Promoting Bank Transparency with Baha’i Faith

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Promoting Bank Transparency with Baha’i Faith

Postby onepence » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:42 pm


Promoting Bank Transparency with Baha’i Faith

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

By William Bland

Staff Writer ... y_id=18399

In August 1982, Richard Hainsworth and his wife took a three-day train journey from Ostend, Belgium to Moscow. Representatives of Mir Publishing met the British couple at the Belorussky train station and escorted them to a designated flat. They have been living in Moscow ever since.

During Russia’s transition to capitalism, Hainsworth — the founder and general director of bank rating agency RusRating — has tried to promote his Baha’i faith while exploring the business opportunities that have opened up.

Reluctant to give interviews about himself or list his achievements, Hainsworth was raised a Baha’i. It was the Baha’i faith that brought him to Russia: When he was a child he was shown a Baha’i map of the world, and he remembers seeing a red dot to indicate every country with a substantial community of Baha’is. Two unmarked countries attracted his attention — China and Russia. Hainsworth wanted to help put a red dot over Russia.

In the late 1970s, as he came to the end of his chemical engineering degree at Imperial College, London, he asked his supervisor if there was any chance of doing research in Russia. The answer was “No.” Several days later, however, his supervisor received a letter from the Center of East European Studies at Birmingham University, which was looking for someone to do a doctorate on the Soviet chemical industry.

Hainsworth jumped on the post even though it was more suited to a social scientist. Funding was soon cut, however, and the department couldn’t finance his doctorate. His supervisor allowed him instead to use the remaining funds to go on a six-week Russian course in Kiev.

He had a sense of urgency while he was in Kiev; he knew that he had to find a job. People there told him he might be able to find work rewriting convoluted English translations of Soviet texts. He went from publisher to publisher looking for someone who could use his skills.

Eventually, he found out that Mir, the Soviet Union’s main publisher of scientific literature, employed foreigners as style editors. Back in London, he sent off his resume and rang the publisher every week for 18 months until an apartment and a visa were arranged. Finally, Hainsworth and his wife made the journey to Moscow.

He rewrote English translations of scientific literature until the work tailed off in 1985. Around that time, as the state’s attitude to religion softened, Hainsworth was able to profess his faith openly and he became one of Russia’s representatives at the Baha’i international council.

Perestroika brought Hainsworth “many opportunities to become very rich,” he said, but to do so he would have had to “lower his business standards.”

There were various offers to form joint ventures, including one with Vladimir Zhirinovsky, his colleague at Mir Publishing and now leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Hainsworth passed over the opportunity. “This was not the kind of person I wanted to do business with,” he said.

The businesses he did enter into included a trade magazine called “Perspectives,” distributed by the state distribution agency and funded by foreign advertisers. “It was a weird situation. I had one of the state institutions distributing a market-oriented magazine,” he said.

Hainsworth sold out with zero but said he “learnt a lot about working on where the value is added.” He also tried importing personal computers, like many other entrepreneurs at the time.

Hainsworth began studying banking in 1992, and in 1996 a Baha’i acquaintance recommended him for a position at Thomson BankWatch in Moscow. As the agency’s Moscow representative, Hainsworth sought to make its research relevant to a Russian audience. In 2000, however, Thomson BankWatch became part of Fitch, which moved the Moscow operations to its London office. Hainsworth decided to set up his own ratings agency, and in 2001 RusRating was born. Citibank employed him part time as vice president in the Credit Risk Department and offered him an upfront payment for a three-year a subscription to RusRating’s research. His wife became RusRating’s financial director.

At first, RusRating rated banks for free, and all the company’s income came from subscribers to its research. Now, one-third of RusRating’s income comes from banks paying to have their credit worthiness rated.

Hainsworth, who is a CFA Chartered Analyst and president of Russia’s CFA Association, said he did not set up RusRating just to make money. A ratings agency promotes transparency in an economy, he said, adding that the Baha’i faith and ratings agencies both prize honesty. “All prosperity is based on trustworthiness. … Doing what you say you will is the basis of contract law,” Hainsworth said.

“It is very difficult to be transparent in this environment,” he added. “That’s really one of the things that attracts me to this work. It gives us an opportunity to provide conditions in which transparency has a marked, economic, short-term value.”

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Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Longwood, FL, USA

Postby onepence » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:44 pm

Richard Hainsworth to head new Global Rating group

On 14 June 2006, at the first Caucasus Conference on “Banks and Finance” in Baku (Azerbaijan), Richard Hainsworth announced that the national rating agencies RusRating (Russia) and KzRating (Kazakhstan) will be brought together as the Global Rating group, which is aimed at the wider CIS market. Mr. Hainsworth is currently setting up two new rating agencies, AzRating (Azerbaijan) and UkrRating (Ukraine), which are expected to join the group in the near future. Global Rating is likewise headed by Mr. Hainsworth. ... 6-06-15-00

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