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Russian lender looks to cater for Chinese corporate clientele

By Meng Fanbin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-05 09:02

A leading Russian bank is looking to develop its business in China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Otkritie FC Bank, which is the fourth largest lender in Russia, is planning to expand its wealth-management operation and financing products to cater for Chinese corporate clients.

"We are looking forward to cooperating with Chinese banks," said Evgeny Dankevich, chairman of the management board at Otkritie FC Bank.

"This especially applies to the precious metals sector, the wealth-management business and financing operations for Chinese customers," he added.

Founded in 1993, Otkritie is the largest private bank in Russia and ranks among the world's top 350 lenders.

It mainly caters for corporate clients and investment banking, retail businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises as well as private banking.

Otkritie is also the largest Russian financial group by assets, worth 3.3 trillion Russian roubles ($50.6 billion). The bank also employs 20,000 staff and has four million customers.

"I think the Belt and Road Initiative will promote the development of precious metals and provide us with more opportunities," Dankevich said.

"We have been involved in precious metals for more than 20 years," he added. "It is mainly gold and we are very experienced in the sector."

Last year, Otkritie became the first Russian member of the Shanghai Gold Exchange, China's only market for trading in the precious metal.

So far, it has sold 4.2 metric tons of gold, worth $170 million, on the SGE, according to figures released by the bank.

SGE provides trading, clearing, delivery and storing services of gold, silver and platinum.

"We hope to find some reliable banking partners to work together in the precious metals business, which is profitable and has promising prospects," Dankevich said. "Otkritie is the best Russian partner in the sector.

"Our bank is the largest in Russia when it comes to dealing with precious metals, and accounts for a third of mined gold in the country," he added.

Russia has the second largest gold reserves in world after South Africa, with 12,500 tons, or 400 million ounces, according to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources.

"As a matter of fact, we have been working together with some large banks in China, such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Harbin Bank, in businesses such as interbank deposits and settlement," Dankevich said.

The Russian lender also has branches in Hong Kong, London, New York and Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, and has cooperated with global banks such as Citibank.

"We have investment projects in many countries, and we are willing to invest in China, if we can find an opportunity and reliable partners," Dankevich said.

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