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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!  

Baltic International Bank: operational and financial highlights for 3Q 2017

In 3Q 2017, Baltic International Bank focused particular attention on diversification of the Bank’s target markets, further development of financial products and services perceived by customers as beneficial, and measures aimed at spurring the overall effectiveness of the Bank’s performance. In 3Q 2017, the volume of the Bank’s assets increased by 5.2 percent to reach EUR 281.1 million. The diversification of the Bank’s target markets and the provision of the Bank’s products and services also in Western Europe resulted in that the volume of deposits acquired by the Bank during the third quarter surged by 10 percent. Term deposits made up 43.7 percent of the aggregate volume of newly-acquired deposits. The Bank’s loan portfolio totalled EUR 72.43 million as of 30 September 2017. By the end of September2017, assets under management totalled EUR 70.56 million. The value of financial instruments in brokerage service reached EUR 113.75 million. By the end of September2017, the Bank’s operating income reached EUR 12.7 million. The structure of the Bank’s operating income was dominated by income from the Bank’s proprietary trading totalling 59.7 percent. By the end of the reporting period, the percentage of fee and commission income increased up to 22.4 percent compared to the same period last year when the fee and commission income made up 20.1 percent of the total operating income. During the first nine months of 2017, the net fee and commission income grew by 6.1 percent to reach EUR 2.13 million. By the end of September 2017, the Bank’s administrative expenses reached EUR 10.02 million. By the end of the reporting period, the Bank’s loss accounted for EUR 571 thousand. A portion of the Bank’s administrative expenses was formed by one-time expenses (EUR 1.79 million) associated with the changes to the conditions of sale of the Bank’s real property. Over the reporting period, the Bank’s administrative expenses declined by 2 percent compared to the same period last year. As of 30 September 2017, the Bank’s own funds totalled EUR 32.39 million. The Bank's Tier I capital ratio (CETI) totalled 12.58 percent. Having reached 15.91 percent, the total capital ratio by 5.71 percentage points exceeded the individual ratio set by the Financial and Capital Market Commission. The Bank’s liquidity ratio reached 85.83 percent as of 30 September 2017. The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) totalled 289.72 percent. The net stable funding ratio (NSFR) reached 152.88 percent. NSFR requires banks to maintain a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of their assets and off-balance sheet activities. While continuing to implement the Bank’s operational strategy geared towards sustainable investing, Baltic International Bank established its subsidiary Akciju sabiedrība "BIB Alternative Investment Management" (joint stock company) in 3Q 2017. This will enable the Bank’s current and potential customers to engage in private equity deals, thus supporting development of sustainable business projects and generating capital gains on investments. Financial report for the period ended 30 September 2017

Quickly, more quickly, at a much faster pace! - Opinion of our expert

21 November 2017 will be remembered for being the day on which the pan-European instant payment system has gone live. The system (known as EBA CLEARING’s instant payment system RT1) will enable customers to access multiple instant payment clearing and settlement mechanisms and hence will make the funds available immediately for use by the recipient (within seconds of payment initiation). This infrastructure solution for the processing of instant SEPA credit transfers at a pan-European level has not yet gained broad ground. But the entire banking sector and we, Baltic International Bank, are actively working on implementing the new opportunities. At the same time, we place special emphasis on the most central aspect which is keeping our customers and their money secure.    Kaspars Kravčuns, Head of Payments and E-Commerce at Baltic International Bank Kaspars Kravčuns, Head of Payments and E-Commerce at Baltic International Bank states, that the question can arise whether the system-guaranteed lightning-speed payment processing is so important? And you’ll get a strong yes. Without such a system in place, it was problematic to ensure speedy euro payments due to speed limiting factors, such as the number of settlement cycles, operating hours of banks, days off and statutory holidays. Most of us have encountered situations where the money transferred on a working day preceding the holiday the money has not been received at the beneficiary bank on that day.  Banks have the task of matching up with the ever-increasing requirements in respect of faster, cheaper and more efficient payments. The fact that the activity of various alternative payment service providers is constantly growing clearly indicates that banks therefore have to focus on reshaping their traditional business model while providing customers with much-needed  personalised service and customised solutions to tackle essential money matters. Also, banks have to ensure the required speed and convenience to satisfy customers’ daily financial needs. And banks should always stay focused on safety, security and transparency of data, technologies and transactions. The newly-launched RT1 provides banking customers in the Single Euro Payments Area with a real-time payment processing facility and the opportunity to make fast payments through the system to any financial institution, which has joined RT1, in Latvia or throughout the euro zone. In the foreseeable future, cross-border interbank payments (among different financial institutions in Europe) will be executed as quickly and efficiently as intra-bank payment (transfers from one account to another at the same bank). It should be emphasised that the implementation of instant payments is a testimony to the fact that a customer represents the greatest value to every bank and that customer’s needs can substantially impact the process of implementing faster and more qualitative services by banks. Also, the impressive implementation of instant payments is proof that banks are able to jointly compete with different settlement external payment platform providers offering settlement opportunities. At the same time, banks are able to meet customers’ security requirements, guarantee the execution of payments and ensure data protection.   By developing the opportunities provided by instant payments, banks will be able in the future to execute payments online not only throughout the euro zone and in euro but also on a worldwide scale, regardless of the whereabouts of the sender or the beneficiary and regardless of the payment currency. It should, however, be pointed out that the limitless development will be decisively influenced by the following considerations. Will the payment service providers be equally interested in providing secure, fast and law-compliant financial products and services? Will financial institutions be able to cooperate instantly and efficiently both at national level and internationally?

Belokon wins court trial with Oyston family

November 6 came as a special day for Baltic International Bank! The London High Court ruled that our shareholder Valeri Belokon has won the High court battle against the Oyston family - co-owners of the Blackpool football club. We are proud of the courage of the Bank’s shareholder to defend his rights in courts for several years, and we are pleased that the court action has come to a successful end! The world belongs professional and courageous people!   On November 6 the London High Court ruled that Oystons (Owen Oyston and Karl Oyston) must for GPB 31,27 buy out shares belonging to Valeri Belokon, shareholder of Baltic International Bank, due to violation of minority shareholder rights.  In addition, Oystons must pay Mr Belokon his litigation costs, which could be approximately GBP 2 million. Thus, Valeri Belokon has managed to both to resolve long-term shareholder conflict in the Club and to regain his investments into the Club over 10 years. This is another victory of Mr Belokon in international litigation. In 2014, the International Arbitration in Paris ruled that the Kyrgyz state should pay V. Belokon USD 16.5 million for illegally expropriated Manas Bank. Claim for unfair prejudice against co-owners of Blackpool Football Club Messrs Owen Oyston and Karl Oyston and their companies was raised by wealthy Latvian businessman’s Valeri Belokon company VB Football Assets (a shareholder in Blackpool Football Club). Mr.Belokon raised the claim mainly because since the Club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2010, millions of pounds of BFC monies have been transferred by the Oystons from the BFC to Oystons’ companies through unsecured interest-free loans and by paying GBP 11 million, as the Director’s remuneration, to Owen Oyston. These activities were carried out by Oystons without informing Mr Belokon, without his involvement in the decision-making. Mr Belokon was not paid a profit share due to him, thus violating his minority shareholder rights. At the same time Oystons did not invest adequate resources into the football team, despite the fact that so-called parachute payments from the Premier League over the few years reached almost 100 million pounds. As a result, a team has dropped from the Premier League to the third tier league in a few years time. The purchase of Blackpool FC shares brought the Club money to be invested in team. The Investment Agreement signed between Valeri Belokon owned “VB Football Assets” and “Segesta Limited” guaranteed the necessary stadium-infrastructure improvements and construction of new stands for the convenience of the supporters. Mr Belokon also established a special-purpose Fund for buying highly qualified players. These Mr Belokon’s investments and his active participation in the development of the club allowed Blackpool Football Club to get into the Premier League in a few years time. (*) Claim is raised against Owen Oyston, Karl Oyston, and against companies owned by them: Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Limited, (Formerly Segesta Limited), Blackpool Football Club Limited.

Deposits raised by Baltic International Bank have increased by 9%

In 2017 Bank devoted particular attention to the diversification of its target markets by offering Bank's products and services not only on the usual target markets, but also expanding its offering to clients in Western Europe. We are pleased that new customers have highly appreciated Bank’s offers and our efforts have yielded positive financial results. For Baltic International Bank, the past year has been marked by persistent implementation of its new strategy and introduction of modern technologies. In parallel, Bank worked on promoting new products and services to offer its customers even more wealth management and investments solutions. A special focus was made on growing the Bank’s business beyond the current target markets by acquiring new customers - individuals and companies from Western European countriesIlona Guļčaka, the Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank.   In the quarter ended 30 September 2017, there was also an upward trend in other performance indicators of Bank. Over the three-month period, the Bank's assets rose by 5.2% up to EUR 281.1 million, and the total of customer funds grew by 10% and reached EUR 413 million. At the end of September 2017, the Bank's liquidity ratio was as high as 85.83%. The amount of deposits attracted by Baltic International Bank went up by 9% during the third quarter of 2017. Term deposits at the end of September amounted to 43.7% 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.

Seeking Remote Identification Solutions for Convenience of Our Customers

Today, the conventional approach to customer service is undergoing changes with the advent of global digitalisation, and customer satisfaction largely depends on the speed banking services reach their end-user and the quality of service delivery. We, Baltic International Bank, strive to render personalised, bespoke financial products and services to our clients, and we are keen to find ways to refine customer service and to accelerate service delivery to customers in the markets where Baltic International Bank is present and operates! According to Janis Osis, Head of Digital Channel Development at Baltic International Bank: “Mobility and efficiency in the provision of banking services and onboarding of new customers are key factors on the way to success in achieving both the customer satisfaction and the long-term financial strength of the bank. In view of ever-increasing regulatory requirements for the banking sector and the financial services export industry well-developed as time passed, it is essential for the Bank to bring to life the solution of customer identification by using a variety of digital tools (skype, webcam, viber, whatsapp)”. In Latvia, the question how to become a customer without appearing in person at the bank is still awaiting its response. This idea has already received a boost from the European Parliament, it is under the consideration of Latvian state institutions, meanwhile banks are taking efforts by assessing alternatives and choices for a secure and reliable identification and touting of their services to first-time customers in Latvia, in Europe and beyond it. In the meantime, various solutions are already available on the market offering to verify customer’s identity documents and to identify customers with the help of video by comparing the person’s picture on the screen with the person’s photo in his/her identity document, e.g., IDnow, Veriff, BIOid and others. Such identification tools have already gained support in Germany, Malta, Switzerland and also Lithuania, and it is highly probable that Latvia will also introduce similar solutions in the near future.Janis Osis, Head of Digital Channel Development at Baltic International Bank The Digital Solutions Specialists of Baltic International Bank are working on the study and analysis of various remote customer identification solutions in a goal – oriented manner. In an effort to gain new ideas, this autumn Baltic International Bank entered into partnership with Demola Latvia, having set the idea of exploring remote customer identification solutions as one of its primary tasks. Demola project group, working on "Distant identification tools" “Demola Latvia is an international platform where cooperation between leading companies across industries and students from different countries and universities worldwide is established and maintained in support of generating creative, trailblazing ideas and their implementation in real-life business”, says Mikus Losans, LU Business Incubator Manager and Demola Latvia representative. “I am delighted to have Baltic International Bank added to the list of our partners this year and I am convinced that the projects put forward by Baltic International Bank will give unique experience to students and brand-new, marketable solutions to the Bank!” Demola project group, working on "Customer Networking Platform"  Baltic International Bank is working dedicated on the evolvement of advanced technological solutions and we strongly believe that in doing so we will manage to create and offer innovative solutions and benefits to our customers!