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Tuesday, 09 July 2019 16:12

PNB Banka: Azerbaijan is among priority countries for our business Featured

PNB Banka: Azerbaijan is among priority countries for our business

Caspian Energy: PNB Banka is one of the largest banks in the Baltic region. Could you please tell us about the major difference between PNB Banka and others?

Dmitry Kalmykov: Member of the Board of PNB Banka (Latvia): First of all, I would like to note that we are one of the oldest banks of Latvia. As you see, it is a big plus for financial institutions, showing their stability. We managed to withstand the waves of global crises when many rival banks were ending up with the collapse. We are also getting successfully adapted to challenges of recent years, which concern toughening of control over source of funds and increasing geopolitical risks (for instance, numerous sanctions and changing legislations).

Apart from this, we, unlike the majority of the Baltic banks, are actively developing a resident business, as we possess the most branched network of regional offices in Latvia. That is to say, we aim not only at external but also a domestic market. It helps to feel confident about the future and offer our services also to clients from Azerbaijan and their partners.

CE: It is no secret that for foreign clients it has been recently fairly difficult to open an account in Europe. What major requirements does PNB Banka place on clients?

Dmitry Kalmykov: Just like the majority of the European banks, we follow the regulations of local and the European legislation in the field of fight for the legalization of funds gained by illegal means, and against funding of terrorism. We are building our relations with clients in compliance with those regulations. Frankly speaking, the demands got much tougher. Before opening an account for a legal entity, first we have to study accounting, documents showing a real activity of the company, substance (real content of business), availability of employees, partners, source of funds owned by beneficiaries and some other aspects.

Sounds terrifying? (*smiles*) But I would like to note that it is not only our requirements. These are new standards. The world is getting more transparent, the rules of the game are changing. Therefore, I would warn against trust to banks and financial consultants promising to open an account without an in-depth analysis. As usual, even if it happens, problems with using an account arise further. Besides, not only a bank can have questions to ask.

We, in turn, are trying to study everything while opening an account. It helps doing a job more conveniently in future.

As far as physical individuals are concerned, the major issue that arises here concerns a source of funds and tax residence.

CE: PNB Banka is actively developing a network of partners beyond Latvia. Could you please tell about the bank’s activity outside the country?

Dmitry Kalmykov: I think that to date we still remain one of the few Latvian banks developing international ties. We are the sponsors and active participants of big professional conferences, we support events associated with economic and cultural relations between Latvia and other countries.

In Azerbaijan we are the platinum members of the reputable business community known as the Caspian European Club. We are also the sponsors of InvestPro conference.

Owing to our activity, we are trying to deliver information about PNB Banka not only to clients but also to numerous market players. We have a pretty developed partner network in different countries of the world.

CE: What range of banking services does PNB Banka provide for citizens of Azerbaijan?

Dmitry Kalmykov: I would highlight three main directions. The first one is a classic banking service (both individual and corporate) envisaging opening of a multi-currency account and easy making of payments. PNB Banka has a wide range of payment cards,including Premium cards providing a high amount of privileges: for instance, insurance for those departing to foreign countries, availability of the Priority Pass program in many cities of the world, discounts and special proposals.

Secondly, it is a work at financial markets. For instance, PNB Banka offers a wide range of investment tools. We have recently launched a new investment fund PNB TOTAL RETURN BOND FUND designed for conservative clients. The expected profitability shall make 3-5% of annuals after payment of commissions. The yield of our other fund (PNB EM HIGH YIELD BOND FUND) has made over 9% since the begining of the year. The fund has fallen into the list of the best 4% funds among the developing countries, according to Bloomberg data.

We have perfect opportunities in brokerage, including an additional financing through REPO deals and marginal trade. Apart from this, I would like to note that we are ready to offer them different financial instruments such as escrow accounts, letters of credit and guarantees.

Thirdly, it is purchase-sale transactions. Implementing complex deals, participants often forget about requirements of banking structures which, in fact, make payments. Therefore, it is better to get a consultation beforehand in regard to what can be done and should not be done.

CE: Could you please tell about your experience and prospects of work in Azerbaijan?

Dmitry Kalmykov: Azerbaijan is among priority countries for our business. The state is developing successfully. The economic growth is seen. Local entrepreneurs actively trade with Europe, considering her a strategic partner. All this strengthens confidence that there would be a demand for our services.

Our bank has a special subdivision, called the “East” and working also with clients from Azerbaijan, taking all inquires and peculiarities into account.

CE: PNB Banka became a platinum member of the Caspian European Club in 2019. Which prospects of cooperation do you see within the framework of this Club?

Dmitry Kalmykov: The Caspian European Club is one of the most reputable business communities in the region. We do really hope that our engagement will be mutually beneficial. We intend to establish contacts with the Azerbaijani business and will do our best so that entrepreneurs, choosing our bank, feel comfortable and fully safe.

 

Thank you for the interview!

 

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