Ruben Vardanyan

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"As a student at Moscow University in 1990, Vardanyan began preparing for the transition from central planning to the market economy. Within months, he became one of the first employees of Troika Dialog, which aimed to be Russia’s pioneering investment bank in fast-moving and unpredictable “Wild East” times. “It was really a unique time,” says Vardanyan. “There were no regulations, no clients, nobody knew what the securities market was. My exam was a discussion with the deputy minister of finance.”

"In 1992, when Goldman Sachs poached senior staff, he became Troika’s executive director at the age of only 23. The bank was active in the “voucher” privatisations of state enterprises and began wooing foreign investors as clients. He became an early participant in the country’s fledgling trading and deposit clearing systems. “It was the very, very beginning of everything.”

"...He created his own consultancy group, Philin, to offer managerial support for philanthropic structures for the rich and Phoenix Advisors to help them with wealth conservation and succession issues...

"That inspired him to create the annual $1.1m Aurora prize in 2016 to recognise humanitarian courage, commitment and impact. (Vardanyan contributes the majority of support for the prize fund.) This year’s winner was Kyaw Hla Aung, a lawyer and activist on behalf of the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. Last year’s laureate was Dr Tom Catena, who worked in Sudan’s Nuba mountains and in 2016 Marguerite Barankitse, who worked with orphans in Burundi..." [1]

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  1. Co-Impact Funding Partners, organizational web page, accessed May 21, 2020.