Podcast #25: Kiyan Zandiyeh – Uzbekistan

In today’s episode, Marcelo López spoke with Kiyan Zandiyeh, CEO and Portfolio Manager at Sturgeon Capital, a London-based investment management company founded 15 years ago and focused on frontier markets in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Kiyan explains that the company, although based in England, has teams scattered in loco in the countries in which they invest in. This enables them  to follow the local perspective and to manage, in an optimized way, the investments they make in these markets.

The main opportunity highlighted by Zandiyeh and the central theme of this episode is Uzbekistan, a country that, according to him, has essentially attractive characteristics, such as large population, favorable demography, economic diversity, large reserves of natural resources and solid foundations in terms of public finances.

Sturgeon, who has invested in Uzbekistan for 8 years, has followed the profound transformation that the country has undergone in the past 2 and a half years, since the president died and the dictatorship began to dissolve.

Kiyan tells us how the new president, until recently Prime Minister, is leading an agenda of deep reforms and restructurings that are promoting the opening of the economy, which was remarkably closed, and the country’s de-bureaucratization. He gives examples of changes in the productive sectors and the foreign exchange market that have had a profound impact on the economy.

Zandiyeh also talks about the stability of the new government and about the country’s growth drivers and compares it with neighbours and peers. It specifically addresses the banking sector and the opportunities that exist there.

Kiyan comments on the country’s capital market, liquidity, fixed income securities, private equity and the way chosen by Sturgeon to capture the identified investment opportunities.

Finally, Zandiyeh gives his point of view on how the Uzbek economy would react in the event of a crash in global markets and what the main risks of investing in the country could be.

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