Currently, the information services market is actively developing. Information in general and financial information in particular are becoming the most important essential characteristics of modern society. The largest providers of financial information in the world are the Dow Jones Corporation, the international information system Tenfor, the Bloomberg Agency, and others.
Cbonds Group of Companies is a Russian agency specializing in financial markets. Cbonds monitors news and financial market conditions and maintains a database of all debt issues: bonds, Eurobonds, syndicated loans, and securitization transactions. The Cbonds website publishes comments on the market from leading investment houses, key indexes, rankings of investment banks that organize loans and leading issuers, ratings of issuers, financial statements, and much more.
For 19 years of existence, it has achieved a lot. Sergey Lyalin, CEO of Cbonds Group of Companies, spoke with the “EBU” about how the Agency was born, current trends in the field of financial information and what is necessary for development of the capital market of Uzbekistan.
– Sergey Vladimirovich, your agency was established in the early 2000s. How much has the agency’s information resources changed in 19 years? Can you tell us what the agency was like at the beginning, and what it has become today?
– Naturally, a lot has changed over the past two decades. These 20 years was a period of very rapid development of the Internet and information technologies in general. In the early 2000s, the “entry threshold” for Internet businesses was very low. One could develop a simple website “by hand”– and if the topic was interesting and in demand, it could become a business. Actually, this is how Cbonds came into being – I wrote the first version of the website myself, along with my programmer friend, who helped me. This is not possible now – user requirements for interfaces, design, and speed have increased many times, and each project must have an IT team behind it. We have such a team – 12 people constantly working on the development of our projects.
– The financial market is one of the most information intensive sectors of the economy. Information in the financial market carries a large functional load. Can you share with our readers how important information is for the modern economy?
– I do not want to say any trivial phrases about the fact that we live in an “information age”, etc. In fact, oddly enough, I think that in recent years there have been fewer changes in the financial market’s “information coverage” than in other sectors of the economy. This is not because the financial market is “lagged”, but rather the opposite — its development in terms of information began earlier than in the other sectors of the economy. Another thing is that in recent years, the availability of information on financial markets has changed fundamentally. If, say, 20 years ago, access to information was mainly only for professional participants who are willing to pay a lot of money for this information, now, for example, there are many private investors among Cbonds subscribers who can receive an information package which is completely identical to what large financial institutions receive.
– Cbonds held thematic conferences in Uzbekistan in 2006 and 2007. In 2018, the company returned to our country. What was the reason for the renewed interest in the capital market of Uzbekistan and how promising is it, in your opinion?
– The interest in the market in 2006 and 2007 was due to the fact that in those years there were attempts to develop the domestic corporate bond market in Uzbekistan – and we were in this trend. Then, since 2008, this activity went for naught, and for many years almost no events have occurred in the securities market of Uzbekistan. In 2018, the processes for its revival began again, in particular, the “Quartz” company held the first IPO in Uzbekistan. 2019 turned out to be quite eventful – the placement of the sovereign Eurobond of Uzbekistan, the launch of the domestic government securities market, the placement of several corporate bonds on the domestic market, the Eurobond of “Uzpromstroybank”, and several IPOs/SPO. Accordingly, the interest in the securities market of both Uzbek and foreign participants revived, and, therefore, there is an interest in conferences on the this subject.
– In September 2019, the II international Cbonds conference on the capital market was held in Tashkent. Can you tell us about the results of the event, whether there is a growth, progress in this area compared to 2018?
– The conference was attended by more than 150 people. In addition to participants from Uzbekistan, there were participants from Russia, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and continental Europe. This, of course, shows that people are interested in the market of Uzbekistan, and there is a great potential for its development.
– The domestic “Uzpromstroybank” issued its international bonds on the London Stock Exchange. How do you personally assess the state of our country’s financial market? What new opportunities does the placement of Uzbekistan’s sovereign bonds offer for banks and businesses? And how to increase the interest in entering the Uzbek capital market for investors and issuers from the CIS and foreign countries?