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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Panorama Battles to Rejoin Regulator

A stand-off between registrar Panorama and one of the stock market regulators heated up again this week after the company reiterated allegations about unfair competition and demanded back its membership in the Professional Association of Registrars, Transfer Agents and Depositories, or PARTAD.

PARTAD is a self-regulating body set up under the auspices of the Federal Securities Commission to overview activities of private companies that provide infrastructure for operations on the stock market.

Panorama is one of the registrars that keeps records of shareholder rights. PARTAD threw Panorama out in December after a long-lasting fight with PARTAD president Pyotr Lanskov, according to company officials.

Panorama employs 200 people and has about 10 percent of the registrar's services market, according to its officials.

"PARTAD became a tool used by our competitors," said Maxim Protasov, president of Panorama's board.

Lanskov lashed out at Panorama, saying it was because Panorama had behaved unethically and refused to rectify flaws detected during check-ups that it lost its membership.

Lanskov played down allegations he personally was behind Panorama's problems with PARTAD. "Our board decisions were made almost unanimously," he said.

However, Panorama had been refused permission to address board members, who expelled Panorama for reasons that are now in dispute.

Despite Panorama no longer being in PARTAD, it this month won third place in a tender conducted by the Property Ministry and in December gained the FSC's approval for its license to be extended for another three years.

Whether Panorama keeps the license will depend on the Federal Securities Commission, which started an audit of its activities after PARTAD cried foul last month. Results of the audit are expected next week.

While PARTAD officials claim that Panorama's expulsion received unanimous support in the industry, several representatives of other registrars contradicted that view.

"I think the sanctions against Panorama were heavy-handed," said Maxim Kalinin, acting head of the NIKoil registry. "Many other PARTAD members run their business with the same flaws but have not been sanctioned."

"I do not support expulsion of one member when others benefit," said Sergei Tolstokhlebov, director general of Registrator-Svyaz. "Besides, PARTAD lost leverage that could have been used against Panorama."

The Property Ministry said Wednesday it did not intend to follow PARTAD's policy, and Panorama's tender would remain valid unless the FSC decides to strip Panorama of its license.

The 20 winners of the tender conducted by the Property Ministry were rated by adding scores. Membership in PARTAD increased the aggregate score, but was not obligatory for participants, a ministry spokeswoman said.

The Property Ministry represents public interests in companies in which the state holds stakes.

The Property Ministry intends to recommend particular registrars to state-owned companies on the basis of the tender results.