Kommersant: Central Bank proposals led to panic among Russian investors

The proposals of the Bank of Russia to sharply tighten the requirements for Russian investors and the complication of requirements for obtaining the status of a qualified investor led to panic among Russians who trade on the stock exchange. Citizens who would like to maintain broad investment opportunities have sharply intensified their requests from their brokers for obtaining the status of “qual”. Kommersant writes about this with reference to market participants.

The publication claims that almost immediately after the press conference of the Central Bank on July 20, where they proposed to tighten the requirements, Russian brokers faced a wave of requests to obtain the status of a qualified investor. For example, in "Tinkoff Investments" "within an hour after the press conference of the Central Bank" recorded more than 2 thousand customer requests on this topic. Dmitry Lesnov, head of Finam's customer service development department, told the publication that in the week after July 20, the growth in the number of qualifications increased by more than 10 times.

Freedom Finance spokeswoman Galina Sinkevich notes that the broker's clients are eager to get the status of "qual" before the new rules of the Bank of Russia are approved. Alfa also noted an increase in demand for the status, while the company said that they offer all their clients to receive this status if they meet the criteria. The absence of a surge of interest in the status of a “qual” was announced only in the BCS.

Currently, in order to obtain the status of a qualified investor, a client of Russian brokers must have assets in the amount of 6 million rubles or make transactions for a similar amount within a year. Qualifications can be obtained by those who have specialized education or relevant experience in a financial institution, they can also pass tests with brokers or provide international certificates CFA, CIIA or FRM.

Experts interviewed by the publication believe that the tightening of rules by the Central Bank may lead to negative transformations in the Russian stock market. They expect an outflow of Russian investors from the market in general or to other jurisdictions, and with them a significant outflow of money from the country. At the moment, the Central Bank estimates the number of “quals” at 500 thousand people, and the total number of investors at 25.5 million people.

On July 20, the Bank of Russia presented a new concept for protecting retail investors, proposing to introduce severe restrictions. For example, the regulator proposed to increase the minimum asset ownership threshold required to obtain a “qualifier” from 6 million to 30 million rubles. The Central Bank also wants to complicate the testing of investors so that the status of “qual” does not go to those who are still incompetent in the financial instruments in which they invest.

A separate item was a ban on investing for non-quals in foreign stocks, which would have closed the opportunity for Russians to trade in popular stocks like Apple, Tesla, Alibaba, etc. The regulator insisted that such investments are too risky for Russians due to sanctions, and investors are often unaware of the risks that they are facing. Later , the Ministry of Finance criticized the document, but it came down to only softening the requirements for investment in foreign instruments. The agency proposed to allow "non-quals" to buy foreign assets of "friendly" countries.

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