Financial institutions

Swiss Re and other European financial institutions turn away from Russia – SABC News

Swiss Re said on Monday it was not accepting new business with Russian and Belarusian customers and was not renewing existing business with Russian customers as European financial institutions turned their backs on Russia.

The global reinsurer joins banks such as Deutsche, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase that left Russia after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western government sanctions.

The moves will add pressure on others to follow.

In an emailed statement, Swiss Re said it was reviewing its current business relationships in Russia and Belarus.

The move follows similar action by major European insurers and reinsurers, which cover major projects such as energy installations.

Insurer Zurich is no longer taking on new customers in Russia and will not renew existing business, a spokesman told Reuters on Monday.

Hannover Re said last week that new business and renewals for customers in Russia and Belarus were on hold, while Italian insurer Generali announced earlier this month that it would pull out of Russia.

Insurance broker Willis Towers Watson also said on Sunday it would pull out of Russia, following similar moves by rivals Marsh and Aon.

Asset managers have said they will not make new investments in Russia and many Russia-focused funds have frozen because they cannot trade following the sanctions and countermeasures taken by the Russia.

Ukraine said on Monday it had started ‘tough’ talks with Russia on a ceasefire, immediate troop withdrawal and security guarantees after both sides reported scant progress in talks this weekend, despite the Russian bombardments.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

RELAXATION

Deutsche, which had come under scathing criticism from some investors and politicians for its continued ties to Russia, announced late Friday that it would wind down operations there.

It was a surprise U-turn from the Frankfurt-based lender, which had previously argued it should support multinational companies doing business in Russia.

“We are in the process of winding down our remaining operations in Russia while we help our non-Russian multinational customers scale down their operations,” Deutsche said in the Friday statement. “There will be no new business in Russia.”

Britain’s London Stock Exchange Group also said late Friday that it was suspending all products and services for all customers in Russia, days after suspending the distribution of news and commentary in the country following new laws from Moscow.

“LSEG confirms that it is suspending all products and services for all customers in Russia, subject to any regulatory requirements,” the company said in a statement.

“We continue to support our employees in the region. We also engage with our customers outside of Russia who depend on us for data and pricing information inside Russia. We are evaluating alternative options to continue providing these services.

Index provider FTSE Russell said on Monday it would remove four UK-listed, Russia-focused companies, including Roman Abramovich’s Evraz, after numerous brokers refused to trade their shares.

Evraz, with Polymetal International, Petropavlovsk and Raven Property Group RAV.Lwould be removed from all FTSE indices at the March review, it said in a statement.

FTSE Russell said it had received comments from its external advisory boards and market participants that trading in the shares was “severely restricted” as brokers refused to deal in the securities, affecting market liquidity.

“As a result, this will prevent index trackers from replicating the continued inclusion of these names in the FTSE Russell indices,” FTSE Russell said.

JPMorgan says the majority of risks projected for European banks from the Russian shock will come from contagion effects on commodities and the economy, with the sector having fallen 16% since late February.

European banking stocks are off their lows, however, and rose 3.1% on Monday.