Russian central bank wants to stop rouble outflow

Russian central bank wants to stop rouble outflow

To reduce risk, new investors will be barred from leaving the rouble.

Novice investors in Russia will soon have fewer options to avoid falling interest rates on Russian savings accounts. Not only will investors themselves be the big losers, it is likely to hit trading apps like Robinhood, which are particularly aimed at beginners.

According to an announcement on 30 December, the Russian Central Bank is working to get securities trading platforms to comply with the July “risk reduction” measures. In the recent announcement, the Russian central bank recommends that securities platforms and Bitcoin Loophole applications acquire systems that “ensure that the execution of transactions on the platform involving the acquisition of shares or other securities of foreign issuers by non-qualified investors is impossible”.

This excludes those that have been approved by the Central Bank of Russia

The Russian Central Bank is also working to prevent firms from offering “complicated investment products” (which largely describes leveraged trading or derivatives) to unqualified investors. Unless the firms offering these investments offer guaranteed returns of at least two-thirds of the central bank’s key interest rate. With the base rate currently at 4.25 per cent, the platforms would have to guarantee a return of 2.83 per cent.

There is great doubt that the intention behind this is to protect investors. While 4.5 per cent would be enviable for a US savings account, the instability of the rouble since the sanctions in 2014 and the stock market crash in March 2020 has brought a great many investors into the stock market for the first time.

In October, Russia’s central bank issued a similar directive to restrict unqualified investors to buying no more than $8,000 worth of crypto in a year. This directive was part of an explanation of the law called “On Digital Financial Assets”, which came into force this year.