Rus­sian banks to buy stakes in UK fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

LONDON: A large Rus­sian bank is ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to be­come in­volved in Bri­tish high street bank­ing. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Alexei Ku­drin at the end of Novem­ber said that Rus­sian banks were ac­tively look­ing to buy stakes in Bri­tish fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

"Our banks are in­ter­ested in buy­ing stakes in large fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies" in Bri­tain, Ku­drin said at a press con­fer­ence at the end of talks with Bri­tish busi­ness sec­re­tary Vince Cable.

Bri­tain would "wel­come" Rus­sian in­vestors, said Cable ac­cord­ing to press re­ports in Rus­sia.

Ku­drin specif­i­cally men­tioned VTB, the state con­trolled bank of which he is chair­man of the su­per­vi­sory board. How­ever BSR un­der­stands that it is an­other large Rus­sian bank which is pur­su­ing a deal to ac­quire the 600 branches of Lloyds TSB Bank which the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has or­dered be sold by 2013.

The fo­cus is now on Rus­sia's largest bank, state-owned Sber­bank which has dra­mat­i­cally re­vamped it­self since for­mer Min­is­ter of Eco­nom­ics and Trade of Rus­sia, Ger­man Gref took over as chair­man in 2007 and Al­faBank, Rus­sia's largest pri­vate bank headed by Py­otr Aven. Alfa-Bank had pre­vi­ously been re­buffed by Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties when it sought to ac­quire a Bri­tish bank two years ago.

Mr. Ku­drin raised the mat­ter with Mr. Cable, seek­ing as­sur­ances that there would now be no po­lit­i­cal ob­sta­cles to such a move, city in­sid­ers said "the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion does not rest with the City of London's wheel­erdeal­ers, any more than it does with Vince Cable. He is not in charge of bank­ing reg­u­la­tion in the UK."

"By go­ing pub­lic, he (Ku­drin) im­plied the nec­es­sary green light had been given, said one Bri­tish govern­ment ob­server. -PB News

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