Check Out Life As A Banker In Moscow, Where Firms Are Hiring Like Crazy


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Against all odds (and by odds we really mean communist roots) Russia’s become something of a hiring mecca for investment bankers in recent months.Financial News reported last week that both domestic and foreign banks in Russia are continuing on a hiring surge that’s been several years in the making. 

We know what the fabulous life of bankers looks like in Hong Kong, Singapore and, of course, New York, but we were in the dark as to how Moscow’s financiers’ live the high life (and we don’t mean relocating to the US).

So we caught up with a Moscow-based trader to see what finance in Russia is really like.

There are plenty of banking jobs to go around, at least on the senior level

According to the Financial News:

'The Russian market remains a hotspot for hiring in investment banking with Sberbank, Renaissance Capital, Otkritie, BrokerCreditServices and VTB Capital all having been active in the market this year at a time when many large European banks have cut back.'

According to our source:

'Banks are trying to expand qualified staff, big financial players are trying to improve their teams' she explained. 'But the job market isn't as hospitable if you don't have as much experience.'

And the hours are pretty sweet, for the traders

Our source told us that trading doesn't start until 11 a.m., so junior-level traders usually get into the office around 9 a.m.

That's four more hours of sleep than traders get in New York. (One New York-based junior trader told us he gets into the office at 5 a.m.)

But don't expect to live in a 'rich' neighbourhood

And don't expect your apartment to be cheap

An average two-bedroom apartment costs $4,200/month.

Luxury goods are SUPER expensive, even for bankers

Luxury goods are 50% more expensive in Russia than they are in other European nations.

And it makes sense. Moscow is ranked fourth on Mercer's annual cost of living survey.

But the luxury class is growing. According to a study by Bain & Co., Russia's market for luxury goods grew 12% in 2011 and is set to grow by 20% over the next year.

Sources: Bain & Co. and Digital Luxury Group

So you'll probably go abroad to do your shopping

'It's common for Russians to go to Milan to go shopping,' said our source. 'Some people go two times a year or more. I don't shop in Moscow.'

You'll also probably go back to Italy when you have more time off. 'Russians love Italy,' our source explained. 'Roma, Venice, Milan, we love it there.'

But don't worry, there are plenty of places for you to wear your Italian duds in Moscow

Our source tells us that bankers like to go to trendy clubs Gipsy and Solyanka.

Gipsy, which his known for its rooftop area and bottle-covered ceiling, regularly brings world-famous acts like Xzibit and Avril Lavigne.

Solyanka is a bit more 'laid back' but no less fun, our source told us.

And you can have dinner meetings at some amazing, beautiful restaurants.

Like Turandot Palace (shown here) or Cafe Pushkin, which are both eerily reminiscent of pre-revolutionary Russia.

That's right, you can eat like the Tsar on your boss' dime.

If you get bored in Moscow, you'll probably go to St. Petersburg for the weekend

And if you're in St. Petersburg at the right time, you may make (or find) some money

The CEO of Russia's largest social network, Pavel Durov, reportedly spent an afternoon throwing cash out of his office window in St. Petersburg.

The 27-year-old was caught folding 5,000-ruble (152 USD) notes into paper aeroplanes and dropping them on the plebes below.

If you want to get away from the city you and your friends will road trip to the Russian countryside

It's why cheaper there anyway.

If you're travelling with your boss, you might golf at the Moscow Country Club

The Moscow Country Club was founded in 1994 on an idea from the American business tycoon Armand Hammer that a golf course would spur western investment.

18 years later, the resort still remains a popular destination for sporty Muscovites, at just a 20-minute drive beyond city limits.

Source: New York Times

Yes, the city's expensive but as the middle class grows rapidly, things are getting better...

In 2000, Russia's middle class accounted for 15% of the population. Today the middle class makes up 25% per cent of the total population and 40% of the workforce.

This has influenced tremendous growth in the following areas:

  • Private home sales
  • Passenger cars
  • Internet usage (It's number 1 in the world for time spent on social media)
  • Travel abroad

Source: The Economist

Luxury brands (which you probably can't afford) are noticing the growth

For junior traders this means all the right brands will be at your fingertips by the time the real dough starts rolling in.

  • BMW is building a factory in Kaliningrad with the expectation that Russia will soon be the largest car market in Europe (it's now second)
  • Bently's got the same idea
  • Prada just built its largest Russian store yet in St. Petersburg

Sources: Bain & Co. and Digital Luxury Group

In the meantime, there's always Burger King

The fast food giant recently announced that they would expand aggressively in the Russian market.

Not warm enough for you? Try Singapore on for size

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