The Astana Finance Days held at the AIFC
On June 7, the Astana International Financial Centre (hereinafter – AIFC) hosted the “Astana Finance Days: At the Forefront of Finance” conference. This event, which has become an annual tradition for over 5 years, serves as the primary platform for networking and discussing current issues, trends, and opportunities in Kazakhstan’s financial industry.
The 28 panel sessions, covering five thematic areas: “AIFC Products,” “Jurisdiction and Regulation,” “Innovation and Industry Potential,” “Green Growth,” and “Capital Markets,” were attended by 143 foreign and Kazakhstani speakers.
Renat Bekturov, the AIFC Governor, opened the conference with a welcome speech during the business breakfast on “Capital Mobility and Financial Connectivity.” In his speech, he outlined three strategic pillars that will guide the AIFC’s direction in the forthcoming years: facilitating foreign direct investment inflows, developing a dynamic securities market, and strengthening the position of AIFC abroad as a regional financial hub.
During the conference, Astana International Exchange (AIX) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) signed an agreement aimed at enhancing cooperation and expand bilateral relations. The exchanges agreed to establish basis for accessing investors to mutual stock markets via Tabadul platform developed by the ADX.
Assel Mukazhanova, Acting Chief Executive Officer, AIX, said:
“One of the strategic goals of the AIX is to facilitate the incorporation of international expertise and the international stock market culture to Kazakhstan and bring offshore investors to the market. In turn, it shall also open up new opportunities for the Kazakhstani investors and broaden the range of instruments available to the market participants: retail investors will be able to trade directly through the licensed brokerage houses in both markets. The trading network between ADX and AIX fits well with the AIX targets and shall add to expanding the boundaries between the KZ and GCC markets.”
A distinguished ceremony took place to present the prestigious international Green Finance Awards 2023. The winners, who made remarkable contributions to the advancement of the sustainable finance market in the region encompassing Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Mongolia during 2021-2022, were recognised as follows:
- “Best Green Investment Bank” – JSC Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan, for its unwavering dedication to environmental values and successful implementation of sustainability principles.
- “Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Green Finance” – Dos Kredobank JSC, for demonstrating a significant and impactful role in the advancement of green finance.
- “Best Green Finance Consulting” – Ernst & Young Advisory Services LLP, for their support in enabling companies to effectively achieve their sustainability objectives.
- “Largest Sovereign Green Bond” – Hungary, for issuing the largest volume of sovereign green bonds.
- “Largest Non-Financial Corporate Green Bond” – Kazakhstan Electric Grid Operating Company KEGOC JSC, for their significant green bond issuance.
Renat Bekturov, AIFC Governor, stated, “We are pleased to honor the winners of the Green Finance Awards, which we have held for the third time since 2019. The awards have become a prestigious mark of recognition for outstanding contribution to the development of ESG finance in the region, as demonstrated by the level of applicants. We established the Green Finance Awards with the aim of highlighting individuals and companies that have made remarkable advancements in promoting sustainable finance within their respective countries and regions. This includes notable accomplishments such as major green bond issuances and exemplary green banking practices. The primary objective of the award is to enhance the visibility of the winning organisations and present them as role models for market participants who encounter similar challenges in combating climate change and fostering a more sustainable future”.
Commenting on receiving the award, Murat Koshenov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Halyk Bank, stated: “We are thankful for the acknowledgment of our efforts in bolstering the green economy. The Bank remains dedicated to implementing sustainable development principles, and we are pleased that our endeavors have garnered high praise from international experts”.
During the ceremony, Halyk made an exciting announcement regarding the forthcoming launch of an online green car loan process, featuring special terms for the purchase of electric vehicles, including a 1% discount on the standard car loan rate. The “green” car loan will be available for a duration of 6 to 84 months, catering to both new and used vehicles. Moreover, the Bank’s commitment to social initiatives is intricately linked to the cause of environmental conservation.
During the conference, the first trades of the ITS international trading platform were launched within the AIFC jurisdiction. This is the first company to obtain an MTF (Multilateral Trading Facility) license from the Astana Financial Services Authority, enabling them to operate a multilateral trading floor. With its assistance, investors from Kazakhstan will have access to thousands of investment products from the global financial market during the operating hours of Asian, European, and American stock exchanges. It is worth noting that MTF digital platforms, capable of facilitating trading with numerous instruments worldwide, have been successfully operating in the European Union for several years.
“We warmly welcome the launch of the ITS international trading platform within the jurisdiction of AIFC,” stated Renat Bekturov, the Governor of Astana International Financial Centre, during the opening ceremony. “The first global pre-market among trading platforms has emerged within the jurisdiction of AIFC, represented by the ITS platform. ITS activities will play a significant role in fostering the growth of retail investing in Kazakhstan, while also serving as a crucial element in the successful development of AIFC’s overall ecosystem and the country’s financial market.”
Over 3,000 participants from 70 countries actively participated in the conference, including government officials, financial industry experts, investors, business owners, heads of international banks, representatives from foreign stock markets, and executives from major national companies.
The conference was supported by esteemed gold and silver sponsors including Visa, ITS, Freedom Holding Corp, ERG, CICC, and MYD Production.
Kristina Dorosh, Vice President and Regional Manager for Central Asia and Azerbaijan at Visa, emphasized, “Kazakhstan has emerged as a global leader in financial technologies, not only within Central Asia but worldwide. This achievement has been made possible through open dialogue and collaborative efforts among all stakeholders. We are delighted that the Astana Finance Days Conference, organised by AIFC with the support of Visa, has brought together representatives from government authorities, financial industry experts, investors, and entrepreneurs onto a single platform. I am confident that this platform, year after year, contributes to the implementation of innovative solutions and facilitates the country’s transition towards a cashless economy.”
The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is an independent jurisdiction with a favourable legal and regulatory environment and a developed infrastructure for starting and doing business, attracting investment, creating jobs and developing Kazakhstan’s economy.
AIFC Media Relations Team
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