RBK Money, one of the top payment platforms in Russia and CIS, have chosen London to base its new European operations.
RBK Money is an electronic payments company that offers safe online payments via e-wallet, credit and debit cards, instant money transfers, as well as services for online businesses. It is a payment method Russians consumers have trusted for a decade. RBK Money is linked to the leading Russian banks and operates in 40,000 Russian post offices. The company therefore brings with it a wealth of expertise in accessing 143 million Russian consumers.
One of the company's first actions has been to appoint a team of British based managers to run the business. All of whom have extensive banking and payment industry experience in the UK.
Paul Bartholomew-Keen is the recently appointed MD of RBK Money in the UK. He was previously MD of epay UK and before that worked for MasterCard and Lloyds TSB. Paul explained why RBK Money chose to appoint a British based team, "Companies choosing to invest in Britain have access to the global talent that Britain attracts. RBK Money recognised the importance and value of British-based talent in helping to grow and expand the business outside of Russia/CIS. I believe this is often overlooked by overseas investors. "
RBK Money will be working with UK Trade & Investment to help UK companies who want to trade with Russia. UK Trade & Investment CEO, Nick Baird said: "I warmly welcome RBK Money's decision to choose London as their new European headquarters. RBK Money's online payment system offers British companies, especially those who are first-time exporters, a secure method of trading in Russia. Russia is an important market for the UK and offers significant opportunities for UK businesses. Over 600 British firms are already doing business in Russia and this trend looks set to grow. Russia is the UK's third-largest export market outside Europe and North America. Bilateral trade with Russia has grown from £8.6 billion to over £12 billion in the last year. There is a wealth of opportunities for UK firms particularly in the financial, professional and legal sectors as Russia modernises its infrastructure and UK Trade & Investment is ready to help British companies seize these opportunities."
Paul Bartholomew-Keen commented; "Russia is not a difficult market but, like all markets, you do need to understand local differences. The two major ones are that Russians like to pay in cash and many don't have bank accounts or credit cards (even amongst their growing middle classes). If you're selling online you need a payment method that can manage that. Secondly many parts of Russia are very rural and they don't have postcodes. Goods can easily get lost so it is far better for goods to be sent to an official address, such as the local post office where the recipient can both pay for the goods and collect them. This eliminates the distribution worries that many companies have when trading with Russia."
Paul also explained the reason why London was chosen over other European capitals; "London is still the place to be in finance and banking; it is the premier financial capital of the World. Our financial governance is well respected. Europeans know that to operate in London, a company has to comply with strict rules and that gives potential partners and customers the reassurance they need. A central London address is therefore the most prestigious that a financial institution can have in Europe."