The 2014 All-Russia Research Team: Fixed-Income Strategy, No. 1: Maxim Korovin

Maxim Korovin
VTB Capital

First-Place Appearances: 1

Total Appearances: 2

Analyst Debut: 2013

VTB Capital strategist Maxim Korovin debuted on this roster last year at No. 2 and now seizes the top spot. The 30-year-old strategist, whom investors hail for his intelligence and independence, is singled out for his coverage of Ukrainian credits. In October, Korovin advised investors to buy that nation’s corporate bonds, deeming them attractive against the sovereign curve after ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the group on concerns about a potential trade war and deteriorating relations with Russia, among other reasons. Their average spread over the government credits was 180 to 190 basis points. Then, needless to say, political events intervened. Through May the average spread of Ukraine’s corporates tightened to 50 to 100 basis points over sovereigns. Looking ahead, the researcher is bullish about the prospects for Obligatsyi Federal’novo Zaima, or ruble-denominated sovereign Russian bonds, especially the medium-term obligations. “Monetary easing by the central bank — and expectations of such easing — are indeed strong supportive factors,” he notes. “However, the long end of the curve might remain at elevated levels.” The willingness of Russia’s Ministry of Finance to place long-term bonds, he explains, doesn’t match the interest rate risk appetite of the local banking system. “As a result, we expect the curve to steepen.” Korovin joined VTB in 2009 from MDM Bank, where he covered this sector for more than three years. He holds a master’s degree in economics from Moscow’s Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.