Sberbank Increases Stock Trades

Sberbank has not raised its limits on the stock it owns but is getting more active in the market, deputy chief executive Bella Zlatkis said Wednesday.

Sberbank has traditionally been a "buy and hold" investor.

"Compared with last year our limits practically have not changed but the turnover has increased," Zlatkis said. "We are buying and selling shares," she added.

Zlatkis' comments come as some company managers and government have called on the state to support domestic firms, whose shares have been battered as foreign investors sell amid global market turbulence.

The dollar-denominated RTS index has lost 14 percent since the start of the year.

Kommersant reported Wednesday that Sberbank had started actively buying stocks in the market -- increasing the amount of trades it makes on average "several dozens of times."

Zlatkis said the volume of operations with shares has increased because of a split in the bank's portfolio of securities in line with the central bank's regulation. She said a more liquid "trading" portfolio was now included in the income statement, affecting the monthly results calculated to Russian accounting standards, while the "investment" portfolio appeared on the shareholder equity statement.

"It does not make sense to hold on to securities in the trading portfolio," Zlatkis said, adding that the bank's total portfolio of securities made up 10 percent to 15 percent of assets.