In all aspects of his work, Bulat Utemuratov is committed to protecting the environment.
Verny Capital, in which he is the primary investor, operates from the only building in Kazakhstan to have received an international Gold category LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certificate, which honors the firm’s efforts to save water and electricity.
Verny Capital in turn encourages its portfolio companies to make a positive environmental impact:
RG Gold is also actively engaged in its local communities. In 2022, the company allocated 11 educational grants worth KZT 4,909,100 to Akmola Oblast and Astana to support talented young people.
ForteBank, together with the KTF, has been a long-term supporter of tennis in Kazakhstan. In 2022, ForteBank sponsored domestic and international tournaments such as the Forte60, the President’s Cup Forte Series, and the Astana Open ATP 500. In addition, the bank participates in the ‘Aid Card’ project, a joint initiative between the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation and the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan, to provide financial support to victims of natural and man-made disasters.
Social projects are a crucial part of Bulat Utemuratov’s business initiatives, and his companies actively support local communities in Kazakhstan.
Narxoz University has a strong social focus and broadening access to education in Kazakhstan is one of its core aims. To this end, the university offers discounted tuition fees to orphans and people with disabilities, as well as educational grants and scholarships for talented students.
In partnership with Narxoz University, The Ritz-Carlton Astana and Rixos Borovoe launched a hotel business program offering students the opportunity to gain experience in international hotel management. With the hotels’ employees serving as mentors and coaches, the Ritz-Carlton Astana and Rixos Borovoe hosted 120 students, with some subsequently taking up permanent job offers.
Beeline Kazakhstan has implemented several educational projects and initiatives to support people with disabilities. Since 2014, its “Endless Opportunities” project has provided free internet to 20 social institutions for children and adults with disabilities, and it recently hosted a ‘hackathon’ to develop ideas and IT solutions to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Beeline Kyrgyzstan supports digital educational projects aimed at developing young people. The company launched a second IT training course, which gave 75 young people from all regions of Kyrgyzstan the opportunity to study for free.
Mr Utemuratov is committed to the highest standards of governance throughout his operations. He demands the same level of transparency and accountability from all the companies in which he invests, believing this is central to maintaining public trust in business and maintaining a license to operate.
Beeline telecommunications businesses in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have supervisory Boards and an executive body, with internal committees to ensure decisions are taken and executed in a transparent manner. These are governed by the company’s Charter, Regulations on the Supervisory Board, and Code of Conduct.
Similarly, ForteBank has developed a detailed and sophisticated Corporate Governance Code, Code of Conduct and Charter, which are publicly available, along with regulations for the Board of Directors. These provide a detailed framework to ensure compliance with the company’s principles. The bank is also a member of external bodies, including the Kazakhstan Deposit Guarantee Fund, the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan and Swift.
Operating in accordance with leading global standards, several of Verny Capital’s real estate companies have also adopted their international partner’s governance codes. For example, Verny Capital’s Ritz-Carlton hotels operate in accordance with Marriott International’s standards and procedures, while Rixos Borovoe adheres to Accor’s Code of Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, as well as its Planet 21 Program.
Haileybury Schools and Narxoz University also have detailed corporate governance codes on areas including competency of the Board of Directors and their election, role, powers and responsibilities.
All Mr Utemuratov’s companies promote gender equality and support professional development of their staff. This is reflected in the number of women in senior roles across the portfolio companies: at Beeline Kazakhstan, 33% of the company’s top managers are women and at ForteBank, two out of five board members are women, and women make up over 65% of the total employees of the bank.