Russian pension funds to invest $1 billion in venture funds and innovative companies
In a confirmation of the country’s commitment to developing new technologies, the Russian government announced that a fraction of the total assets of the country’s pension savings funds will be invested in the shares of venture capital funds, as well as in securities and the financial instruments of high-tech companies.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Central Bank, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance to prepare a proposal by November 1 for the investment of pension savings in high-tech and venture capital projects.
According to a report by an expert committee answerable to the government, as of 2013 the pension system held around 3.3 trillion rubles (around $100 billion). This means that about $1 billion in pension funds will be invested in innovations and venture companies. This amount is comparable to the entire volume of investments in the Russian venture capital market in 2013.
The report, however, notes the high risks of such investments and the lack of high-quality innovative projects.
Among the main government initiatives over the past few years to support innovation in the country have been the creation of state-owned fund of funds RVC, international tech hub Skolkovo, and nanotechnology investment corporation Rusnano. The authorities have also launched FRII (IIDF), a $200 million seed-stage fund for Internet startups.