Sberbank: hefty profits accompanied by a burnout syndrome

Business daily Vedomosti.ru reports that German Gref, the President of Sberbank, the largest Russian commercial bank, held a video-conference and a live chat session with the bank personnel. Approximately 28,500 Sberbank’s employees were able to follow the session during which Gref asked the employees to come out with the most pressing issues and received almost 2,000 questions via email and text messages.

Most of the questions were related to long working hours – employees voiced their concerns about a possible further increase in workload, as the bank plans to generate USD 13 billion in net profits in 2013. Gref tried to relieve some of the tension by stating that the actual expected figure is closer to USD 11 billion, but warned the employees about the dangers of putting their feet up. Gref stated that the bank’s restructuring program initiated in 2007 yielded results that would normally take twice as long to achieve, suggesting that the employees should appreciate the opportunity to work in a changing environment. Some employees went as far as claiming that the workload leads to illness and nervous breakdowns, but Gref did not seem impressed: in his words, there is nobody who wouldn’t like to spend more time at home with their families, but that remains in the domain of fantasy even for Gref himself. Gref stated that the average monthly salary in Sberbank, including bonuses and premiums, increased from 35,000 rubles (USD 1,100) in 2009 to 58,000 rubles (USD 1,880) in 2011. The bank will continue to adjust the number of employees in accordance with the business environment and plans to hire additional personnel in some locations, including its call center, where it will pay special attention to providing adequate working conditions for disabled persons.

The return of “Troika Dialog”

According to Vedomosti.ru, investment bank “Sberbank CIB” (http://sberbank-cib.com/eng/about/index.wbp), previously known as “Troika Dialog”, should generate a pre-tax profit of approximately USD 160 million in 2012. Previous forecasts talked about a pre-tax profit of USD 400-500 million. While its parent company Sberbank did not provide information about the total revenues of its investment banking arm, unofficial estimates speak of approximately USD 1 billion. “Troika Dialog” changed its name to “Sberbank CIB” after the takeover by Sberbank in 2011 for USD 1 billion plus a performance-related bonus. The investment bank never published official financial statements, but it was reported that it suffered a loss in 2011. Since its best year in 2007, when it generated USD 225 million in profits, “Troika Dialog’s” performance was mixed, changing from positive to negative from year to year. Financial services company Dealogic ranked “Sberbank CIB” as the fourth largest investment bank in the world according to the volume of managed deals.

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