Poverty reduction may be caused by higher availability of investments and growing retail investor demand for various assets, said Dennis DeBusschere, founder, president and chief strategist of 22V Research at VTB Capital’s “Russia Calling!” forum. “Democratization of investment and consequent poverty reduction should follow a long-term approach to asset selection, because the whole world gets access to various assets, and if people make correct choices and hold assets for a long time, it would be right. If investments become a way of gambling, then of course, the effect would be reversed, and then poverty levels could rise”, — he said. According to DeBusschere, people from different classes with differing incomes should choose relevant assets. For example, the expert said that young people have higher risk appetites and prefer assets with the highest returns. Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to develop measures for protection of retail customer funds invested in securities. Particularly, he proposed to introduce personal income tax deductions for long-term investments into Russian securities. Furthermore, the President requested to consider options for state co-financing savings of retail investors resulting from share sales. In 2020 exchanges saw an inflow of customers caused by the reduction of the key rate to the historic minimum of 4,25%. According to Moscow Exchange, the number of such investors over the last year went up by 5 million customers up to 8,8 million. This increase topped the total amount for all previous years. By results of this October the number of retail investor broker accounts at the trading platform reached up to 25 million. As VTB reported yesterday, the volume of funds at investment accounts of Russian currently makes up about RUB 9 trillion. According to Rosstat, in the first half of 2021 there were 19,1 million people in Russia living below the poverty level — 13,1% of the population. Over the same period of last year there were 19,4 million of these people, which equals 13,2%.

Companies will be increasingly addressing ESG strategies soon. This view was expressed by Yerlan Syzdykov, Global Head of Emerging Markets, Amundi, at VTB Capital’s “RUSSIA CALLING!” forum, broadcast by RBC.

“[ESG] Trend will only become stronger, the trend is probably now ls leaning towards [letter] “E”, — he said, noting that we would “all” be affected by climate change.

ESG is a set of rules and approaches to be considered by authorities and businessmen, working on development strategies. The letter E in the acronym stands for environmental protection issues (environmental), S means relations with employees, customers and communities (social), G — corporate governance standards (corporate governance): management efficiency, combatting corruption etc/

Syzdykov also added that as per a UN report, if the mankind fails to take measures to contain climate change and decarbonization, then by mid-century about a half of the Earth’s population would live in conditions unfit for living.

“Chinese investors, including institutional ones, took their time about ESG, about consideration of this agenda in their investment. But over the latest few years people in China have begun paying more attention to these issues. And this change came about very fast”, — said Frank Xu, Vice-President of China International Capital Corporation, head of CICC Asset Management.

According to him, a large number of Chinese tech companies are working primarily on “green products” — electric cars and other alternative technologies. “These companies are drawing increasing attention on the market”, — Xu pointed out. HE also said that ESG agenda is being rapidly adopted by Chinese businessmen, since this strategy leads to major changes in multiple sectors and generates extra profits.

Incumbent energy companies would be able to hold on for no more than five years, said Christopher Granville, Managing Director, EMEA and Global Political Research, TS Lombard.

“Energy companies, extracting fossil fuels, processing hydrocarbons, will have a chance to shout “Hurrah!” one last time, because alternative energy sources such as sun, wind will become more and more accessible”, — he said.

According to Granville, a “very tough time” will come for these companies in a few years.

As Natalia Zubarevich, Professor of Moscow State University, Department of Geography, said at the forum, ESG adoption in Russia bears risks for the country’s industry. She thinks that metals and coal mining industry may take the hardest hit, since they cause the most pollution.

“For metals industry, the social risk would project to regional budget revenues. Large enterprises are bread-makers. <...>. If you have extra carbon tax costs, this reduces budget revenues”, — said Zubarevich.

A first major Russian ESG forum was held in mid-October in Moscow with RBC support. Particularly, participants discussed ESG transformation prospects.