First Vice-President of Gazprombank: Role of endowment funds in Russia is growing

On the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2016, First Vice-President of AO Gazprombank Aylin Suntay told RT about the role of endowment funds in Russia and their increasing importance in funding education-related projects under the current economic realities.

Endowment funds are specialized foundations to finance nonprofits in education, medicine, culture, science and philanthropy, with the money coming from contributions by private individuals and corporations. The funds are invested by the management company to generate profit which is then spent to achieve the nonprofits’ statutory goals. Endowment funds operate in many countries of the world, and have recently been on the rise in Russia.

According to Suntay, the role of endowment funds is becoming increasingly important amid a deficit of state support. As of June 1, 2016, there are 155 endowment funds in Russia compared with 45 in 2009. “Universities are embracing this idea of having alternative financing to reduce the dependence on only state funding,” she underlined.

There is also a shift in priority instruments, driven by the changes in the exchange rate of the national currency. Suntay says that the Central Bank opened up more opportunities for endowment funds. While previously these were RUR instruments and USD deposits, today they can also invest in Eurobonds. “It’s a relatively new sphere for endowments, and they are also investing now in MICEX-listed Eurobonds which gives them a nice USD yield still on US investments,” added Suntay.