The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) with the support of the Kazakh Embassy in Singapore hosted “AIFC Connect: Singapore 2023” event, where international investors and financial experts gathered to exchange their perspectives on the business prospects in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. This exclusive gathering served as a platform to delve into the financial landscape of Kazakhstan, its capital markets and asset management sector.
At the outset of the even, His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Singapore, Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand, Askar Kuttykadam, delivered a keynote address: “Over the years, Kazakhstan and Singapore built strong and enduring partnership anchored on regular political dialogue, robust economic and people-to-people ties. We regard Singapore as our leading political and economic partner in Southeast Asia. In its turn, Kazakhstan is determined to consolidate its role as Singapore’s partner of choice in Central Asia. The historic state visit by the 8th President of Singapore, Her Excellency Mdm. Halimah Yacob to Kazakhstan in May this year heralded a new chapter in our partnership. Its main deliverable was the reinforced mutual commitment to advancing bilateral relations in various areas.”
Distinguished panelists shared their expertise on a diverse range of topics. Among the speakers of the event were Tek Khoan Ong (Co-Chief Executive Officer at Templeton Asset Management), Alexis Ng (Country Head, Singapore and Head of Asia Pacific ex Japan at Ashmore), James Tan (Managing Partner at Quest Ventures) with the moderator Rainer Michael Preiss (Partner & Portfolio Strategist at DAS Family Office).
Renat Bekturov, the Governor of AIFC, highlighted the main figures and perspectives on the bilateral relations between the countries: “The key to our multifaceted relationship is economic cooperation, as Kazakhstan and Singapore are the two largest trading and investment partners in Central Asia and ASEAN. The total investment by Singapore in Kazakhstan has exceeded USD 1.35 billion. 90 joint KZ-Singapore ventures operate in Kazakhstan, covering financial and insurance activities, manufacturing, mining, and other sectors. Additionally, 143 Singaporean companies operate in Kazakhstan, reflecting the breadth of their activities in wholesale and retail trade, professional, scientific and technical activities, and other industries. Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as Middle Corridor, demonstrates high transport potential for both our countries. AIFC is ready to provide its infrastructure to ensure the effective implementation of this and other transnational projects.”
The event featured two panel sessions. The first panel focused on exploring the appealing investment opportunities within Kazakhstan's capital markets, particularly with the advent of the technologically advanced Astana International Exchange, which has already garnered attention due to its fast growth.
The second panel session centered on the potential of AIFC to enhance the asset management industry in the region, as well as the prospects and challenges faced by global asset management firms seeking to enter the market.
According to Temirlan Mukhanbetzhanov, acting CEO of Astana International Financial Centre Authority: “The AIFC jurisdiction provides companies with unique advantages, including a legal framework based on the principles of English common law, an independent financial regulator, impartial dispute resolution mechanisms, flexible corporate regulations, and a favorable tax regime. AIFC welcomes financial and non-financial firms as well as professional service providers, catering to a wide range of business activities. Today 29 Singaporean participants actively grow their business within AIFC jurisdiction. The companies provide services in crypto mining and data processing, IT and software development, trade, financial services, etc.”.
In summary, the event encouraged the exchange of knowledge, improved comprehension, and reinforced the importance of establishing valuable relationships within AIFC, a financial hub that aims to attract investments and create a vibrant and liquid capital market, fostering innovation and being at the forefront of the financial industry. AIFC will keep promoting the possibilities that Kazakhstan and Central Asia can provide to investors from around the world.