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Family Matters

The Forbes rating "The best private banks and wealth managers" assesses participants of the private banking and wealth management industry in three nominations.

1. "Foreign bank for clients with assets from $20 mln". Banks controlled by foreign capital, which have subsidiary structures and representative offices in in Russia or a Russian-language website. The shortlist excludes banks geared towards operations with clients possessing up to $20 mln.

2. "Russian bank for clients with assets up to $20 mln". Russian banks represented by Moscow and federal credit organizations, declaring on their website private banking and wealth management services. Assessments of such businesses account for indicators of subsidiary management companies.

3. "Wealth managers". Independent Russian and foreign companies which specialize in managing major private capital and are represented in Russia physically or through a Russian-language website. Sixty percent of the ranking score depends on the number of votes submitted for a particular nominee by market participants. Forty percent of the result depends on the following indicators: revenue, number of certified employees, possession of foreign offices and fullness of product offering. We surveyed 123 market participants claiming to provide financial services to wealthy individuals. Forty-three respondents answered our questions. The entry threshold set forth in the rating excludes access to the entire range of individual service, while depending upon the financial solution, a greater amount of account balances may be required.

First place in the nomination "Wealth Managers" — UFG Wealth Management

Rating points: 78
Year of founding: 2005
Management: Oksana Kuchura and Dmitry Klenov
Foreign offices: Cyprus, Luxembourg
Entry threshold: $10 mln

UFG Wealth Management calls itself the first independent family office in Russia. It was founded by Oksana Kuchura in 2005 as the independent family capital management arm within UFG Asset Management. One year later, the company was joined by partner Dmitry Klenov, responsible for the legal practice. The company currently oversees and consults on the assets of several dozen clients totaling $750 mln. In 2014 the company set up a separate business for services of the purchase and management of real estate, comprised of funds through which clients have invested $250 mln in European and Russian real estate. Besides Kuchura and Klenov, Florian Fenner is a cofounder of the company. Fenner, a German wealth manager, became a partner by the invitation of the brand's founders — Charles Ryan and former Minister of Finances Boris Fedorov, who died in 2008.

Oksana Kuchura, Managing Partner, UFG Wealth Management

The main achievement is creating the first-in-Russia open, multi-specialty, multi-family office UFG Wealth Management in 2005.

The purchase in 2011 of the bonds of Sino-Forest, at the time the largest operator of forest blocks grown for commercial aims. SF operated in mainland China, yet held Canadian "residence", so the document circulation was quite murky. SF was accused in 2011 of falsifying its reports. The company filed for bankruptcy in March 2012, developed a restructuring plan and issued to bondholders shares and bonds of a new company, Emerald Plantations. We lost approximately one-half of invested funds.

Clients from Russia are to a greater extent threatened by regulatory risks than financial ones. The entire world is moving toward greater transparency, sharing of information and almost total disappearance of banking secrecy. A quite large number of Russian investors have yet to fully realize the scale of the changes that have occurred, which could lead to substantial financial losses.

The best way to preserve capital is to involve new generations in its multiplication. Generally speaking, anyone who makes money themselves approaches more judiciously the question of investments and is much less inclined towards hasty, "image-based" expenditures.

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