Исследовательский институт юридического менеджмента

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ЭлСМИ «Директор по правовым вопросам»
Интервью с Семёном Кучиным

Интервью с Семёном Кучиным

Наш гость — успешный предприниматель, ранее — директор по правовым вопросам международной инвестиционной группы.

Семен Кучин (выпускник юридического факультета МГУ им. М.В. Ломоносова, магистратуры МГИМО (У)) – начистоту о вехах профессионального пути от юриста в сфере строительства и недвижимости к владению и управлению собственной девелоперской компанией, о неопределенности статуса fee-девелопера по российскому праву, специфике контрактной модели девелопмента недвижимости, а также о риск-менеджменте в альпинизме и инвестиционных проектах.

«… а little problem there is that I’m fond of law, because I’m a former lawyer and it’s still my focus in work for the company »

— Dear friends, we are glad to introduce today’s guest, Semen Kuchin, the CEO of the Kometa Project Management.

— Good afternoon, Simeon!

— Hello, Zhenya!

— Could you please tell us a few words about your professional experience in the field of construction and real estate development? Why did you choose this sphere?

— So, our existing field of expertise is residential, so we do both redevelopment of industrial areas and green field development. Mainly we are working on a fee-development basis with our clients who are actually financial investors or landlords who don’t have their own expertise in the development process. And we can support the full range of a cycle which needs to be done within the development process from land acquisition to the exit stage of the project.

— Yeah, sounds really impressive. And why did you leave jurisprudence for business? What made you do this?

— It’s a really interesting question, but in fact, before I started running our company I had been involved in a real estate business for many years as a lawyer.

— Yeah.

— So, within all this time of my legal practice I was involved in many business issues and I had to be in contact with a lot of divisions of our companies. And finally I started to be involved more in business issues. And, you know, at one moment I just came to the conclusion that the main idea of any business is to get profit.

— A wonderful conclusion!

— Yeah, getting this knowledge you can start to be more of a businessman, not a real estate lawyer. And I just decided to switch to more business functions rather than legal stuff, and finally I became just a guy who was mainly involved in the business management, purely legal stuff there.

— All right. And how did you get interested in fee-development? Could you please expand on the notion of fee-development? What kind of functions does a fee-developer perform?

— So, mainly fee-development is just a question of who invests money into the project. We have two types, let’s say, of the development process itself, the investor of the project can be a developer themselves or it can be another person like a professional finance investor. And of course, a finance investor or sometimes landlord doesn’t have their own development expertise. Nowadays you can face a lot of issues within the development process. You should get to know a huge amount of details within the process, and of course it’s not so difficult to get this process started but you’ll have a lot of mistakes which lead you to losses finally.

— So, as I told you before, we have a pretty wide range of milestones in each project and you should cover and support land acquisition and you should originate the project: what should be constructed exactly and how it should be sold, mainly you should support and manage the construction process, sales process and mainly all back office stuff like accounting, finance, bank relations etc.

— It seems to be quite a lot of work…

— Yeah, that is why the legal structure of relations between a fee-developer and an investor is really important. You can structure these relations, let’s say, in two main ways. The first one is that you can combine a lot of contracts, for each process, for example, you can use a brokerage agreement for land acquisition, and you can get the brokerage fee like any brokerage company…So, the second part is that you can sign a commission agreement or agent agreement for sales and etc, etc, etc. I can tell you about a great number of contracts which will support every stage of the development process. In our company we propose to the investor to sign, conclude and discuss the investment partnership agreement. This particular agreement which we know in our legislation, additionally it’s secure for investors, because this agreement should be notarized…it should get notarized with a special notary record. And of course it’s additionally checked by another person like a notary. Moreover, notary will be obliged to be involved in the process at the level of his securities that the contract will fully comply with all the legal requirements.

— Yeah, I see, it seems to be a complicated process. So, how popular is fee-development in Russia nowadays? And is it likely to develop any further?

— You know, up to now we haven’t seen the huge market for fee-development in Russia unfortunately. Mainly because, in fact, finance investors, banks became them, most of them work on the legislation which is regulating the residential construction. And all investors’ relations between a bank and a developer are covered by this special law and structured like loans. And one level of the loans, let’s say, is made on the basis of project finance, and the second one can be structured on the level of the company, on the bridge level. And in fact the developer becomes an investor because he’s fully responsible for all financial results of the project. And a fee-developer’s life is…Let’s say all the financial risks are on the investor’s part. A fee developer is more of a contractor, not a person who keeps such risks on his side.

— Does it involve a lot of legal documents to arrange this kind of relations?

— You know it’s….Yes and no. We’ve got to say that a lot of legal contracts should prepare, you know, execute themselves. And a lot of paperwork we should create and provide the bank with…

— I see…

— So that authorities finally get construction done. And of course legal expertise in the process is really important. From the very beginning of the best use analysis stage of every project or the origination of the project you should make sure that you can construct exactly what you are planning to do in your finance model. That’s why we have a really strong legal expertise in our company. But a little problem there is that I’m fond of law, because I’m a former lawyer and it’s still my focus in work for the company.

— Yeah, and how many projects have you implemented so far in this area? What does the average project involve?

— Let me give you just two numbers, that’s all, they’ll show what amount of work we have done. We launched projects with one million square metres of saleable area, totally in our project.

— Fantastic!

— With 66 bln rubles of revenue within such a project…

— Impressive!

— Thank you!

— OK, as far as I know, you are into alpinism…Could you please share your experience of mountaineering? What is it like? How did it all start?

— You know, let me say it’s like a rabbit hole…I can speak about this part of my life for hours.

— Yeah, but you can keep it short…

— And of course I might say that alpinism is like our business. You should manage your risks etc. But to be honest, I have never thought like this. In fact, it’s really a way to rid of stress, a good chance to see the whole world and it can be really a good example for your kids. I have two children, a ten-year old boy and an eight year old daughter. And I’m trying to involve them in alpinism as well.

— Successfully?

— Yeah, I think so, because this spring they joined me and we tried to ascend Elbrus together, they reached 4,000 metres

— That’s quite an achievement for such young children!

— I can’t imagine I could’ve done this by myself at such an age, like them. And you know, I’m really happy that from this age my children started to have common interests with me. I am doing a 7 summits program, this is ascending the seven highest summits in the world, so I’ve conquered Elbrus.

— An ambitious project I should say!

— Three years ago I did Elbrus the first time. I’ve done Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro and there was a small project not included into the seven summits program, Mont Blanc. Now I’m a little bit limited in possibility to travel a lot.

— Like all of us.

— Yeah, exactly! And for this reason I decided to add a snow leopard program., which is more difficult and more risky than even seven summits programme. And I am going to ascend Lenin Peak this august. Unfortunately I didn’t do it three years ago, but I hope this time I’ll be more lucky.

— So, everything lies ahead for you.

— The Construction Worker’s Day is approaching. Could you please tell us about any wishes… What would you like to wish your colleagues?

— First of all, I would like to congratulate all my colleagues on their professional holiday. And secondly add that we are at the very beginning of our long and successful path, a lot of work is to be done, but I really believe we could do everything we can to expand the environment of the residential areas in our country, and our priority is to expand the level of the comfort in the residential neighbourhood. And see this not purely like construction guys who mainly worried about bricks and how they should be put in the buildings,

— Yeah, I think that the residents will be really happy about this and grateful to you.

— But mainly we should see our environment like a product, like a place we live in, like regular people not professionals, And try to add some elements that people would like to see in their comfortable life. And this is my wish — not to think about the process like about the bricks, but how people will live in this environment.

— Like the result. Ok, thank you a lot for this engaging talk.

— Thank you for this opportunity to tell you a little bit about fee-development business and my life.

— Thanks!


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