The Russian Central Bank has updated its requirements for representative offices of foreign banks in Russia.

Beginning in May, in order to have a representative office registered in Russia, the applying bank will have to submit personal information about the head and deputy head of the office to the Russian Central Bank. According to an explanatory note accompanying the changes, “such data may include, among others, CVs of the head and deputy head of the representative office, as well as letters of recommendation and other documents." 

Opening a representative office is the way foreign banks open branches in the country.

Currently, foreign banks planning to open representative offices in Russia are required to provide the Central Bank the proposed address of the office, the powers and functions of the future office, information about its management, as well as the size and nature of transactions it is expected to process. The foreign bank must also submit samples of the establishment's seal and of the signatures of its senior management.

Experts believe the new regulations do not represent any serious changes. "They merely specify the existing requirements," said Igor Belyakov of the Economic Expert Group (EEG).

"They will help improve banking supervision, and are primarily aimed at de-offshorization. The additional supervisory opportunities they open will help better protect the Russian market from organizations which avoid submitting fiscal information as part of international exchange."

Foreign banks have shown increasing interest in operating in Russia. In the final three months of 2013 alone, 16 offices of Scottish, Czech, and Bulgarian banks opened in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

First published in Russian in Rossiyskaya Gazeta.