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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former State Watchdog To Lead Investors' Body

Investor rights watchdog NAUFOR announced Tuesday that it has set up a center to defend shareholders in Russia, and it will be led by former Federal Securities Commission chief Dmitry Vasilyev.

The Coordination Center for the Protection of the Legal Interests of Investors, grouping 19 companies, including CS First Boston, Deutsche Bank and Brunswick Capital Management, will fight for shareholder rights and propose amendments to fills gaps in existing legislation on investing.

"In recent times, there has been little information about investing in Russia. It is difficult for the federal government to hear all the different opinions," said Mark Jarvis, director of Flemings Assessment Management and co-chairman of the center. "We want to bring these opinions together and unite investors into one voice that the government will hear."

Vasilyev, highly regarded among Western investors for his fierce stance on shareholder rights, takes the helm at the center after resigning last week from his post as head of the FSC, Russia's stock market regulator.

At the time of his resignation, Vasilyev said he would work at a consultancy championing shareholder rights.

The former commission head did not attend the news conference Tuesday.

Jarvis said the board will meet twice a month to discuss issues such as improper company privatizations and various legislation problems. Results from the talks will then be presented to the government, he said.

Mariann Gashi-Balter, a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and the center's chief legal consultant, said one of the main obstacles the center hopes to tackle is gross violations of existing investment legislation.

"There is legislation already, but everybody is violating it," Gashi-Balter said. "The problem is that we don't have in Russia a tradition of respect for the rights of investors."

NAUFOR chairman Ivan Tirishkin, who is also one of the center's deputy chairmen, stressed that the center is independent and open to all investors.