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“Baltic International Bank” is strengthening its management team: Ilona Guchak has become a member of Bank’s Supervisory Board while Viktors Bolbats has taken the lead of Bank

Ilona Gulchak, who has previously served as the Chairperson of the Management Board of “Baltic International Bank” has filled the role of a member of the Supervisory Board. From now, the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board takes the lead of Bank. Viktors Bolbats and Ilona Gulchak The changes are a part of the transformation process which was undertaken by Bank already last year and which will enable Bank to expand its business in new directions, penetrate new target markets and offer its customers bespoke high-end financial services. Bank has been planning those well-thought-out changes for a long time. They will allow Bank distribute the competences perfectly and take full advantage of new opportunities. The Financial and Capital Market Commission has already evaluated and approved the changes being implemented by Bank. Viktors Bolbats  Viktors Bolbats has acquired solid multiple-year experience in the Scandinavian banking sector. He held senior positions while working for SEB bank, one of the largest Latvia-based banks. Last year, V.Bolbats joined Bank’s executive team. Initially, he actively engaged in the intra-bank reshuffle process in his capacity as the advisor to the Chairperson of the Management Board. He took the post of the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board in November. V.Bolbats graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and earned his MBA from the Riga Business School.  Bank’s shareholder Valeri Belokon: “Over the past 25 years, we have accumulated extensive experience in the Latvian banking sector. Now, we’re combining the useful experience with modern knowledge possessed by our new and energetic team members from different industries. Together, we’re shaping the new bank aimed at upholding traditions and succession and boosting customer trust and loyalty. We facilitate the engagement of a wide range of expertise to create value for our customers, employees and Latvia as a whole.” And let us remind you that in January 2018, Bank’s shareholders decided to increase Bank’s share capital by EUR 6 million since they are actively supporting the expansion of Bank’s business both in Latvia and in other target markets.  To anchor the Supervisory Board, top-level international specialists have been serving on the Supervisory Board since 2016, including the former diplomat Dr. Hans Friedrich von Ploetz and the former Director of CIA’s Counterterrorism Center Joseph Cofer Black. Bank’s shareholder Valeri Belokon and Andris Ozoliņš, a banker having vast experience, also serve on the Supervisory Board.  

The Baltics - new and rapidly developing corporate bonds market

Our colleagues, Head of Corporate finance Oleg Doronin and Director of Corporate finance Oto Davidovs, represented Baltic International Bank in Cbonds CEE Bond Conference in Prague. The conference was about the bond markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Our colleague Oto Davidovs participated in Debt Capital Markets panel discussion and gave presentation about the Baltic bond market for 120 representatives from more than 20 countries. Professionals from companies like UBS, Raiffeisen, Erste Group, Bloomberg, S&P, and others were also participating and attending the conference. Oto Davidovs, Director of Corporate finance of Baltic International Bank explains: “The Baltics is a new and rapidly developing corporate bonds market with current capitalization of almost 4 billion euros. In Latvia, there are more than 500 million new issues every year, and market activity is increasing by continuously improving infrastructure and state involvement in fostering development of capital markets."  "Cbonds CEE Bond Conference was well timed and conversations with participants confirmed investors’ interest in new emissions. Participation in the conference for Baltic International Bank was a great opportunity to exchange opinions with professionals of the debt capital market and assess the potential of new placements in Central and Eastern Europe." Photo: Cbonds CEE Bond Conference

On the financial results of Baltic International Bank

In 2017, Baltic International Bank actively worked to transform its operations in line with the Bank’s new investments-based business model. Upon concluding the organisation of the Bank’s assets and introducing the new business model, the structure and number of customers of the Bank changed, and deposits decreased significantly. In the 2nd half of 2017, Baltic International Bank significantly strengthened its clients service team and actively focused on attracting new clients, as well as establishing a new level of business relations with existing clients, thus in the 2nd half of 2017, all financial indicators relating to the amount of client funds increased. In the 2nd half of 2017, the total of customer funds grew by 18% and reached EUR 444 million, the amount of deposits attracted by Baltic International Bank went up by 25,5% during the reporting period. The assets under management at the end of 2017 amounted to EUR 68,17 million, and the value of financial instruments in brokerage service – EUR 120,71 million. At the end of December 2017 term deposits amounted to 33% of the total deposit portfolio, providing opportunities for new investment projects and financing for Bank customers – private individuals and companies both in Latvia and overseas. According to the unaudited results of Baltic International Bank, at the end of December 2017 the bank’s assets amounted to EUR 303,35 million, which is 13,5% more than at the end of first half of 2017. The Bank’s loan portfolio totalled EUR 69,77 million or 23,0 percent of the total assets as of 31 December 2017. The financial asset structure is still predominantly represented by investments in available-for-sale financial assets: EUR 43,72 million or 14,4 percent of the total assets. High-quality liquid assets (assets carrying investment-grade credit rating and balances due from the Bank of Latvia) amounted to EUR 159,44 million or 52,6 percent of the total assets. Investments in government bonds totalled EUR 26,87 million or 8,9 percent of the total assets. Operations related to changing the business model and customer structure, as well as the quality assessment of some historically acquired assets of the Bank created an expected temporary negative impact on the Bank’s financial indicators, thus the Bank ended 2017 with a loss of EUR 2,67 million. The financial results were also influenced by investments in continued improvement of the internal control system, development of information technologies and infrastructure that Baltic International Bank carried out in 2017, as well as investments in staff and strengthening their competence. The operating income totalled EUR 15 million, which is less than at the end of previous period. The management of the bank appreciates the dynamics of the income structure - the percentage of fee and commission income increased to 24,8 percent compared to the same period last year when the fee and commission income totalled 17,7%. The net interest income increased by 17,3 percent compared to the same period last year when The net interest income totalled 11,3%. Administrative costs reached EUR 13,74 million, which is 5,8 percent below the level of the previous year. The liquidity ratios exceed the regulatory thresholds. As of 31 December 2017, the liquidity ratio was 92,29 percent. The structure of liquid assets is well diversified, as represented by bonds 20 percent, due from credit institutions 13 percent, due from the Bank of Latvia 66 percent and cash 1 percent. The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) totalled 376,43 percent. The net stable funding ratio (NSFR), characterizing the availability of a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of assets and off-balance sheet activities, reached 154,64 percent. As of 31 December 2017, the Bank’s own funds totalled EUR 29,97 million. The Bank’s Tier I capital ratio (CETI) totalled 11,60 percent. Total capital ratio reached 14,98%. Having reached 14,98 percent, the total capital ratio by 2,08 percentage points exceeds the individual ratio set for the Bank by the Financial and Capital Market Commission. As Bank’s shareholders actively support the development of Baltic International Bank, basing on the new business model, shareholders’ meeting in January 2018 made the decision to increase Bank’s capital by EUR 6 million. We firmly believe that the capital-increase will give a decisive fillip to the expansion of bank’s business both domestically and internationally, and the bank’s current and potential customers will all be winners! In 2017, Baltic International Bank continued to implement a broad range of social responsibility projects promoting the development of culture, art and public opinion in Latvia. Baltic International Bank supported the publication of several books in the series “Mēs. Latvija, XX gadsimts” (Us. Latvia. The XX century) and other publications of significance to Latvia’s cultural history. In 2017, the Bank also supported the development of start-ups. The Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer surveys were carried out throughout the year, providing a unique monthly insight into the general mood and public opinion in Latvia regarding various current topics of national importance. Thanks to its sustainable model of operations and broad range of social responsibility initiatives, Baltic International Bank ranked in the Gold category of the 2017 Sustainability Index. Financial report for the period ended 31 December 2017

The book How to Prosper in Latvia was published with the support of Baltic International Bank

One may come across people with extensive life experience and outstanding achievements in our country too. This message has for the second time been passed along to the readers of the book "How to Prosper in Latvia". Courage, daring and the ability to stand up and attempt again even after a severe stroke of misfortune is what describes each of 14 successful characters of the book. The authors of the book – Kārlis Ozols and Laura Vanaga-Mickeviča – compiled the stories about the characters' experience in the book the publication of which was supported by Baltic International Bank. “Baltic International Bank has for many years been supporting different major events in the cultural, literary and business life of Latvia, and I believe that the publication of the book "How to Prosper in Latvia" is one of them”, tells Jekaterina Kuznecova, Head of Strategic Planning of Baltic International Bank.   From left - Jekaterina Kuznecova, Head of Strategic Planning of Baltic International Bank, authors of the book Laura Vanaga-Mickeviča and Kārlis Ozols “This year, Latvia will celebrate its centenary, and today, just like one hundred years ago, knowledgeable, professional and enthusiastic people are in demand. I am convinced that the book "How to Prosper in Latvia" will help to enrich our country's culture, art and business with young and talented people who will find inspiration for new achievements in this book!”, continues Jekaterina Kuznecova. Every story from the book "How to Prosper in Latvia" is special and makes the reader come to the conclusion that there is no finished formula for success – everyone has to find their own formula. However, having seen behind the curtains of the characters' life, plunged into the world of their personal feelings and reflections, we come to realise that even simple, everyday steps will take us to success – all we need to do is just start taking these steps, and success will find us.  One of 14 success stories included in the book "How to Prosper in Latvia" is the story of success of the businessman and auto sportsman Daniel Belokon. Daniel is the son of Vilori Belokon, co-owner of Baltic International Bank, who has proved by his experience that the values of nepotism and succession are passed down from generation to generation.   In his story, Daniel Belokon confides in readers that it was in his childhood when he developed financial thinking and gained confidence in the fact that family values play a key role in each person's life. His story about the father and his role in the shaping of Daniel's life is very touching: “My father gave me money for education but I spent it on the establishment of a company. At first, he was very disappointed but after seeing the first results of my activity he accepted my choice”.  From left -   Viktors Bolbats Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank, Jekaterina Kuznecova and Danila Belokon, owner of Crypto Baltic Daniel Belokon's company Crypto Baltic deals with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and D.Belokon is confident in his achievements: "I have set myself the goal of making my company one of the leading companies not only in Latvia but also in the Baltic States. I understand that the goal is rather ambitious but I do not think it is unachievable. We are young, knowledgeable, purposeful and enthusiastic people, a small and dynamic team capable of making fast and optimal decisions; also, we have good stress tolerance. Yes, we might be exuberant but I am confident that if this energy is focused on something specific a lot can be achieved!".  Apart from Daniel Belokon's story, the book also narrates about how Līva Jaunozola, founder of Andele mandele, opened her store before the company was even registered; how Ieva Treija, owner and head of Gemoss, checks utensils in every restaurant; how Lauris Liberts, co-owner of Draugiem Group, had hired the first American; how the owner and head of the marketing agency New Black organised the famous Zemene's run onto the football field, etc.  After the first book "How to Prosper in Latvia" was published in 2015, it seemed to me that the contribution to the creation of Latvia rich in achievements would suffice for a long period but time has proved otherwise', says the author of the book Kārlis Ozols. "The book was a hit; that is why I was motivated to continue collecting success stories and I am grateful to Baltic International Bank for the possibility to bring that motivation to life. I involved Laura into the work on the second book, and she made a very valuable contribution as a result of which the second book turned out to be more many-sided and more complete. I wish everyone had the possibility to learn from our enterprising and daring people since their efforts contribute to the development of Latvia".   The book celebrating event dedicated to the book How to Prosper in Latvia was held on 21 February in Riga in a family-like and very friendly atmosphere. Let's read the book and get inspired for new achievements each in one's own field!  

Shadow day in Baltic International Bank

A forward-looking and smart business strategy, product-and-service offerings, appropriate IT solutions, and professional, loyal and enthusiastic employees are critical to success of an enterprise. Baltic International Bank puts special focus on creation of a modern workplace environment, improvement of the environment and continuous employee development. We do this first and foremost because we believe that all of those initiatives are encouraging and foster the strength of Bank’s team.  And everything that comes with that proves beneficial to our customers! We give paramount importance to succession in business and transfer of skills, knowledge and experience to youngsters who are just learning how to set their life goals and are choosing their career path. These aspects are crucially important to us. We regularly provide a great opportunity for senior grade pupils to immerse themselves into at-work routines and to feel the spirit of Baltic International Bank. For many years, children have been undertaking summer practice at Bank and acquiring skills required for banking professionals. This year, young people have visited Bank and have followed in the shadow of Bank’s employees during the annual Job Shadow Day. Impressions of the Shadow Day in the Bank - please watch the video.  

Baltic International Bank increases its share capital by EUR 6 million

As Bank’s shareholders actively support and uphold the expansion of Baltic International Bank presence in the domestic market (Latvia) and in other target markets, they have made the decision to increase Bank’s capital by EUR 6 million. The shareholders Valeri Belokon and Vilori Belokon emphasize: „In 2018, Baltic International Bank will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its foundation. This year, we strongly intend to provide our customers just with all the best that we have in stock, including new financial solutions, new opportunities, and unchangeably superb personalised service! The Bank has already done substantial preparatory work which will enable us to enhance and expand Bank’s business in new directions. A team of energetic and dedicated professionals has been assembled, new target markets have been analysed, and a broad array of products and services has been developed. We firmly believe that the capital-increase will give a decisive fillip to the expansion of Bank’s business both domestically and internationally. The bottom line is that Bank’s current and potential customers will all be winners!” The shareholders’ meeting held on 26 January 2018 made the decision to increase Bank’s share capital by EUR 6,000,004.10 (six million four Euros and 10 cents) through issuing 845 071 (eight hundred forty five thousand seventy one) dematerialised ordinary registered shares. After the finalization of Bank’s capital increase, the new subscribed share capital will total EUR 37 496 399,30  and will be represented by 5 281 183 registered voting shares.  

Viktors Bolbats takes the position of the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board

Starting from 2 January 2018, Viktors Bolbats takes the position of the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank. With Viktors Bolbats taking the position of the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank, composition of the Management Board remain unchanged. It consists of 5 members: Chairperson of the Management Board - Ilona Gulchak, Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board - Viktors Bolbats, members of the Management Board - Alons Nodelmans, Bogdans Andrushchenko and Anda Saukane. 

Valeri Belokon: Money signifies belief. All other things are merely myths.

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of Latvia and the 25th anniversary of Baltic International Bank, Valeri Belokon, Baltic International Bank’s shareholder and Chairperson of the Supervisory Board, in an interview to the magazine VIP LOUNGE evaluates the Bank's activities for 25 years, talks about changes in the world and banking sector, and shares his values. "I believe in the "banker's karma": after all, we are responsible for the money people give us. Even more - for the belief itself." Read full interview  

What is the future of the robo-advisory business? - Opinion of our expert

Technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence and the likelihood that they will gradually replace humans in the workforce... Just a couple decades ago, they fell predominantly into the realm of sci-fi films. Now, there’s no doubt that a robot uprising is closer than ever predicted. The only question is when it is going off. Boris Lusin, Head of securities division at Baltic International Bank Boris Lusin, Head of securities division at Baltic International Bank, emphasizes that robotics and artificial intelligence expand into various sectors, and financial markets are no exception. A few decades ago, an individual having idle cash and wishing to operate in financial markets would go to a well-educated and seasoned expert in financial instruments, outline his needs and discuss his risk appetite and the desired rate of return. Then, the would-be investor and the expert would jointly make the proper decision about which elements would go into the investment portfolio. As the situation has now changed drastically, any individual having idle cash can open online one of multiple robo-advisors, the nickname for online investment platforms. Robo-advisor is a digital platform that provides automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services. Within a couple of minutes, the potential investor fills out the questionnaire in the online environment (specifies tolerable risk, expected rate of return, and other essential features). Computer will assess the customer’s risk profile and determine financial instruments most suitable for the customer. The above mentioned algorithm will determine whether the customer’s funds will be invested in conservative bond funds or will be used for exposures involving stocks. The first robo-advisor platform, which was made available to any potential financial-market participant, was established nearly 10 years ago. Since then, robo-advisors have surged in popularity. Currently, robo-advisors manage an estimated total of over US$225 billion, with this figure increasing by 60 percent every year. Certainly, an automated portfolio construction proves attractive both for investment fund founders and investors. Those who intend to operate in financial markets greatly appreciate the opportunity to automatically build their investment portfolios while starting with comparatively small amounts of idle money. They can access, in the twinkling of an eye and at lower cost, wealth management services that have previously been available only to affluent people. Companies that establish and maintain the platforms also reap benefits from the robo-advisory business. The services are in high demand, and expenses include the cost of one-time development and the cost of subsequent maintenance of the algorithm. Very often, companies that independently establish investment funds also establish and maintain robo-advisory platforms and sell their funds on a no-fee basis. Robotised instruments are becoming increasingly popular. But there is still a great confusion surrounding them in the marketplace. What will happen when the global financial markets move into a new cycle? Over the past years, the global financial markets have witnessed sustainable growth. The vast majority of experts are continuing to forecast further surge of stock prices. According to the projections from Goldman Sachs (a leading U.S. investment bank), the S&P 500 will close at 2.850 in 2018, a more that 10 percent gain from current levels.  Bank of America has voiced the same prediction. I think that stock-market growth seen during the past years may have made many less sophisticated financial-market players overly optimistic about their ability to forecast market trends. Furthermore, the algorithms employed by robo-advisors have never been affected by deep economic crises of a scale analogous to the 2008 financial meltdown. What steps will a robotised capital manager take if stock markets get adversely affected by shocks, whether or lesser or greater severity?  Nobody can be certain about that. It is what gives to me and my peers (other wealth managers worldwide) sufficient assurance that we’ll have a lot of work to do, at least in the coming years. To learn better about risk tolerance and appetite level of a less experienced investor, you should discuss the matter in-depth during a trust-building conversation. Likewise, only a well-educated professional who has vast experience and expertise and an analytical approach to decision-making is able to make well-thought-out decisions to tide over financial market shocks or crises. Things do not always go exactly according to plan, and the future is not driven by any algorithm. However, people are those who shape the future. To deal with crucial and non-standard situations, people are capable of making the best possible decisions. This especially concerns wealth management which is seen as the most important aspect for many customers.  

Baltic International Bank announces the rollout of its enhanced BIBTrader Go platform!

At Baltic International Bank, we are especially committed to offering our customers new digital solutions. We’re proud that, from now on, all current and potential investors can take advantage of a streamlined trading platform BIBTrader Go! BIBTrader Go offers access to various segments of the global financial market and to a broad array of all types of financial instruments. The platform enables the investors to build their investment portfolios and to timely respond to market changes. All you need is a computer or any smart device. You’ll be able to transact in stocks, futures and contracts for difference (CFD) and to operate in the foreign exchange market, a global market for the trading of currencies. To aid in decision-making, BIBTrader Go provides analytical support to its customers. The analytical information comes from the world’s leading agencies and banks. Apart from this, the platform provides expert comments and all the tools needed for comprehensive technical analysis and for monitoring and analysis of quote dynamics. Please get in touch with your private banker to join the platform, or open account with Baltic International Bank and become part of our community!