City gets behind plan to create international financial hub in Moscow

A NUMBER of top firms in the City of London are behind an ambitious plan to develop Moscow as an international financial hub.

In what is seen as a major coup for London, blue‑chip names including investment banks Barclays Capital and JP Morgan, the Lloyd’s of London insurance market and law firm Freshfields, are involved in the programme that has the backing of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The use of City expertise to bring western standards of financial and legal governance to the Russian capital follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the country in September.

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The project is spearheaded by TheCityUK, the independent British financial services promotion group whose chief executive Chris Cummings told Scotland on Sunday: “We are delighted to have won this work and we have made a terrific start. It is a real feather in the City’s cap.”

Cummings said there were now “about 200” individuals in the UK working on the project, which includes advising the Russians on legal contracts, equities and derivatives trading and flotations, electronic trading platforms, public private partnerships and branding and marketing.

He said the medium‑term aim was to establish Russia as the regional financial centre for the Russian federation, and farther down the line to develop the capital as an international centre of finance.

Cummings admitted there was “initially” some scepticism in the City about the project, centring on old concerns about the “rule of law and political uncertainty in Russia”.