The first meeting of the Management Council of Astana International Financial Centre was held in Astana on 26 May 2016 . The meeting was presided by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan with participation of the invited members of the Council – Governor of Astana International Financial Centre, Chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Minister of National Economy and Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan. Such influential and high-profile leaders of global financial corporations as Mr. Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, Dr. Jacob Frenkel, President of the Board of Directors of JP Morgan Chase International, Mr. Steven Schwarzman, President and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, Mr. Herman Gref, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Sberbank of Russia took part as members of the Council. Representatives of international financial centers, consulting companies, Kazakh and foreign financial organizations were also invites to Council meeting.
The AIFC Management Council is a permanent collegial body of the Center which is heading by the President of Kazakhstan. The objective of the first meeting was to discuss and adopt the strategic documents of AIFC in order to enable the Center to start its operations and proceed with its development. At the meeting of the Council the participants reviewed Strategy for the development of the AIFC, structure of the Center’s bodies, issues of the newly created Astana Financial Services Authority as well as potential participants of the AIFC.
The primary objective of AIFC is to establish a leading international center of financial services in Kazakhstani accordance with world-class best practice. Realization of the project will allow attracting important additional financial resources to the economy of the country and transforming the domestic financial sector into a globally competitive sector of economy able to export its services and make a significant contribution to the growth of the national GDP.
The Constitutional Law on the AIFC has been adopted to ensure a legislative foundation of the project. Based on best practices of international financial centers, the Strategy for the development of the AIFC was prepared which determines the key strategic areas of AIFC development: capital market, asset management, private banking, Islamic financing and financial technologies.
To develop local capital market in partnership with a globally recognized stock exchange from among leading exchanges the Center is working on creation of a high-tech exchange infrastructure of the AIFC complying with best international standards that will help to concentrate domestic capital market in the AIFC.
As part of development of the asset management market, the Center has the task of implementing a set of measures aimed at localization of international external management companies. In this regard, the presence of such local “anchor” institutional funds as the National Fund and the Pension Fund is extremely important for successful attraction of international investors to the AIFC market and localization of international asset managers in its territory. Additionally, localization would allow developing local expertise in private banking at the AIFC.To develop Islamic financing, the AIFC is actively carrying out work on the creation of a favorable legal and regulatory environment for Islamic financial institutions.
In the next 5 years the sector of financial technologies will fundamentally change the global market of financial services and the AIFC shoul become the center of gravity for fintech projects on the basis its modern infrastructure, development of labs and close cooperation with large financial and technological companies operating in the financial centre.Given the process of mobilization and reorientation of the world economy towards clean technologies, the AIFC plans to introduce and develop "green" financing tools. In this regard, a high-tech platform of Astana EXPO - 2017 will provide a physical infrastructure for green technology research, while the financial component will be supported by the AIFC.
During discussions, the participants stressed that full implementation of all strategic directions is impossible without a separate legal system of AIFC that will guarantee transparency and fairness for foreign investors. The key institution of legal protection will be independent AIFC Court which will function on the principles of Common law. The Court will attract highly qualifies judges.
Work in this area is under way.
Recruitment of highly qualified foreign professionals is an important issue for the AIFC. Besides international specialists who will promote the transfer of knowledge and technologies, it is planned to actively recruit local high-profile specialists who graduated from the leading universities of the world and aspire to contribute to Kazakhstan’s development. AIFC will pay significant attention to the support of professional development and certification programs as well as research programs in respective fields. An agreement on human resources support for AIFC has been reached with “Bolashak” international program including provision of international internships for AIFC employees.
Foreign participants of the Council favorably responded to the AIFC development strategy. In particular, Dr. Jacob Frenkel, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Morgan Chase International, expressed deep support for the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan to create an international financial center in Astana. As Dr. Frenkel said, the work on the establishment and development of the AIFC is proceeds according to plan.
AIFC. In December 2015 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan NursultanNazarbayev signed the Constitutional law “On the Astana International Financial Centre” (AIFC). The aim of the AIFC is to form a leading international centre of financial services. For the first time in post-Soviet region Common law framework will be introduced in the AIFC. English shall be the official language of the AIFC.
The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in the financial services, develop local capital markets, ensuring their integration with the international capital markets, and develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.