Standard Bank has further strengthened its Russian operations with the opening of an investment bank in Moscow . ZAO Standard Bank (Standard Bank), which was officially opened today, complements Standard Bank London’s representative office, which has been in Moscow since 1997. Standard Bank was granted a general banking licence in March this year.  Standard Bank London will retain its representative office.

Says Levan Zolotarev, president and CEO of Standard Bank: “Standard Bank will provide the Standard Bank Group with the opportunity to expand its product range to its Russian client base and to widen its operations.”

He says that Standard Bank had been active in Russia since the mid 1990s. “With the steady growth in business we decided last year to apply to the Central Bank of Russia for a general banking licence, which was granted on March 6, 2003 .”

The licence will allow Standard Bank to take part in the local market treasury activities. It will be active in spot foreign exchange, derivatives and money market instruments.  It will also be providing foreign exchange facilities to its corporate clients in association with structured trade financings. The focus will continue to be on natural resources, drawing on the strength and experience of the Standard Bank Group worldwide.

Since the beginning of this year, the Standard Bank Group has closed a number of transactions in Russia and been awarded a number of significant mandates.

In the precious metals market, Standard Bank London has been mandated by gold and silver producer Polymetal to act as exclusive arranger of up to US$120mn of term loan facilities and exclusive financial adviser on general corporate strategy and access to the international equity markets.

In the syndications market, Standard Bank London jointly arranged a US$32mn one-year loan for OJSC Ural-Siberian Bank the facility was 60% oversubscribed.  In March, Standard Bank London was jointly mandated to arrange a US$50mn syndicated term loan facility for MDM Bank.  The facility is currently in syndication.