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Interview of Atanas Bostandjiev, CEO, UK and International of VTB Capital plc, for Financial News online (UK)

23 April 2012
VTB Capital to double US headcount


By Shanny Basar (Financial News online)

Atanas Bostandjiev, chief executive for VTB Capital UK and international, said the Russian bank intends to double staff in New York as it launched an office in the city last week. 
Bostandjiev told Financial News: “We have 20 people in New York and expect the number to grow to between 30 and 40 over the next one to two years.” 
VTB Capital, the investment banking arm of the second-largest lender in Russia, hired the former Goldman Sachs partner last May to lead its overseas expansion. Last July the bank opened an office in Hong Kong and this year named former Merrill Lynch banker Damian Chunilal as chief executive for Asia.
Bostandjiev said: “Establishing a global presence has always been a core part of VTB Capital's strategy and launch of the New York office is the next essential step in that direction.”
The bank has spent about 18 months getting US regulatory approval to launch in New York and intends to initially offer Russian equities and sovereign and corporate debt to US emerging markets investors before eventually branching out into products from other emerging markets. 
Bostandjiev said that there are a pipeline of Russian companies, from sectors including technology, retail, telecoms and infrastructure, waiting to list stocks in the US, opening up opportunities for VTB's advisory business. Last year, the Moscow-based search engine Yandex listed its stock on transatlantic exchange Nasdaq OMX. 
Bostandjiev said: “We expect that the US will be a significant portion of our international revenues, but so will Asia, where we are also planning to develop local-to-local businesses.”
VTB is not planning to do local-to-local deals in the US but is emphasising its Russian connections, where Bostandjiev said the bank has an edge, for example in helping Russian companies buy US firms or vice versa.

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