AIX appoints Chief Executive Officer, prepares for launch

ASTANA – The Astana International Exchange (AIX) administration has appointed Timothy Bennett to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Arman Tastanbekov was named Chief Legal Officer and a member of the management committee and Jean-Philippe Louvancour will serve as head of regulation and compliance.

Tim Bennett.

Tim Bennett.

Bennett was most recently the CEO of NZX, which operates New Zealand’s securities and derivatives markets and provides trade, post-trade and data services. He led NZX through a period of significant organisational and regulatory change, including replacing and upgrading its trading and clearing systems and launching 23 ETFs (exchange-traded funds) through NZX Funds Management.

During his time with NZX, the New Zealand government privatised some state-owned businesses, driven in part by the desire to develop the country’s capital markets as a key driver of economic growth. Experts believe such experience will be valuable as Kazakhstan embarks on a similar privatisation programme.

Before joining NZX, Bennett was a partner at Oliver Wyman and the Boston Consulting Group in Asia. His consulting experience includes strategy and capital market development for governments and exchanges in Asia and the Middle East and developing commodity derivatives markets, most notably iron ore.

“I am excited by the prospect of supporting the development of Kazakhstan’s capital markets through the launch of the AIX and the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) more broadly. The AIX will be developed, managed and regulated to international standards to ensure we build both domestic and global investor confidence,” he said.

“AIX has undertaken a thorough global search and selection process and is very pleased to have attracted a someone with Bennett’s deep global experience exchange and capital markets experience to lead AIX,” said AIX Chairperson and AIFC CEO Nurlan Kussainov.

Tastanbekov has broad experience as an international legal advisor, having worked for more than 17 years as an associate and partner for prominent international law firms and country-lead counsel for a FTSE 100 company.

“I’m honoured and excited to be chosen for this challenging role. I look forward to working closely with the AIX, AIFC and other stakeholders to help the AIX become a market of choice for Kazakhstan and international issuers,” he said.

Louvancour has a broad international career at financial institutions including NYSE, Euronext, Societe Generale and Kleinwort Hambros. In his hew post, he will be responsible for regulating AIX’s markets, issuers and trading members under the self-regulatory model approved by the Astana Financial Services Authority.

“I’m delighted to have been asked to lead regulation and compliance at the AIX. My first priority will be to use my skills and experience to support the successful listing of companies and on-boarding of trading firms on the AIX market. My long-term objectives are to ensure AIX becomes a place of choice for worldwide investors and the reference venue for investing in the Central Asian region,” he said.

The decision to create AIX was made during the October meeting of the AIFC Board of Directors. The exchange’s main strategic partners are the Shanghai Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, which provided a technical platform. AIX aims to enable domestic and regional development through mobilising domestic resources and foreign portfolio flows.