London Stock Exchange agrees to help Astana establish international financial hub

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is to help its Kazakh counterpart KASE  to increase listing opportunities for Kazakh companies in London and Astana. An MoU to this effect was signed last week in London by Nikhil Rathi and Yeszhan Birtanov, CEOs of the LSEG and KASE respectively, is the first of its kind and comes as Kazakhstan starts ramping up plans to establish Astana as  international financial hub in three years’ time.
Under the terms of the MoU, the two exchanges will work together to promote dual listings of Kazakh companies in the two capital cities, and to facilitate access to capital for Kazakh companies through the LSE. Both exchanges will also explore the development of new products and support investor education and awareness programmes.
“The MoU ……heralds an exciting new chapter for Kazakhstan’s capital markets and we are delighted to have been chosen to support KASE in its expansion plans,” Rathi said. “With 17 Kazakh companies already listed in London, the agreement holds huge potential for future business opportunities between our two exchanges and reinforces London’s position as the leading market place for global business. It also reflects LSE’s commitment to an open access approach supporting KASE, as it delivers on its ambitions to become a major regional financial centre.”
The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is expected to be fully operational by 2018 after Kazakhstan’s capital hosts EXPO 2017, and the two exchanges will also work together to encourage international investment communities discover new opportunities for investment in the Eurasian region, Birtanov added.
Announcing details of the AIFC at the Astana Economic Forum in May, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that its core strengths would be its adherence to the principles of English law, its preferential tax regime and its independent financial judiciary. “We are confident that the AIFC will be the core of the financial infrastructure in Kazakhstan, and in the future [will turn into] a financial hub of the whole Central Asian region,”  he said.
Since 2005, Kazakh companies have raised $5.9bn on London’s markets. The last Kazakh company to list in London was the mobile telecom service provider KCELL, which raised  $525m in December 2012.