"Management of the Future" at GSOM SPbU: participants of the panel session on financial markets discussed increasing the environmental, social and corporate responsibility of Russian companies.
According to the results of 2020, the financial situation in Russia turned out to be much better than in many countries. The speakers of the panel session on financial markets shared their experience with the participants of the IX conference "Management of the Future" at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU). They believe that the next step on the road to success for Russian companies is environmental responsibility and ESG practices.
The session was attended by representatives of the banking sector, the Moscow Exchange, the real estate sector and GSOM SPbU. The main theme was that the majority of large Russian companies have successfully coped with the new challenges associated with the covid crisis. This is an indicator of investor sentiment, because financial markets largely reflect their expectations.
“The Russian economy is doing better than the economies of other countries. Small and medium-sized businesses in Russia do not yet occupy the same share in the volume of GDP as, for example, in Europe. And the companies of this particular segment have suffered the most. In the context of the pandemic, this has allowed our economy to look better when compared with other markets,” said Dmitry Snesar, Head of the Department for work with clients in market sectors, Senior Vice President of VTB Bank.
Any changes in the economy are instantly reflected in the activity of financial markets: this is how the pandemic has led to their greater volatility. Maxim Lapin, Chief Financial Officer, Member of the Management Board of the Moscow Exchange, noted that, despite the difficult year 2020, there is now a trend towards growth in indicators, with especially the number of private investors having increased. It is interesting that "they invest in bonds half of their portfolio, and from a quarter to a third in stocks." Strengthening the private investor supports stock indices and also increases the share of domestic capital in the stock market.
One of the main issues of the meeting was the trend towards the introduction of ESG programs, the importance of raising the level of companies in the ESG rankings. ESG principles include the responsibility of companies to the environment, social development and corporate governance. Compliance by an enterprise is an important indicator for investors.
For example, VTB Bank, together with its clients, is developing a number of ESG programs in the field of reducing the carbon footprint of enterprises, and in managing emissions and waste. “There is a great risk that, in the next ten years, developed markets will impose duties on goods that do not meet ESG requirements. Therefore, we regard the environmental agenda as a matter of national importance and maintaining the competitiveness of Russian goods on the world market,” noted Dmitry Snesar.
Alexey Kulichenko, Deputy General Director for Finance and Economics of PJSC Severstal, cited his company as an example, where 90% of investors are interested in the company's involvement in ESG processes. According to him, this is literally a "mega-trend". Severstal is also considering the so-called green bonds as a possible financing instrument. “For now, we are looking at its advantages and features,” he said.
One of the tasks of GSOM SPbU as a Business School is to prepare responsible leaders, whose education will meet the current needs of the market. Therefore, the structure of the updated Master in Corporate Finance program is also introducing the elements necessary for the ability to form working methods according to the principles of ESG - from mathematics and programming to marketing. According to Alexander Andrianov, the leader of the updated MSF program at GSOM SPbU, the course is being developed based according to world standards: with the support of the international association ACCA, plans include CFA. “The speed of change in the external environment is growing. Companies and managers who take this into account will be the main beneficiaries of these changes. It is the responsibility of the Business School to teach students how to actively manage processes rather than allowing processes to control them. Our goal is to give the graduate a practical arsenal of knowledge necessary for building a career anywhere in the world, ”said Alexander Andrianov.
The meeting was moderated by Alexey Kechko, chief strategist at VEB.RF. The conference "Management of the Future" is held annually by GSOM SPbU. The main goal is to create a platform for interaction between Russian companies and talented Russian students with the prospect of developing a reserve of well-qualified management personnel.