Saxo Bank looking for Russians to be doing it for themselves

With Saxo Bank opening a Moscow office to promote its trading platform with Russia’s emerging middle class, Business RT spoke with CEO Lars Seier Christensen about what he sees as a trend for more people to take control of their own trading.

RT: How much opportunity does Saxo bank see for its platform in Russia?

LC: “We are a platform that provides trading services for other people, for active trading in different instruments, and also for a sort of long term trading on stock markets. And, I think, the prospects for that are good everywhere in the world because of the changes in the way people are doing their business. You have a younger generation growing up now, all familiar with computers and more focused on taking responsibility for that. And, I think, also the current crisis, where a lot of people rely a lot on advice from bankers and pay a lot of money for that, people just turned around and asked themselves whether they really got something from all the advice they bought. So, there’s really a trend of people having less trust in traditional business and becoming more concerned whether they understand what they are into. And we always expect to develop those two trends, because, we think, that’s a natural progression.

At the same time Russia has certain economic challenges at the moment but I’m pretty convinced that Russia belongs to a group of larger interesting countries where there’ll be more growth than in Western Europe, for example. So, over 5, 10, 20 years you’ll have a strong economic growth here, and that’s interesting for us, because we prefer to be in those types of markets where the number of people beginning to have money and becoming more interested in investment is always increasing.  And we want to be there at a relatively early point of that process.”

Lars Seier Christensen, CEO at Saxo Bank
Lars Seier Christensen, CEO at Saxo Bank
RT:How does your typical wealthy client look like? Is he is any different in Russia?

LC: “When I’m talking about wealthy clients, I don’t mean multi – millionaires or even billionaires. I know, you have a fair share of these guys here in Russia, who are of course very interesting clients, but I’m more talking about the people who are moving out of a sort of middle class into relative affluence and hence beginning to take more responsibility for their own finances.  Actually, a millionaire probably doesn’t sit in front of the screen and trade himself. He must give some money to a trader to manage that. So, I’m most interested in people who are moving from not being millionaires to being millionaires. Those are people who have enough money to have relevant discounts, but also have enough focus on the management of their money, they would be uncomfortable to go to a bank adviser without fully understanding what he’s doing. And such clients represent a core client group for Saxo Bank in any country of the world.

And clearly there are more such clients in Russia than in Western Europe right now, but there is and will be a bigger growth in that segment in Russia than in most European countries. And there’s also an interesting change, where people start to look for smarter ways to do business, and this cross field is quite interesting for us.You don’t need massive amounts of money to open an account with this bank, the starting sun is $10,000, which makes it much more affordable.”

RT: What will the Moscow Saxo bank office be doing?

LC: “We are exclusively In Russia focusing on offering the platform, giving people the opportunity to trade themselves. And the office here really has no other function than presenting that to people, showing them this is what we can offer. Russia’s office will have the only function of presenting to people and showing them what Saxo Bank can offer. And should clients get interested, the actual handling is driven out from Copenhagen. So, we simply try to present this world of opportunity.”

Lars Seier Christensen also spoke with Business RT about the global markets.Watch the video.

­James Blake, Anastasia Kostomarova, RT