Russian market is 'ripe for disruption,' CEO of Tinkoff Bank says


Retail investing in Russia is going to "grow immensely" over the coming years, according to the chief executive of the world's largest independent digital bank by customer base.

Oliver Hughes, the CEO of Tinkoff Bank, also noted that the market for financial firms in the country of around 145 million was filled with opportunities.

"This market is ripe for disruption," he told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore in Moscow on Friday.

"We have been disrupting for the last 12 years, so you quite rightly say that we are a tech company with a banking license."

Alongside state bank Sberbank, private player Tinkoff Bank has been one of the leading banks in the Russian fintech (financial technology) space.

It comes at a time when investors are increasingly turning to equity markets as a way of keeping and growing their wealth.

When asked about the opportunities for retail investors in Russia, Hughes replied: "Before we started doing this through mobile, through our mobile interface, nobody was doing it. So, this is blue ocean stuff."

"It's going to continue to grow immensely over the next few years," he added.

Alexander Shcherbak | TASS via Getty Images

Tinkoff Bank Management Board Chairman Oliver Hughes attends the 10th Moscow Exchange Forum held at Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Founded in 2006 as a branchless credit card issuer, London-listed Tinkoff Bank is currently the world's largest independent digital bank by customer base — with around 8 million customers.

Elsewhere, Russia's central bank is expected to hold interest rates steady on Friday.

After raising rates twice in 2018 to dampen rising inflation, the central bank left them unchanged last month and said it could lower the cost of lending later in 2019.

Any cut to interest rates would be conditional on inflation pressures subsiding in line with expectations and the absence of any major oil market shocks, the central bank said.

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