Interview Karamzin

Anton KaramzinMember and Deputy Chairman
of the Management Board
>> Shareholders and investors often ask about the Bank’s corporate social responsibility. The topics most interesting to them include corporate governance, the accessibility of the Bank’s services in Russia’s regions, their quality, convenience and speed

Given the level of interest from Russian and international investors in transparency, we pay serious attention to this topic. Over the last few years we soared from ranking somewhere in the 70s to break into the top twenty in the transparency rating compiled by Standard & Poor’s.

Sberbank seeks to maintain an active dialogue with its shareholders and investors. We view regular meetings with an extended team of the Bank’s senior executives as a promising way of developing our engagement with this stakeholder group. Such meetings help shareholders and investors immerse themselves deeper into our business and realise the scale of our contribution to Russia’s economic development. The first such meeting was held at the Russia Forum 2012. An animated discussion driven by numerous questions from participants lasted for half a day. Our next step in this direction is to start organising such events on a regular basis. In 2012, we plan to organise at least one major Investor Day with the participation of the Bank’s senior executives in London, one of the world’s most significant financial centres.

Over the last few years Sberbank has made a breakthrough in its relations with minority shareholders. We were the first Russian company to come up with the idea of a Minority Shareholders’ Committee and to actually create it. The Committee members are a very active group of investors who have joined forces to closely engage with us. Their recommendations help us make the Bank more transparent and understandable for investors and shareholders. The Committee formulated a number of recommendations on how to improve corporate governance at the Bank, and we have already implemented over half of these recommendations. Committee members have participated in many of our meetings with international investors. The topics discussed at Committee meetings include Sberbank’s Strategy, development of our investment business, the acquisition of Troika Dialog and other significant aspects of Sberbank’s activities. We organised visits to our innovative sites — the Office of the Future, the Loan Factory and the Customer Operations Support Centre — for minority shareholders. Two Committee meetings were attended by Herman Gref, Sberbank’s CEO and Chairman of the Management Board.

Over the last few years Sberbank has made a breakthrough in its relations with minority shareholders. We were the first Russian company to come up with the idea of a Minority Shareholders’ Committee and to actually create it

One idea suggested by Committee members and already implemented by the Bank is site visits to regional banks. The Committee visits regional banks at least six times a year, where a video conference with the Bank’s senior executives is organised. All branches based in the respective regions also join the video conference. This allows people from the remotest corners of the country to have their questions answered in a clear and specific manner.

One of the most important shareholder communication channels is our website. We have one of the best Russian corporate websites and importantly it has a voice interface making it more accessible for users with disabilities. Another important communication instrument is our dedicated call centre for minority shareholders, which received over 1,600 calls in 2011. In 2012, we plan to transfer the centre to a toll-free number. Finally, we were the first public company to broadcast a live video of its Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on the Internet. The audience of the broadcast was over 50,000 people.

I would also like to highlight the launch of our ADR programme as an important event in 2011. At present, depositary receipts representing Sberbank shares are traded on most international financial markets: on the London and Frankfurt stock exchanges, on the Xetra global electronic trading system and on the US over-the-counter market. Bank of New York Mellon, one of the programme’s depositary banks, held an international conference call to discuss the upcoming start of the ADR programme.

At present, depositary receipts representing Sberbank shares are traded on most international financial markets: on the London and Frankfurt stock exchanges, on the Xetra global electronic trading system and on the US over-the-counter market

Another important topic worth mentioning is the forthcoming privatisation of the Bank. We believe that this issue is very important from a historical perspective. The plans for privatisation demonstrate that Sberbank itself, its customers and the Bank’s majority shareholder are convinced that such a large state interest in the Bank is not required to ensure the Bank remains competitive and grows sustainably. Sberbank has already proved it is a robust and competitive institution, particularly by withstanding the recent global financial crisis.

Customer loyalty is certainly helped by improvements and progress in the Bank’s corporate social responsibility. When customers, be they companies or individuals, learn that the Bank is not only a financially stable provider of banking services but also a socially active corporate citizen, their relationship with the Bank is escalated to a new level of trust. This helps both customers and the Bank’s employees get more satisfaction when interacting with each other and ultimately leads to better performance.

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