Sanctions hinder investment in Russia less than the investment climate, said Sberbank Head Herman Gref on Friday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2016).

“We see that money goes into Russia, but certainly not at the scale that we need it,” he said. “And to ensure that these funds flows in, it’s not just about sanctions.”

“Sanctions are just a small stepping stone in the foundation of the building that we have yet to build. We need to build a serious institutional system, which provides investment climate attractiveness and investor rights,” Gref told journalists.

The president’s participation

Gref said that if topic of economic growth will be at the attention of the Russian President, serious movement will take place.

“If the topic of economic growth will be at the attention of the Russian President, there will be serious movement. In our country, all serious steps begin from the First person,” Gref said.

The crisis continues

According to Gref, banking crisis in Russia continues.

“Of course, the crisis continues. If we see that this year banks exit markets with the same pace, the profitability of the banking sector continues to suffer. Surely, this is a certain stage of the crisis that we have seen in the second half of 2014 and in 2015. But if we compare this year and last, the situation is much better than in 2015 when the situation was critical,” he said.

Russia’s sovereign rating potentially higher

Gref went on to say that the sovereign rating of the Russian Federation is potentially higher, Serbank CEO Herman Gref said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2016) on Friday, adding that a biased risk assessment is in place.

“It is difficult to explain the kind of downgrade of the Russian rating by several notches at a time that we’ve seen by purely economic factors. So I think our rating has to be at a different level judging by financial and economic risks. Unfortunately, a kind of some biased assessment of the country’s risks is in place,” he said.

The hyperloop project

Sberbank’s head says the bank is not ready to invest in Hyperloop project as it is challenging to assess risks.

“As for Hyperloop we’re not ready to invest. This is not our core business. We don’t have the system of risk assessment for financing this type of innovations. I don’t understand what this startup may result in,” he said, adding that the company will “keep an eye on the project but won’t participate so far.”.

The banking sector profit 

 Gref went on to say that the Russian banking sector could receive profit of $9.17 bln – $10.69 bln this year.

“I think, the banking sector will receive 600-700 bln rubles ($9.17 bln – $10.69 bln) this year. The general situation improves, but the banking sector will need another couple of years to adapt to the new situation and new regulations,” he said.