handelsblatt exclusive Russian Bank VTB Moves ahead with European Consolidation

Andrey Kostin, the chief executive of VTB, said the Russian bank was in intense discussions with the European Central Bank to bundle many of its European operations in Frankfurt.

Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, is pushing ahead with plans to bundle its European businesses at a new headquarters in Frankfurt, the bank’s chief executive, Andrey Kostin, told Handelsblatt.

“We want Frankfurt to be the headquarters for this bank because we believe that this city will become an even more important center for financial activity after Brexit,” Mr. Kostin said in an interview.

VTB currently runs its European business out of a headquarters in Vienna and has licenses in France and Germany as well. Mr. Kostin said he wants to bring its European business under one roof. The bank is in intense negotiations with the European Central Bank, he said.

“We would like to bundle this in a single Europe SE and then have subsidiaries in other countries,” Mr. Kostin said.

VTB plans to gradually increase its staff in Frankfurt by the hundreds, the executive said, but the Russian bank plans to keep its investment banking operations in London.

“At the moment we are quite happy with our London operations,” Mr. Kostin said. “Before we do not know what the consequences of Brexit will be, we will not make a decision.”