Goldman’s Jordan to Work for Russia Slot-Machine Billionaire

Updated on
  • Russia co-CEO to head Boyko's Finstar private-equity firm
  • Moscow executives move out at HSBC, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank

Nick Jordan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s joint head of Russia, will move to a private-equity firm owned by billionaire Oleg Boyko after becoming the latest high-profile departure from Moscow’s shrinking banking industry.

Jordan, a Russian-speaking investment banker who spent 19 years in the country with Deutsche Bank AG, UBS Group AG and Goldman, is joining Boyko’s Finstar Financial Group as its general director, Finstar said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday.

Investment-banking profits in Russia have declined 62 percent this year for both foreign and domestic firms as international sanctions over the Ukraine conflict and falling oil prices curtail deal making. Boyko, a paraplegic who helps support the Paralympic Games, made his fortune running slot-machine halls in Russia and moved his betting businesses outside the country when gambling was banned in 2009. He exited the gaming industry in 2014.

"Foreign bankers in Russia, even legendary ones, are becoming an anachronism,” Anton Tabakh, a director at Moscow-based ratings company RusRating, said by e-mail. “In part, this is because of the shrinking of the financial sector due to sanctions and the recession."

Asset Manager

Finstar manages about $2 billion in assets and is focused on financial markets, information technology and telecommunications, according to the statement.

Deutsche Bank, where Jordan spent more than a decade until 2007, will close its Russian banking and securities businesses as the lender grapples with a probe into alleged money laundering at its Moscow office. Joerg Bongartz, chairman of the bank’s business in the country, moved to Frankfurt from Moscow, the lender said last month. Mark Stadler left his job as the head of HSBC Holding Plc’s Russian unit for a Dubai post in August.

Goldman announced the departure of Jordan on Sept. 30 and said Paolo Zannoni, the other Russian co-CEO, will move to head the company’s investment-banking business in Italy.

Negative View

“The overall positive view of Russia -- typical for global investors and bankers in the 1990s and 2000s -- has changed to negative,” said Ilya Sherbovich, president of United Capital Partners in Moscow and an acquaintance of Jordan. “In this environment, international banks are very conservative and do not consider the development of Russian business a priority."

Jordan, born in the U.S. and raised by a Russian immigrant family, departed Deutsche Bank in 2007 for Lehman Brothers, leaving in November 2008 after the bank’s collapse. At Deutsche Bank, Jordan participated in the acquisition of Moscow brokerage United Financial Group.

"Many foreign specialists come to Russia and think that they’ve already achieved everything and that they have nothing to learn,” Piotr Galitzine, head of North and South American operations at pipe maker OAO TMK who became friends with Jordan when both moved to Russia from the U.S., said by telephone. “Nick learned, developed his skills and didn’t shy away from being a part of Russian society.”

Nick Jordan moved to Moscow in 1996, where his brother Boris had co-founded Renaissance Capital after heading the Moscow investment banking unit of Credit Suisse Group AG. Boris Jordan is now president and CEO of investment firm Sputnik Group.