreach program to regions
    • Education
    • Community and advocacy
    • Media and impact on the financial community
    • The CFA Institute Research Challenge: growth and learning

    In 2016, CFA Russia’s Board of Directors worked more actively and productively, meeting over 10-times throughout the year. The board maintained quorum during all its meetings and became an efficient strategic management body with a clear vision and strategic priorities. The new Board of Directors hopes this positive tendency will continue in 2017 and onwards.

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