Vienna, Austria - The First Banking Forum for the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe - "Banking Systems of the CIS countries - Problems and Perspectives of Development", opened today. It was jointly organized by the Finance and Banking Council of the CIS and Association of Russian Banks.
Addressing the Forum, President of the CIS Finance and Banking Council, Andrey Kostin said: "Due to its high mobility and flexibility, strategic vision and fast decision-making, banking business of the CIS can become a powerful driving force leading to stronger intergovernmental ties and increased mutual trust between the CIS countries".
An important line of financial and banking integration within the CIS, Andrey Kostin added, should be lifting of limitations for bank's entrance to the neighboring states' markets. At present, out of 153 banks with foreign participation operating in Russia only 15 are those opened by the CIS countries. And vice versa, not more than 10 Russian banks have launched their subsidiaries in the CIS.
Andrey Kostin proposed that the CIS banks should offer mutual preferences in opening their banking subsidiaries and branches within the Commonwealth.
Furthermore, Andrey Kostin drew the audience's attention to the need for the CIS countries to open access, on a mutual basis, to their stock markets. Russian legislation, for example, allows foreign companies to issue Russian Depository Receipts on the basis of their shares and place them in Russian stock exchanges. Also, Andrey Kostin said that if issuers from the CIS made IPOs in Russia, and the leading banking institutes of the CIS participated in placing and trading securities in their national stock exchanges, this would facilitate capital flows and encourage investment activity throughout the CIS.
Today, VTB Group is present in four countries of the CIS, namely: in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus.
VTB Group Business Development Strategy in terms of the CIS prospects envisages the Bank gaining access to markets of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. In the near future, VTB plans to become the only bank in the world being present in all 12 countries of the CIS.