Prior to Renat taking over as Governor of the Astana International Financial Center, in January 2023 he was the CEO of the Astana International Exchange. Earlier in the year Renat came to the UK and visited the University of Leicester, and the School's new campus, Brookfield. During his visit we sat down and had a chat about his time at Leicester.
Why did you choose the University of Leicester for your degree?
The University of Leicester was named the University of the Year by The Times for 2008-09. In terms of the programme I liked the curriculum and modules offered by the Banking and Finance programme – some fundamentals, like Quantitative Methods and Econometrics to broader subjects like International Markets.
What were the highlights of your time at Leicester?
Highlights of the programme were definitely the people I met during my university years. And of course, the knowledge I gained. I really enjoyed studying in general and I particularly liked derivatives and econometrics.
Outside of my course I really enjoyed watching EPL matches with friends in the old Freemen's Common and having dinners in Opal Court as well as the walk into the city centre.
Another highlight was the paternoster (a cyclic elevator) in the Attenborough Tower, and it is really sad to know this has now been removed.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I’m Governor of the Astana International Financial Center – financial centre created in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to mobilize capital that will fuel the growth of the economy of Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region. The financial centre is a special jurisdiction that is based on English common law and has its own court and International Arbitration Centre, its own financial regulator and stock exchange. I was involved in creating and developing the centre from the very early days in 2016.
How did studying at the School support your career and employability success?
Since my undergraduate degree was in international relations, my masters study at the University of Leicester made it possible for me to make a career shift to finance and after graduation I was able to secure job in portfolio management. I also learned about Leicester's CFA certification and accreditation and following my degree I became a charter holder. All that has contributed to who I am today and what I'm trying to do in my country – to create a vibrant and liquid capital market that can mobilize capital to fuel the growth of the economy.
How do you feel your company has benefited from your degree?
Knowledge. The knowledge I acquired during my time at Leicester secured me a job in the Kazakhstan financial sector with focus on financial markets and investing. That exposure I had to global financial markets and the fundamental knowledge acquired in the University set me on my journey to elevate the Kazakh financial market to international standards and to make sure it is connected to global capital.
Are you in touch with anyone from your time at Leicester?
Yes, I’m in touch with few people, especially Monica Fu, who also works in the financial industry and given we have close ties with Shanghai Stock Exchange, I was able to meet her in 2019 in Shanghai, 10 years from graduation.