President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon,
”I hope that the Central Bank, along with the other state agencies and the Government, will play a big part in establishing an international financial centre on our own country’s soil.“
It is not by chance that we are holding our meeting today at the Central Bank. Our Central Bank is marking its 150th anniversary this month. This is a significant date. Over these years, the country in which the bank operated changed its name, though remaining our country throughout, and the bank continued over all of these decades to make a great contribution to developing our banking system and keeping our currency stable. Prominent economists, whether the authors of fundamental works, or recognised practitioners, have worked within these walls. And I hope that today too, the bank remains one of our financial sector’s key regulators. The Central Bank helped put together the package of anti-crisis measures that, for all the difficulties involved in this kind of work have proven their effectiveness. Today too, the bank is taking part in ensuring the conditions required to keep out national payments system stable.
The bank’s status is defined by the Russian Constitution, the special law on the Central Bank, and the Law On Banks and Banking Activity. I used to be more closely involved in this area but now, unfortunately, have not enough time, though I continue to keep up with everything concerning the Central Bank’s status.
Over the next five years the Central Bank will have the task of actively helping the Russian banking sector to position itself on the international financial markets. I wish the specialists and the bank’s executives success in this work. I hope that the Central Bank, along with the other state agencies and the Government, will play a big part in establishing an international financial centre on our own country’s soil.
I propose that we do some interim summing up today. Today we are not even holding a council meeting [Council for the Financial Market Development] as such, but have deliberately given the meeting a lower status so as to be able to discuss practical matters in a narrower format than would be the case at a full council session. And of course one of the things we should look at is how to move from making plans to carrying out the practical steps. A work scheme has already been proposed. This involves setting up a special working group within the Presidential Executive Office to not just draft reports but also coordinate the efforts in this area, thereby putting in place the right conditions for effective operation, including steps to improve our financial sector legislation. We will discuss this in more detail today and hear a report on the matter.
”Our task now lies above all in making Russia’s markets, Russia’s financial and credit markets, an attractive place for foreign investors. This involves a whole series of tasks and issues to be addressed. This is not just about our laws, though they are important, of course, but is about how our laws are implemented by the various authorities represented here today, and by the way we protect the legally enshrined rights and interests of businesspeople.“
We also need to act as swiftly as possible on carrying out the priority measures on the plan that we outlined. I already gave the instruction on drawing up the specific action plan. It should cover not just modernising our financial market but also specific steps towards establishing an international financial centre here in Russia. Today we will examine some of the plan’s specific points and discuss the different views that the participants in the relevant groups might have. Of course, we need to begin with a detailed analysis of the conditions directly influencing the choice of foreign investors and other financial market players with an interest in developing this international centre.
I think it is clear for all today that our task now lies above all in making Russia’s markets, Russia’s financial and credit markets, an attractive place for foreign investors. This involves a whole series of tasks and issues to be addressed. This is not just about our laws, though they are important, of course, but is about how our laws are implemented by the various authorities represented here today, and by the way we protect the legally enshrined rights and interests of businesspeople and others who enter our market. Finally, this is about quite simply providing an overall comfortable business environment, and this is why Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov has also been invited to today’s meeting.
Let’s look at related issues too. I am thinking of things such as obtaining visas and legal assistance. Our laws in these areas are changing too. I recently signed a law under which foreigners coming to Russia to work as highly qualified specialists can obtain the necessary permits quicker and for a longer time period. The relevant amendment has already been made to the law concerning foreigners’ status in Russia.
Of course, we also need to think about housing for these specialists, helping them organise their children’s studies and their families’ living conditions, because these people usually do not come for just a month or two, and so we have an interest in encouraging them to want to stay here and make this place a part of their lives. They should find just as comfortable an environment here as they would in London, Geneva or New York. This requires the involvement of people from the Foreign Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry, the Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service and other agencies. I expect to receive proposals on this matter.
Finally, we have decided to establish a Consultative Council that will bring together recognised financiers, people from financial and consulting organisations, and interstate associations and unions. Some of them were present at this Council’s last meeting. I hope to see many of the Consultative Council’s members at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Let’s now continue our work.