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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Market Association Rates Top Brokerages

The major Moscow brokerages came out on top of an annual rating of the nation's most reliable investment houses by the National Association of Market Participants, or NAUFOR, released this week.

NAUFOR rated its 900 member companies on three main factors. The first, "scale of business," assessed average monthly turnover, share capital, assets and average monthly net profit. The second, "effectiveness and reliability of operations," looked at the riskiness of trading, capital sufficiency, liquidity and profitability. The third, "respectability," considered professional membership, licenses and reputation in the local market.

The companies are listed in nine grades. Only the highest six grades — A++, A+ and A for high reliability and B++, B+ and B for reasonable to some reliability — were published.

Of the six companies given the "maximum reliability" rating, only one was not from Moscow: LUKoil-Reserve-Invest in Omsk, Western Siberia. Aton, which claims to be the largest independent brokerage in the country, NIKoil, Renaissance Capital, Troika Dialog and United Financial Group filled out the list.

The leaders topped NAUFOR's rating for the first nine months of 2000 as well, except for Renaissance Capital, which scored A+.

The A+ group grew from five to 11 companies, including a number of online brokerages.

The ratings follow NAUFOR's awards last week for best analysts, traders and back offices, which were based on a survey with open-ended questions sent to NAUFOR members. The results were based on 84 replies from regional dealers and independent brokers from around the country.

The awards focused on domestic market participants. Head analysts and traders who work mainly with international clients did not make a strong showing.

Analysts have given mixed reviews to the reliability of the rating itself, with one analyst saying the competition was irrelevant because it was just brokers voting on themselves.

For the second year in a row, Troika Dialog won for best back office and best trader, Rufat Askerov. Aton took first for best analyst, Steven Dashevsky, and second for back office. Both Dashevsky and Askerov were in the top three in their respective categories last year.

"Steven is young, but already one of the best analysts in the market. This is the first step toward his being recognized by Western clients," said Peter Halloran, executive chairman of Aton Capital.

Not all market participants were impressed by the focus on the domestic market. "This sounds like some kind of small-town survey of small-town people who aren't really aware of what goes on out there," said a fund manager who asked not to be named.

Others had a more pragmatic look. "They sit at computers all day, buy-sell-buy-sell. … They deserve to have a celebration," said Vladimir Milovidov of the Federal Securities Commission.

"Our analysts have to know the situation in the world markets, macroeconomics, Russian politics, the particularities of Russian enterprises, which do not always lend themselves easily to analysis. In that sense, our analysts do not lag behind their Western counterparts in terms of quality," Milovidov said.