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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we have the typical St Petersburg weather, the kind of weather that is absolutely normal for our city. So I hope no one is disappointed. I would like to thank you all agreeing to participate in the work of the International Advisory Board on the creation and development of the International Financial Centre in Russia.
I propose that we briefly discuss plans for this year. The board has already determined the strategic lines of IFC’s development. We agree that the centre should not become some isolated entity in our country or a separate part of the economy, but an integral part of the economic mechanism. This certainly increases the level of complexity of the tasks that lie ahead. In order for them to be a success, it is essential to introduce changes not only in the financial sector, but also in related sectors of the economy, and we all realise that.
Many long-standing issues began to be resolved in recent months, on which there was no progress for a long time, and this has happened partly due to the board’s efforts. We agreed to create a central depository system and to improve financial markets regulation. On March 4 I signed an executive order wich gave the Federal Financial Markets Service was given additional powers of supervision in the insurance market, thus createding a new image of a megaregulator for the financial market.
Now Russia is in the process of joining the Memorandum of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, which allows market regulators to share information, including confidential information. In addition, I have decided to transfer Russian issuers to international accounting standards. Relevant instructions have been issued to the Government and the Ministry of Finance.
“The centre should not become some isolated entity in our country or a separate part of the economy, but an integral part of the economic mechanism.”
Future priorities include the recognition of foreign depositories as nominal holders under Russian law and the abolition of restrictions on the placement and circulation of Russian equity securities abroad.
Another important task is to improve the general infrastructure in Moscow as a city where the basic units of the International Financial Centre will be located. Yesterday I put forward the idea that Moscow should receive an impetus to further development. I hope that it will be beneficial not only for Moscow residents, whose living environment is far from perfect, and not only for government agencies, which in my opinion, should have long become more attentive to the city’s needs. One solution would be to move to new locations specially chosen for this purpose. This will also be important in selecting the site for the IFC as well. In this regard, I believe that the centre of the city, partially vacated by state agencies, could be used to accommodate the IFC offices, though that is not the only option. We should discuss this further and perhaps find another solution.
I am convinced that the establishment of the centre will not benefit Russia alone. It will be a major contribution to the development of the financial sector as a whole and to global economic development. We very much hope that your experience and your advice, your support of this project will have a highly beneficial impact on its implementation. I would like to add that in October, we will hold a working meeting of the International Advisory Board, where expert reports will be presented, containing specific ideas and proposals regarding the IFC’s development.
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This is a very ambitious project [expanding Moscow’s boundaries], along with the task of creating an IFC. This is also a great challenge for us but, in all probability, it is a very promising initiative. That is why I set out this proposal yesterday. I see it is being actively debated, perhaps more than other proposals, apart form some ideological statements I made yesterday.
Dear friends, I do not want to take too much of your time because all of us still have meetings, sessions and conversations scheduled for today. I will still have meetings with my colleagues. The forum has become extremely popular, and in addition to your involvement, for which I am very grateful to you all and once again would like to thank you for it, the forum is attended by leaders of other countries and I still have several such meetings planned.
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Just one more remark: I would like to thank everyone for their help, which in fact extends beyond the International Financial Centre. I have used some of your materials when preparing for such well-known events as G8 and G20 summits. As you know, during the economic crisis Russia never said that it was the banks’ fault. Our position was quite different: we did not place the blame entirely on financial institutions. I believe our task now is to promote positive change in international financial regulation, especially as the G20 has not yet come to agreement regarding international financial reporting or audit, or on many other issues that are relevant not only to Russia's financial centre but also to global finance.
Thank you very much. I hope to see you soon. We count on your help.