Based in Austria, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG is a leading specialist bank, covering the entire spectrum of services and products around equities and certificates. We are a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International AG. and are focussing on our core regions in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), also including Russia. Raiffeisen Centrobank AG covers approximately 130 equities in the CEE region, as well in Russia and Turkey.
In total, the company research universe of Raiffeisen Centrobank AG contains approximately 130 equities on the cash equity side, and we are the leader for structured financial products, particularly certificates, in our region. We are currently issuing up to 4,500 products, of which the majority are custom-made products for retail customers. These products range from 100% capital guaranteed to highly leveraged products. In terms of our history, Centrobank itself was founded in the 1970s, whereas the cash equity and certificates side of the bank began in 2002, when we were taken over by Raiffeisen.
Raiffeisen Centrobank AG also focuses on trading, which does not mean proptrading in a common sense but pure market making. This is quite important for Raiffeisen Centrobank AG, because we can offer liquidity on all exchanges for equities and all the structured procuts we are issuing. Essentially, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG is a bank by definition and an equity house, which is quite rare today in Europe. The firm’s strong regional focus is on Central Eastern Europe, Austria and Russia. All the companies that we cover and many of the investors we are servicing are located in this region.
As a result of having two separate business lines, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG has a highly diverse range of clients. On the cash equity side, we offer our research and corporate access to institutional clients only, as pension funds, insurance companies and portfolio managers. It is mainly institutional investors where we offer both research and corporate access. On the certificate side, this is focussed on retail private banking, mainly specialising on the network of banks we are located in across Europe.
Raiffeisen Centrobank AG works in a highly demanding industry, which is why we always hire staff who are highly motivated and are hungry for success for both themselves and the business. We are highly specialised, so we have staff that are dedicated to one specific area too. Due to our relatively small size, our staff have to take on a high level of responsibility in comparison to larger corporate banks, but I view this as a positive aspect which is certainly a highly motivating factor.
A Capital Markets Fellow
There are a number of issues facing banking at the moment, Brexit being one of them. From my perspective, I was expecting a much deeper impact after 23rd June but I do think there is a growing need to establish confidence in the Euro again. I found the market reaction to be surprisingly soft, and was even more surprised at how the issue has been completely ignored in some respects. I feel that the market has not yet realised that it will weaken the Eurozone, and the fact is that there is still little knowledge about what will happen, and it can be difficult to judge what happens next.
In terms of how this impacts us, Raiffeisen Centrobank AG’s business model means that it will not have much of an effect. Of course, one of the most important markets for cash equity is London and I think this will continue to be the case, but if this changes we will simply follow our investors if they are willing to change their location. It is definitely not good for Europe, but having said that it is not something that directly impacts our business.
Looking ahead, there are many obstacles Raiffeisen Centrobank AG will need to overcome in order to continue to succeed. The main challenge facing us, are regulatory issues, which are impacting our business. This results in issues such as how portfolios are defined and which product is allowed to be sold.
Personally, I think the amount of new regulations needs to come to an end and should be executed in a proportional way, which keeps in the mind the size of the bank too. I believe that governments should view capital markets as something that can benefit them rather than a threat, and I also cannot stress enough the many benefits that it can bring.