Astana: Financial Center of the «Great Steppe»

In December, 2015 the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the Constitutional Law on creation of the International Financial center “Astana” and in administrative style peculiar to him set the ambitious task: The center has to become the main financial hub and be among the leading financial centers of Asia in the shortest possible time.

A number of the international experts predicted opening and starting of the first auction at least not earlier than in 5-6 years. The government of Kazakhstan promised to realize the idea earlier and did it. So, start-up was given.

The Kazakhstan heavyweight JSC Kazatomprom became the first company which securities were put up for sale. As they say, came from trumps at once. And it is not surprising. The company is considered the world’s largest producer of natural uranium (about 20% of the world market of extraction of ore fall to its share) and interest of market players in it is very high.

49 foreign, 16 Kazakhstani companies and 2700 citizens of Kazakhstan besides Kazatomprom presented their shares at the exchange in Astana that day.

In the nearest plans Kazakhtelecom, “Air Astana”, KazMunaiGas and other national companies of Kazakhstan will place shares on the IFCA exchange. And it forms the special moment of trust for foreign investors. That is the national companies of Kazakhstan which come for the IPO on the IFCA platform will bargain within the European rules. Foreign business, thus, will receive clear and transparent conditions for investment into economy of Kazakhstan.

Not only the ideal reputation of Kazakhstan and the first place in the world ranking of Doing Business on protection of minority investors, but also the fact that authorities of a world financial system are a shareholder of IFCA such as one of the world’s largest investment banks Goldman Sachs, the Shanghai stock exchange, Fund of the Silk Way and the NASDAQ exchange which specializes in trade in stocks of the hi-tech companies will become a guarantee of reliability of these investments.  

The main advantage of IFCA and all its participants in what status they would not come to this platform is the independence of court of the existing judicial and political system. The international arbitration center at IFCA works on norms of the British law. The court of IFCA is capable to consider very difficult categories of affairs, and the party submitting a claim has three years to make it. Without going into detail of legal proceedings on the platform, it is possible to tell that IFCA is ready to provide the legal atmosphere meeting the highest international requirements and it, certainly, attracts market players.

Generally speaking, all conditions are created, the start is given and IFCA has to become the starting platform for participants of the financial market. 88 companies were already registered in jurisdiction of the Center. By 2020 according to plans this figure will be reached up to 500. IFCA has to enter in TOP-50 international financial centers in the world by this time.

It is clear, that such terms and plans can cause a lot of skepticism. Similar projects are not implemented so quickly. But Kazakhstan has, as we know, its own time scale. To build up in the steppe a new ultramodern capital with futuristic landscapes and advanced technologies in 20 years, to include the country in top-50 developed states and top-30 in the rating of Doing Businees – for Kazakhstan these tasks were easily feasible. What to tell about start of financial center …