Erasing borders: Astana International Financial Center
19.04.2019 16:30

According to latest reports, the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) is expected to become a regional hub of the One Belt, One Road initiative that would cover about 60 countries of the world where more than 4 billion people live and whose GDP amounts to about $2 trillion.

Kazakhstan's geographic and socio-economic aspects make a solid base for comprehensive integration into global markets. Moreover, the country climbed from 82nd to 36th position in the World Bank's rating of the ease of doing business. Today, thanks to the creation of the AIFC, Kazakhstan is playing a strategic role of restoring a trade corridor that connects the East and the West.

The financial center was launched in Kazakhstan's capital on July 5. It is worth noting that institutional patterns of international financial exchanges were used for its development. For example, internal strategy is to a large extent rely on the experience of the Dubai International Financial Center.

The new vertically integrated exchange offers a full business cycle that ensures trades, settlement and clearing operations, registration of data transfer and IT services. The AIFC uses four currencies, Kazakh tenge, USA dollar, Russian ruble and Chinese yuan, for the convenience of investors.

As for other advantages of the exchange, the AIFC bodies, participants and employees are relieved until 2026 of tax payments which include the corporate tax on incomes from financial and supplementary services and the individual income tax. A special center, the AIFC Expat Center, that ensures favorable conditions for the entry and localization of investors was set up at the center.

Moreover, this exchange, just as the world's leading exchanges, has its own legislation developed by the Legal Consultative Council that brought together representatives of the most famous global legal companies, including Baker McKenzie, Norton, Rose Fulbright, White&Case and others. The engagement of highest-class lawyers from global brands allowed to ensure the pluralism of opinions and the introduction of best legal practices. A specially founded commercial court headed by Lord Harry Kenneth Woolf, former lord chief justice of England and Wales, became an additional security guarantee of AIFC participants.

The development of new financial technologies has become one of the priorities of the AIFC activity. The main task is to form the most favorable conditions for the creation and development of FinTech projects, including modern infrastructure, flexible regulation and the engagement of strategic investors. Moreover, the center is forming a unified ground where any green economy project could find an investor and get support.

Let's have a look at the AIFC main strategic partners that include the Shanghai Stock Exchange, with which there is a shareholder agreement, and NASDAQ, which provided the NASDAQ Matching Engine technical platform. An agreement on intention to invest in Kazakhstan's infrastructure projects was singed with the Silk Road Fund during the Astana Finance Days.

As an important element of the national economic and institutional reform, the Astana International Financial Center, which was created at the initiative of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, is playing a key role in boosting economic growth and the further region's integration into the global financial system.