AIFC Continues Work Through Lockdown, Simplifies Access to Financing For Companies

NUR-SULTAN – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) plans to develop several legislative initiatives including green financing instruments, venture financing, and providing medium-sized companies with the opportunity to raise capital on the AIFC exchange in the segment of the regional stock market, reported Acting General Director of the AIFC Financial Services Authority Mukhtar Bubeyev in an interview for PrimeMinister.kz.

Mukhtar Bubeyev

Bubeyev noted that the AIFC jurisdiction and the financial markets showed a positive trend since the beginning of the year. AIFC banking sector assets reached $365 million, capital markets also showed growth, and equity capital raised through the AIFC exchange amounted to $291 million.

This year, the AIFC registered 122 new companies and 70 companies of these were registered during the lockdown. “We are pleased that the business is making decisions on the establishment of the AIFC, despite the pandemic,” said Bubeyev. 

On June 7th, the Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) registered the 500th company in the jurisdiction of the AIFC. In addition, 22 companies work in the Committee’s fintech laboratories, developing innovative financial services in cash and banking, digital assets, robo consulting, Islamic finance, crowdfunding and factoring.

The AFSA, a regulator of financial services of the AIFC, has simplified licensing and developed guidance to assist companies intending to conduct activities to respond to the challenges caused by the pandemic outbreak. 

“The financial services market is operating in a new, more complex environment, uncertainty has grown, risks are rising and work models are being rebuilt. In our opinion, the consequences of the pandemic significantly reduced the business activity of the real sector and the attractiveness of the financial markets of developing countries,” he said. 

The AFSA is now focused on its regulatory tasks to promote financial stability, ensure market integrity, protect consumers and support financial markets in the AIFC.

The financial center’s employees work remotely and have all the necessary digital solutions for timely and effective consideration of requests from AIFC participants and consumers of financial services and holding meetings with them, noted Bubeyev. 

The lockdown did not affect the timing of processing applications for registration and issuing licenses. For registration, companies need five working days, while the issuance of licenses is on average 15 working days for support service providers and 50 working days for financial companies.

“We understand that the current business environment has changed significantly and would like to allow the AIFC to focus on its current activities and solving operational problems. In this regard, the financial regulator acts as a key link with its mechanisms of checks and balances. The essence of our common approach is the constant development of the regulatory environment, taking into account business-friendly principles and risk-based supervision,” he said. 

Bubeyev also spoke about measures to support the development of financial markets. “We continue to work closely with the financial community to assess the economic impact of the pandemic on the activities of financial companies. Based on the feedback we receive, we regularly consider the possibility of providing regulated companies with support measures in a number of areas to allow them to focus on their priorities in this difficult period for economic activity,” he added. 

Earlier, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted the AIFC plays a strategic role in the economic recovery efforts. He set the task to develop a new regulatory framework to integrate and develop the domestic securities market. 

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