Name: Alina Aldambergen
Job title: Chairwoman of the Management Board, Kazakhstan Stock Exchange JSC (KASE)
1. The Job:
I am the Chairwoman of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange. In my role I am responsible for organizing the activities of the exchange, implementation of the strategy, business development, multi-stakeholder engagement with our customers, peers, regulators and government.
KASE is a multi-asset trading venue.
We have four markets right now: money market, FX spot/swaps, cash equity and bonds, derivatives. We trade different classes of securities, such as stocks, bonds, GDRs, securities of investment funds and ETFs, as well as different financial instruments – FX, repos, futures.
KASE is the major financial infrastructure institution in Kazakhstan as all liquidity is placed by financial institutions and institutional investors in the market via KASE. The National Bank of Kazakhstan is implementing some of the monetary operations via KASE by participating in the FX and money markets while all state securities are traded on KASE.
Leading an organization like KASE means always pushing forward and trying to break down the barriers to development. Much depends on our active stance: the development of the market, launching new services, making it more attractive to trade and use exchange-traded markets and, not least, to work in exchange-traded markets.
This year Kazakhstan is celebrating 30 years as an independent country. KASE itself is turning 28 this year, celebrating the exchange’s role in fostering market-led growth in a young and developing nation.
2. The Bio:
My studies and professional career started just as Kazakhstan began to transform from a planned economy to a market economy – an exciting and unique time for someone themself setting off on a career journey. I started to study applied mathematics back in 1990, and then switched to banking.
I was one of the first graduates from the President’s Bolashak student programme. This was a scholarship awarded to high-performing students, launched in 1994 to reeducate students to new knowledge of the market economy. I graduated in Kazakhstan in 1995 as an economist with specialisation in Banking, and obtained my MBA in Corporate Finance and Accounting in the U.S. in 1997.
I started to work for international banking group ABN AMRO and worked both in Kazakhstan and the U.K. Subsequently, I worked for the public sector in various positions, including the Agency on regulation and supervision of the financial market and financial organizations during the crisis years - 2008-2011. I then went on to the National managing holding company of development institutions in 2013-2016.
I became a member of the Board at the KASE in 2003, when I was working at the pension asset management company of ABN AMRO Kazakhstan. It had AUM $300 million and it was one of top four asset managers in the country. Today those pension assets have grown to more than $30 billion.
So, my career and my background reflect the development of the financial markets in Kazakhstan. I have been the Chairwoman of KASE for 5 years.
I have a lot of interests, but not a particular one. I enjoy chess, dancing, yoga. I like reading and learning new skills. My interests also include politics, economics and psychology.
3. What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2020?
In 2018 we signed a strategic cooperation agreement with MOEX and agreed to buy new trading systems developed by MOEX. This was a well thought-through decision as we have similar markets. We needed to upgrade our trading systems and have CCP functionality built into it. Therefore, for the past 3 years we have been working hard on these large projects to switch to 3 new trading systems for our securities, FX and derivatives markets.
In 2020, despite working either from distance or in the office, we made it and launched two systems – one in securities markets including money market (switched to T+2, and launched the CCP), and switched the FX market to the new trading systems. This kept us busy.
We also launched new transformation division for business process automation and development of a new back-office system. Last year we agreed the exchange’s policy in sustainable development.
Of course, the well-being of my team was particularly important in 2020.
I was busy organising extra precautions, ensuring safety of working in the office and adapting to the new working regime. There were sad moments in our society but we kept our spirits high and stayed together. We took a lot of precautions and are maintaining them still. Everyone is tired of that already, but we manage it well.
4. What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success?
I am inspired by leaders who make change to the society or business. I am inspired by their dedication, vision, novelty and leadership. One of the persons I admire is Elon Musk. There are a lot of people that you can appreciate for their achievements and their contribution to the progress of the society.
I read a lot of interviews by women. I think if behind every successful man is a woman, then behind every successful woman is her mother. My mother was always behind me, achieving new heights, overcoming new challenges and encouraging me to do the same. My father held senior management positions. He was always involved in managing people as I also have done since school. I admire my parents and their attitude to life.
I always take an active approach to everything and believe that everything is possible with the right attitude.
I am currently a member of YPO in Kazakhstan, member of the Council at the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan, member of the International Advisory Board at the Graduate School of Business School of Nazarbayev University.
I always join organisations that allow me to contribute to the development of the society, business, community. I strongly believe in Kazakhstan and KASE.
5. What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions?
I grew up in the Soviet Union with my mother and farther both working and making their careers. At school and work there were equal possibilities for girls and boys to study and have a career. Thus, your willingness to achieve depended only on yourself. Therefore, as a woman I never encountered situations where I was restricted or prohibited from doing anything. In our society it is possible and the Government should keep making it possible. That is why Kazakhstan holds 72nd place in the world according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 by the WEF.
Sometimes women do encounter challenges. These are often linked to managing the family, taking care of children and parents. I think we should do more to enable them to do that while simultaneously forging ahead with their career. We should have professional services and care institutions and pay more attention to the health of the nation. But as a country we are on the right track.
Being one of the women-leaders I regularly give lectures and participate in conferences on leadership, diversity, gender equality. I think we should appreciate women’s contribution to the development of society. We should help companies achieve more balanced decisions with more women participating on companies' boards.
My advice to all women is the following: in all cases remember that life is short, don’t waste time hesitating, opportunities are not limited, overcome the obstacles and keep moving forward.
Good luck and enjoy your life to the full!