Former Deutsche Bank Russia CEO sets up boutique for finance's "Expendables"

Former Deutsche Bank Russia CEO sets up boutique for finance's
By Jason Corcoran in London September 16, 2016

Pavel Teplukhin, the former head of Deutsche Bank in Russia, has set up a new advisory firm a year after the German bank shuttered its Russian investment bank operation in the wake of money laundering allegations.

Along with four other partners, Teplukhin has set up a boutique firm, Matrix Capital, to offer clients advisory services and asset management in Russia and other emerging markets.  

Teplukhin, who left his role at Deutsche in August after four years in charge, hopes the firm can attract $3bn-$5bn in assets over the next five years.

His four equal partners are Sberbank CIB’s former chief economist Evgeny Gavrilenkov, its former head of equity sales Kirill Gromov, former head of equities Timur Nasardinov and Ivan Ivanchenko, ex-head of strategy at VTB Capital.

With the exception of Ivanchenko, Teplukin had worked with the others at Troika Dialog before it was sold to Sberbank for $1.2bn in 2011.  The four bankers, as senior partners at Troika, would have collected significant payouts after state-controlled Sberbank bought out Russia’s oldest brokerage.

Teplukhin "retired” from the top job at Deutsche in Moscow in August amid accusations of money laundering and bribe-taking by senior staff members. Deutsche was forced to close its investment banking operation a year ago after a money-laundering probe, involving suspicious trades worth as much as $10bn, rocked the lender. Teplukhin has not been implicated in the scandal.

Gavrilekov left Sberbank in July after 14 years at the company while Gromov, Nasardinov and Ivanchenko were all cut from their roles as brokerages struggled to win business amid sanctions and a collapse in commodities.

"The team Pavel has put together is like the grizzly cast of The Expendables," said a senior Moscow broker, who worked at Troika Dialog. 

An architect of the country’s federal law on mutual funds, Teplukhin told this journalist in 2008 that 30% of the Forbes Russia rich list were his clients.

At Matrix, Teplukhin will oversee the firm’s strategic development while Gavrilenkov will take care of macroeconomic analysis. Gromov will focus on marketing while Nasardinov and Ivanchenko responsible for running absolute return hedge funds.

As part of setting up Matrix, the partners have already seeded the venture with $20mn of their own fortunes and that amount may rise to $30mn by the end of the year.

Prospective clients are expected to be people the partners already know or new customers with at least $5mn in capital.

Maria Zaostrovtseva has also been hired as chief operating officer and Oleg Larichev will be portfolio manager for fixed income.

"Recently, we have seen the market dominated by the largest state-owned banks and several global players,” Teplukhin told Russian media at a press conference. “That in itself is not bad, but allows us to establish a niche and for the emergence of a investment boutique, which will create highly intelligent products to demanding customers.”

Boutique firms in Russia have typically struggled to make headway against the Wall Street lenders, the European banks and the state-backed investment banks with their large balance sheets and krysha (protection).

Teplukhin’s former boss Ruben Vardanian set up his own boutique Vardanyan, Broitman and Partners two years ago with the ambition of becoming “Russia’s Rothchild. The firm has thus far been conspicuously absent from any big deals.