The Growing Cash Pile in Moscow That Investors Can't Touch

Billions of dollars are accumulating in Moscow beyond the reach of its foreign owners.

Stock dividends, interest payments on bonds and anything else that Western investors didn’t sell before the war — it’s all part of the pile of money that’s been trapped by sanctions.

The accounts are remnants of what’s left of Russia’s ties to the world of international finance, and another marker of its growing isolation. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine begins a second year and anti-war demonstrations take place this week, questions remain about what will happen to the cash stuck in Moscow.

Legally, the money belongs to some of the biggest investment houses, like JPMorgan Asset Management and Schroders Plc, but privately most acknowledge there’s no hope of recovery. At least, not while Vladimir Putin remains leader.

“You have marked it to zero, you have to forget about it,” said Tim Love at GAM Investment Management, who owned Russian stocks as part of an emerging equity fund. “The market is still there, but when one talks of repatriating dividends or accessing the underlying security, it all comes down to sanctions.”