Moscow exchange has well over 17 million retail investors

abdelaziz Fathi

More than 8.0 million retail investors flocked to Russia’s largest institutional trading venue in 2021, opening twice as many accounts as the monthly average in the previous year.

Moscow Exchange (MOEX)

Moscow Exchange (MOEX) said in its monthly report that the number of retail investor accounts hit a 17.4 million milestone, up from 8.8 million traders a year earlier.

The number of retail investors holding so-called Individual Investment Accounts (IIA) reached 5 million by the end of January 2022. They pumped RUB 262.3 billion or nearly $3.46 billion into January’s volatile trading, of which equities accounted for 85.5%, while bonds and ETFs accounted for %14.5 percent.

According to the MOEX’s monthly report, private investors that made at least one trade last month reached a record 2.8 million. Overall, retail investors now hold 28.8 million brokerage accounts on Moscow exchange. They accounted for 41.2% of equity trading, 17.8% of bond trading, 12% of FX spot trading and 42.9% of derivatives trading.

“In January 2022, individuals invested RUB 101.7 billion in equities, RUB 2.1 billion in ETFs and RUB 26.3 billion in bonds. Government bonds accounted for the largest percentage of the total investments in bonds (67%), followed by corporate bonds (17.3%) and Eurobonds (15.7%),” the exchange noted.

However, MOEX did not explain why there had been a jump in retail activity throughout 2021. But, amid concerns over the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak, there was a brighter side for all trading platforms, which attracted a rush of business as investors scrambled to protect portfolios.

Moex responded to Covid-19 with worrying volatility

Since 2015, Moex allowed private investors either to open an IIA with a broker (brokerage account) or asset management company (through trust management).

Money may be invested into MOEX’s securities market instruments, such as forex, shares, government and corporate bonds, as well as ETFs and mutual funds. Alongside other asset classes, the FX market has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with worrying volatility.

Russia’s largest bourse, which rebranded as MOEX Group, has cemented itself as a primary destination for institutional FX trading in recent years and has helped facilitate a dramatic surge in retail investors.

Most recently, the exchange raised its stake in BierbaumPro AG, whose main asset is the OTC FX platform NTPro. The transaction increased MOEX’s ownership from 29.5% to 95. In March 2020, Russia’s mega bourse purchased a minority stake in BierbaumPro AG in a deal aimed to boost its foreign exchange franchise. At the time, both parties agreed to consolidate the ownership of MOEX up to 100% of BierbaumPro’s equity over three years.

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