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Comment by Riccardo Orcel, Deputy CEO of VTB Group, Head of VTB International for Bloomberg

8 March 2017
Bloomberg
Russia’s VTB Capital Hires Four Investment Bankers in London Bet

VTB Capital hired four investment bankers in London, saying the city retains its dominant position in the region’s financial markets even as the U.K. plans to exit the European Union.

Raymond O’Leary joins as managing director in charge of head of African origination, from Deutsche Bank AG, where most recently he was head of corporate finance Africa. Ex-Renaissance Capital banker Ron Golan becomes managing director for originating business from Israel and African and Russian clients, VTB Group Deputy CEO Riccardo Orcel said in an interview.

Milan Elezovic, who previously worked at Credit Suisse Group AG, is also joining the bank as a managing director with responsibility for originating business from southeastern Europe, while ex-JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Alvaro Baranda Molina joins as a managing director to focus on Southern Europe clients and will work with the equities department, Orcel said.

VTB is adding its voice to those who see the City of London maintaining its role as the key financial center of Europe -- and beyond -- even as executives from banks including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have said they will move staff from London if the U.K. is stripped of so-called passporting rights. Adding to the uncertainty is the precise timeline and conditions for the U.K.’s exit.

“London remains the most important financial centre in the EMEA region and provides us with the opportunity to hire top talent,” Moscow-based Orcel said in the interview in London. “We monitor the developments and will wait to understand what direction Brexit’s negotiations will take before making any decision. Until then, London will remain our main investment banking base outside Russia.”

VTB Group Chief Executive Officer Andrey Kostin said in October the bank was planning to cut its presence in London for business reasons. The lender is seeking to cut costs, Kostin said.

Russia’s economy has become more stable thanks to rising oil prices, allowing VTB Capital to expand into other emerging nations in central and eastern Europe and Africa, Orcel said.

The bank is also focusing on China and India to take advantage of Russia’s growing trade and investment links with the countries, he added. “We invest today as we see a strengthening in our domestic market and an up cycle for emerging markets led by higher commodity prices,” he said.

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