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New impulse in Freedom Holding Corp. development

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Kazakhstan-based Freedom Holding Corp. announced the expansion of its board of directors. The holding is actively developing in new jurisdictions, and in this regard, has added to the Board of Directors individuals with experience in managing international companies with knowledge of global operations. They will focus on improving corporate governance and risk management systems. The new members include Kairat Kelimbetov, Andrew Gamble and Philippe Vogeler. In addition, former board member Jason Kerr has been appointed to the position of Chief Legal Officer. He will build a unified legal structure for Freedom Holding Corp. and will be responsible for regulatory compliance in the countries where the holding company operates.

Expansion of the Boards of directors illustrates company’s new approach. Recently, Timur Turlov, the founder and CEO of Freedom Holding Corp., talked about how money transfers work. Using the company’s bank as an example, he explained why this process is so complex and resource-demanding. “In our bank, we have done our best to offer clients all possible scenarios of transfers, even though this process is getting more complex each year. We implement money transfers in tenge on our own; in yuan via the Bank of China; in dirham through Mashreq Bank; in euro through Rietumu Banka and in rubles through Cifra Bank. We can also send dollars to China thanks to our system of direct corresponding relations with other banks, but this is possible solely within the suite of services available to corporate clients from Kazakhstan,” he wrote in his blog.

The Freedom Universe

Freedom Bank is currently negotiating with big U.S. financial organizations that can process dollar transactions for individual clients.

Even though this service won’t have any practical importance for the Kazakhstani bank, as these transactions are not profitable, it will contribute to the overall image of Freedom Bank. To conduct such payments, the company must hire an army of compliance specialists who have to analyze a client’s profile and his income sources to ensure a transaction doesn’t violate international law countering illegal laundering of money. Nevertheless, Freedom Bank’s executives believe that its clients should have the opportunity to send and receive money transfers in USD not only in Kazakhstan but also in other countries as well. This is why the Bank is ready for extra costs.

If you look at this from Freedom’s ecosystem of financial services, you’ll see clear logic in the move. Freedom Bank is part of a system with the key goal of expanding, not narrowing, financial boundaries for its more than five million customers. In March, the Bank launched its SuperApp where all of Freedom Holding Corp.’s services for retail customers have been gathered together. Along with banking services, the app’s users will get access to different insurance products and a brokerage account for trading on the Kazakhstani stock market and leading international exchanges, among other services. According to the latest financial report (for the period from October to December 2023), the ecosystem earned $359 million, including $140.2 million from Freedom Bank, $94.07 million from Freedom Life and Freedom Insurance and $96 million from Freedom Finance Global, an international brokerage company.

One more promising business is expected to join the aforementioned businesses within several years. In December 2023, the company successfully placed five-year maturity bonds with coupon rates of 12% (paid within the first two years). At the time, the company raised $200 million which has been allocated for the infrastructure development of Freedom Telecom, a new telecommunication operator that is expected to become a leader in the sphere of communications, broadband internet access, and cloud data storage. To achieve this goal, the company is laying fiber optic cable (up to 300,000 kilometers), installing base stations in big cities, and purchasing data processing centers.

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n youFinances without borders

Freedom Holding Corp. is expanding its presence not only in Central Asia but also in the Old and New World. In the U.S. the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Freedom Capital Markets, operates as an underwriter and advises American businesses on access to capital markets through initial public offerings and secondary offerings. The European division of the company renders services to tens of thousands of retail investors. In general, the company has more than 100 representative offices all over the world.

Freedom Holding Corp. is a publicly traded company and its shares, traded under the ticker symbol FRHC, are available on the Nasdaq for all investors. The company went public in the fall of 2019 and since then its share price has risen more than sixfold. Wall Street is valuing the Kazakhstani based company at $4.5 billion, which makes it one of the biggest financial companies in the CIS, and its founder, Timur Turlov, one of the wealthiest people in the world.

However, the financier’s attitude to his wealth is quite calm. He considers his fortune as just a tool to make the world around him a better place. “I am going to live my life in a way where I would be able to say, 'I’ve done everything possible to make my country a better place,’” he said in an interview with the Exclusive Magazine on YouTube. Apart from business, Turlov is also the president of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation and the founder of Qalam, the online project devoted to the history of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In March, the media reported that Freedom Holding Corp. would support the construction of a new educational building for SDU University, which is just one of many initiatives aimed at the sustainable development of Kazakhstan and promoting the potential of its citizens.

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