International investors faced a number of difficulties. Liquidity in Russia’s government debt (OFZ) market was low, with no possibility of trading OTC.
Trading in equities was fragmented between two main exchanges. Clearing and settlement were complicated by the lack of any functional central counterparty. With hundreds of securities depositaries and 48 different registrars, settlement finality could be a complex issue. To trade, foreign investors had to open beneficiary owner accounts. Corporate actions were all paper-based.