24 Jun 2024 14:12

Volume of currency blocked due to sanctions against MOEX is insignificant - brokers

ST. PETERSBURG. June 24 (Interfax) - Russian brokers kept a small amount of US dollars, euros and Hong Kong dollars in accounts with the National Clearing Center (NCC, part of the Moscow Exchange group ), therefore when US sanctions were introduced, only a small amount of currency was blocked, spokespersons for professional participants at the Smart-Lab conference said.

OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the US Treasury Department responsible for sanctions enforcement) added the Moscow Exchange and its group members, the National Clearing Center (NCC) and the National Settlement Depository (NSD), to its sanctions list on June 12. Trading in the US dollar, euro and Hong Kong dollar was then halted on the exchange. OFAC also issued licenses to the Moscow Exchange, NSD and NCC to curtail their operations by August 13.

MOEX said last Friday that NCC would convert client dollars and euros available after the partial blocking of foreign exchange collateral into rubles by June 28.

Some of the currency was blocked after the introduction of American sanctions; in order to receive it, trading participants must apply to OFAC under the rules of the issued license, the MOEX press service said.

"Only non-sanctioned brokers can contact OFAC. We are not going to do this as settlements for dollars and euros are about to take place. For the Hong Kong dollar, it is a matter of a few days. In general, nothing else is frozen," President and Chairman of the Board of Finam Vladislav Kochetkov said.

Finam kept the "necessary minimum" in NCC, he said. "Our own currency was not frozen at all, and the client's currency was stuck just a little: 40 million Hong Kong dollars and several million US. The amounts are very small both on the scale of Finam and on the scale of the market, and settlements for them will take place soon," Kochetkov said.

"We also kept very minimal balances just for settlements with NCC. Let me remind you that we introduced commissions for clients to store unfriendly currencies, just these three currencies, which are now more or less frozen. We introduced them a long time ago, precisely with the goal of preventing clients from holding balances in brokerage accounts," Igor Pimonov, department head at online broker BCS World of Investments said.

A very large percentage of customers have reduced balances since these fees were introduced, he said. "We, as a broker, also have some very minimal figures stuck in the NCC, even less than Vladislav (Kochetkov) announced," he said.

"Our clients' currency is almost all in the external perimeter. Now, for example, the question for us is how to convert it back into rubles from the external perimeter. We are working on this," Galina Karyakina, operations director at Digital Broker said.

Previously, Digital Broker informed its clients that about 5% could be blocked.