The authority regulates firms that conduct financial services in or from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), which is a financial and business centre established by the government of Qatar and located in Doha.
"We are delighted to see that the QFC legal and regulatory framework continues to make a very significant contribution to attracting leading financial institutions to Qatar," said the authorityÆs chairman and chief executive Phillip Thorpe at a welcoming ceremony yesterday.
The various financial centres in the Middle East have been engaged in a bit of a healthy competition to attract foreign banks and institutions by ensuring solid regulatory systems. The QFC Regulatory Authority has a broad range of regulatory powers to authorise, supervise and, when necessary, discipline firms and individuals. It regulates firms using principle-based legislation of an international standard, modelled closely on that used in London and other major financial centres.
"These institutions are clearly confident in our commitment to international regulatory standards and we, in turn, acknowledge their commitment to contributing to the development of QatarÆs financial services sector," added Thorpe. "Our aim continues to be the provision of a regulatory environment that is attractive to international, regional and domestic institutions."
Qatar now has 82 financial institutions licensed under the QFC umbrella and around another 20 applications under active consideration, says Thorpe.
Given the high price of oil which is making the rich in the Middle East richer, there's a burgeoning demand for financial services that is sure to draw the attention of other private banking providers around the world. Qatar, after all, is one of the worldÆs fastest growing economies, is on course to be the worldÆs leading exporter of liquefied natural gas and has an active programme of infrastructure investment and economic diversification.