LSBF Great Minds: “Solid education is critical with all this increased volatility and risk,” says VTB Capital’s Masroor Haq

VTB Capital’s International Head of Infrastructure Capital and Project Finance, Masroor Haq, believes that education plays an important role when it comes to banking industry talent.
Speaking with London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) as part of its Great Minds interview series at VTB Capital’s London headquarters in Bank, Mr Haq said that education can provide aspiring bankers with the tools they need to succeed in the industry.

“Education is certainly critical with all this increased volatility and risk,” Mr Haq said. “It’s important that bankers are well equipped with all the necessary tools to identify and manage risks, and to come up with solutions which allow the firms to grow and clients to get the best advice.”

“It’s very important that business schools work with institutions like [VTB Capital] in ensuring that students are well equipped with the tools which will help them in their career.”
VTB Capital is the investment banking division of VTB Group and, since its foundation in 2008, has taken part in more than 530 equity capital market and debt capital market deals. As Russia’s second largest banking group, VTB Capital offers a full range of investment banking products and services to both Russian and international clients.
Asked about challenges that the banking industry has faced in recent times, Mr Haq identified volatility as an issue. He explained: “Given the politic and economic uncertainty today, clients are faced with increased volatility in terms of their revenue streams and in terms of their core asset classes.

“We work very closely with our clients to help them manage risks by tailoring solutions which are specific for clients and their needs. This allows them to achieve their objectives and manage their revenue streams in this volatile environment.

VTB Capital are currently working to expand into other markets besides their core market of Russia and central Eastern Europe.

“We are doing very well, but we’re also now expanding into other markets such as sub Saharan and Northern Africa into Asia,” Mr Haq said.  “We’ve recently led some iconic transactions in that space – the one billion dollar financing for Angola, another transaction in Ghana, and right now I’m working on a very large transaction in Africa where a consortium has won a multi-million dollar oil refinery.

“In sync with all the changes that are happening, we keep abreast of what’s going on. We’re very entrepreneurial – that’s one of our core values – and then we innovate and alter our strategies with respect to expansion and grabbing opportunities.”

Besides entrepreneurship, VTB Capital’s other core values include client success driving company success, teamwork, and honesty and integrity.

“Clients always come first but, at the same time, the other values cannot be compromised. You need to [work] professionally, with integrity, with good quality service, and offer a solution which is different and value generative from the rest of the market.

Mr Haq’s career in investment banking spans 24 years so far, and he has worked in a number of roles across a broad range of different cities, from London, Milan, Amsterdam to Dubai and Karachi. He said: “I think it’s just been great fun. The diversity, the clients I’ve met, the kind of transactions I’ve worked on - it certainly gives [me] that adrenaline rush. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.

Finally, for any students looking to enter the banking industry, Mr Haq to time to offer the following words of advice:

“A bank is like a big ship with so many different parts but to move the ship you need all the parts to function together. Do internships in different areas, do reports, reach out to people - people will respond if they have time. Just be proactive, build your résumé, and learn about the industry. It all comes together.”

LSBF Great Minds Series

As well as offering programmes dedicated to fostering leadership skills, LSBF also endeavours to provide students with insight and inspiration through a number of innovative resources. One of these initiatives is the LSBF Great Minds Series: a collection of video interviews with leading business and political leaders promoting debate on education, employability, entrepreneurship and the economy.

The video series started in 2011 with a conversation with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, followed by an interview with former Education Secretary Lord Kenneth Baker. In 2012, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group said that universities worldwide should become hubs to boost entrepreneurship and inspire self-starters to develop their own businesses. In 2014, LSBF spoke to Will Butler-Adams from Brompton Bicycle, Guy Hayward-Cole from Nomura Bank International, with former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, entrepreneur and investor Deborah Meaden, Google UK sales director Kevin Mathers and BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie.

In 2015, LSBF hosted interviews with Andrew Miller, CEO of Guardian Media Group; Jill McDonald, CEO of McDonald's UK; Kevin Costello, CEO of Haymarket Group; Amy McPherson, CEO of Marriott Hotels Europe; veteran BAFTA-winning broadcaster Jon Snow; live chats with Kevin Ellis, Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Guy Hands, Founder of Terra Firma and many others.

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