The activity of the Bank of Russia to restrict access to the securities market for individuals is moving from advisory to legislative. The Central Bank does not hide the reasons for its activity, and they are understandable. +4 million new brokerage accounts in 2020. For many of the newbies, the stock market is a magical replacement for a bank deposit, which now simply gives not 4%, but, for example, 10, or 15.
RBC has published informative material on the alleged restrictions (https://www.rbc.ru/finances/21/01/2021/600927189a7947e491f9b269?from=from_main_1). We have already heard about the ban on complex structured products. But the view of the Central Bank on bonds deserves attention. RBC refers to a draft law available to him, which in turn is intended to restrict unqualified investors from buying a significant share of bonds until October 1, 2021 (when a testing mechanism should start working, allowing to classify as qualifying investors not only those who have 6 million rubles or more on their account). .).
So, the supposed restrictions on bonds are quite strict: all securities with credit ratings below A- on the national scale should be banned from buying by unqualified investors… The obvious reason for the rigidity is the similarity of bonds to deposits.
I remain with the opinion that by mid-spring the proposals of the Bank of Russia will acquire legislative character. Will they bring down the retail bond market, incl. high yield bonds? No. At least 80% of demand is generated by investors who have the status of qualified or corresponding to it.
At the same time, peremptory removal of small brokerage accounts from the same bond accesses looks unnecessarily rude. But, hopefully, it will accelerate the emergence of a transparent and effective mechanism for admitting the latter through testing or other criteria.
PS. For a better understanding of the regulator’s motives, it is useful to look at the analytical release of the Central Bank about the brokerage market (http://www.cbr.ru/analytics/rcb/broker_market/, illustrations are taken from the same page). The share of brokerage accounts up to 1 million rubles. accounts for 94.3% of the total number of accounts (up to 100 thousand rubles – 82.6%). The share of the same accounts in the total amount of assets in the stock market is 6.1% (accounts up to 100 thousand rubles – 0.5%). Those. the contribution of small investors to liquidity and direct exchange financing is very small, while the social consequences of their disappointment will be quite significant.