Richard Knight, ACSI, Client Advisor,
Why are the products that you are offering in this market important, what makes them different from other financial services products being offered here?
To answer the first question âwhy are the products importantâ I need to get a little philosophical. As you make your way through your working life itâs almost a certainty you will need to employ the services of people from three professions, they are Medical, Legal and Financial. For medical services you visit a doctor, you buy a property or have a legal issue you go see a Lawyer and for Financial service?, (noâ¦ not the bank!). Medium and long term financial planning, thatâs what we do. So if your doctor is successful at keeping you alive and your lawyer keeps you out of jail, our aim is to provide the funds youâre going to need so you maintain your lifestyle wherever that may be and regardless of your nationality.
The correct answer to the second question: âwhat makes them different from other financial services?â is nothing. The products we use can be and are offered by other brokerages in Moscow and around the world, the difference is the advice and service you receive in return for placing your trust with your broker.
For Russian nationals, the main requirement is security. Russia has a long and colourful history but until the powers that be diversify the economy, Russia will continue the roller-coaster ride from one financial crisis to the next. This is a big worry for Russian nationals as previous financial crises have seen their entire family life savings wiped out overnight, and sadly history has a strange way of repeating itself.
The products themselves offer their own level of security via the Investor Protection Scheme, which for the client means peace of mind, and one less headache for the brokers. The Russian government does have a personal financial insurance scheme, which has recently been doubled from 700,000 to 1.4 million roubles. But exchange rate volatility has halved the true value of this scheme, so in reality all that is happening here is that the local scheme is treading water. In the UK, the insurance covers savings up to Â£85,000 and they are considering raising this figure to a cool Â£1 million.
Who are your clients: Russians or Foreigners?
Nationality doesnât come into it. My client base, however, is mainly Russian, in my eyes, they have a bigger need. For the expats here, itâs a case of being aware of, and making use of the tax advantages whilst you can. Many expats are simply unaware of many changes and modifications in legislation whilst being offshore. For example, there are new changes in the tax law coming into place in April specifically aimed at non-residents who have property in the UK, and a lot of people donât know about these. Itâs all about being tax efficient as far as the expats are concerned, whilst you have the time. If you go back to the UK, then you can readjust and/or repatriate, but that doesnât mean that you shouldnât use your time wisely, whilst you are here.
Do you offer a personalised service?
Absolutely, this business is very much a people business and every client is an individual each at a different stage of his or her life. I have clients who are just making small regular savings, because they want to build capital for some future expenditure. I have other clients who have multi-million dollar accounts, their goal is security and growth; In both cases the clients need, and get a completely personalised service, which is what sets Key Investments apart from the crowd. âA Passion for Qualityâ is all about service, itâs all about people.
We are in a very difficult situation now, at least as far as expats are concerned. Are you offering any different services now which are different from those you offered a year or two ago?
In the main no; the products remain the same, although the strategy may change. Every âcrisisâ is a golden opportunity for those who can take advantage of it. They will reap serious rewards for their careful and calculated investments.
Our responsibility to clients would also ensure each client is diversified so that as markets move up and down, the client will maintain steady growth. The âcrisisâ is here in Russia, but in Europe, the USA, China and in ASEAN countries, people are all making very good progress. Our average growth for 2014 was between 8% – 12% in what was quite a flat year. So far in 2015, we are averaging 21% and as I write itâs the 1st March, so once again the crisis is local; nothing more than that.
We look for two types of clients, those who want to be active in the markets and not sit on the fence sucking their thumbs, and those who became active and feel let down by their existing broker. Weâre not a big company and if Iâm honest, nor do we want to be. Our remit is to look after the clients, get them into the right funds, at the right time be they: mutual funds, ETFâs (Exchange Traded Funds), stockâs, bonds, and structured products, and to keep the clients informed in all market conditions.
Do you like living and working in Russia?
Yes very much so. Iâm still here after 5 years, although I have seen a lot of people come and go. But I can understand why some people canât get to grips with the culture shock, Moscow is very much a working city and I love my work.
10 Vozdvizhenka Street
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