AIFC focuses on enhancing growth through its main strategic pillars such as capital markets, asset management, financial technology, Islamic finance and private banking, while paying a great deal of attention to green finance.
With rapid economic growth and a highly attractive pipeline of IPOs/SPOs in Central Asia and the EAEU, there is an increasing need for a liquid and efficient regional stock market. The development of the AIFC capital market is a major strategic direction. Its successful implementation is crucial for the AIFC.
The primary objective is to create a significant alternative to the banking system, and develop a liquid and well-balanced capital market with a broad range of financial instruments. The newly-founded Astana International Exchange will become a regional platform for participants, attracting greater financial inflows and connecting the world’s leading market players in the East and West via its main strategic AIX partners – the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
The AIX is a high-tech, innovative and efficient platform that provides services based on international standards, increasing trading volume and revenue, as well as long-term expansion into new asset classes and revenue diversification.
The development of an asset management market is integral to any successful financial centre, and the AIFC will leverage its geographic position to provide international investors with access to markets in Central Asia. Furthermore, the AIFC opens up opportunities for global and local private equity, as well as hedge fund and real estate fund managers to add diversity to their portfolios. Thus, localising leading international asset management companies through the efficient use of Sovereign Funds, along with strengthening internal expertise in the field, can establish Astana as the main regional centre for asset management and help boost the competitiveness of the Kazakhstani economy in the global market outlook.
With its modern infrastructure, flexible regulations, easy communication environment and legal transparency, the AIFC is well positioned to attract tech companies and become a regional FinTech hub with flexible regulation. The introduction and development of the relatively-new FinTech aspect allows reducing the cost of traditional financial services, facilitate an expanded integration with global markets and accelerate the development of the local financial system. The AIFC FinTech hub aims to attract start‐ups from all over the world, bringing entrepreneurs together with international investors, industry experts, and a great talent pool, which will in turn help to develop a more mature, diverse and knowledgeable investment market in Kazakhstan with a pipeline of opportunities for venture capital funds and financial institutions.
Kazakhstan serves as an attractive platform for the amplification of Islamic finance, as well as a gateway to the region. The role of Islamic finance at AIFC is becoming one of the essential elements of global financial architecture. With that in mind, the AIFC has worked closely with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to create a favourable legal and regulatory environment, as well as an industry master plan, together with developing products and tools that will attract Islamic banking, non-banking financial services and capital from the Central Asia, the Middle East and the South East Asia. To promote AIFC as a regional hub for Islamic finance, the Advisory Council on Islamic Finance (ACIF) has been established, while the Central Shari’ah Advisory Board will be launched this year. AIFC is actively advising the Ministry of Finance on the issuance of a debut sovereign sukuk in the region in 2018, which will become an important step for Kazakhstan in promoting and developing the Islamic finance industry.
AIFC supports the development of the Private Banking sector in conjunction with the development of the asset management market and expertise. With its dynamic and sound course of actions, AIFC is opening investment opportunities for High -Net-Worth Individuals in the region, and invites international Private Banking firms and External Asset Managers to set up their offices within the Centre. With private wealth management globally experiencing a shift towards Asia, and as emerging economies are drawing more investments and fueling further wealth generation, AIFC aims at positioning Astana as an important regional wealth management hub in Central Asia for a select customer base from the CIS/EAEU and other parts of Asia by creating a new private banking platform. AIFC provides a supportive and sound regulatory framework similar to the world’s leading financial jurisdictions, that is leveraged on the positive global experience of the world’s leading wealth management centres such as Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and the UAE. The extensive range of products and services (investment & portfolio advisory, tax & wealth planning, asset allocation) are offered via models and structures such as representatives, advisory, branches and the development of booking and custody for the local players in line with the best global modern wealth management practices.
AIFC facilitates the development of green finance by providing the necessary conditions and infrastructure, catalysing the transition to a green economy and sustainable development. AIFC has developed a legislative base for green finance, including the Concept of the Green Financial System for Kazakhstan and the AIFC Strategy on leadership in green finance until 2025, which reflects the main institutional development stages of green finance at AIFC. AIFC is currently collaborating with institutions to ensure the issuance of the first green bonds at the AIFC Exchange Trading Platform. The funds attracted by municipal green bonds are to be used to finance city needs,including the provision of clean water, waste management, energy saving, etc. Furthermore, AIFC is one of the founders of the international network Financial Centres for Sustainability, which is a global platform for exchanging experience and taking common action to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance.