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ITI Funds undergoes board reshuffle following suspension of Russia ETFs

The firm said Petrova resigned "for business reasons"

Jamie Gordon

a red and white ball in a net

ITI Funds board member Natalia Petrova has resigned following the suspension of the issuer’s Russia ETFs in March.

In a statement, ITI Funds said Petrova stood down from its board of directors “for business reasons”, effective 9 May.

Taking her place on the issuer’s board is Oleg Jelezko, who founded ITI’s parent company Da Vinci Capital more than 15 years ago – and already chairs ITI Group’s board of directors.

In his more than 25 years in investment management, Jelenko has also spent more than three years as managing director of Renaissance Capital and almost six years as director of Credit Suisse’s now-retired investment banking arm, Credit Suisse First Boston.

The board reshuffle came two months after ITI was forced to halt creations of the ITI Funds RTS Equity UCITS ETF (RUSE), as the closure of the Moscow Exchange severely impacted the product’s liquidity.

The ITI Funds Russia-focused USD Eurobond UCITS ETF (RUSB) was also suspended in March amid increased restrictions on investor access to Russian debt securities.

Speaking to ETF Stream when ITI launched its two ETFs in 2018, Jelenko said: "The launch of ITI Funds is an extension of our skills to provide investors a well-structured and regulated platform from which they can access what we believe is a significant growth opportunity.”

At the time, ITI Funds managing director Elio Manca said it “would not be unreasonable” to expect a re-rating of Russian debt, which would see it “feature across a range of global benchmarks” and position Russia among the “most appealing of investment-grade emerging markets”.

By the end of March this year, most Russian equities and bonds were treated as uninvestable by index providers.

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