2018: Our growth soars to even greater heights.

2018 was a year

of remarkable success for us.

We leveraged many significant partnerships with local and international stakeholders to further drive Qatar’s economic development in key industries targeted by our new strategy.

We also continued to connect with new markets - forging new partnerships, hosting events and attracting new businesses from around the world.

 
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H.E. Ali Shareef Al Emadi
Chairman & Minister of Finance

Foreword.

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has had an impressive year in 2018. By establishing a flexible and attractive business environment for companies looking to expand to Qatar and beyond, the QFC has continued to support the increasing economic diversification of our great nation.

Qatar’s economy has firmly proven once again its strength and resilience, which is reflected across the improved international rankings and ratings as a result of H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar’s wise and forward-thinking economic policies.

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Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

A word from

the Chief.

The QFC Authority’s Growth Report provides a unique opportunity to recognise and assess the accomplishments achieved in the previous year, which are too-numerous and far-reaching to list in their entirety. 


The past year’s great success was driven by the commitment, dedication and tremendous hard work of all. Because of this, the QFC was able to once again rise above challenges and excel beyond expectations.

 

I am confident that 2018 will come to be seen as the year that Qatar, and the QFC, have proven their true resiliency. 

We drive economic

development & diversification.

 

We have a vision to transform Doha into a leading global financial and commercial capital.

 

& a mission to drive economic development and diversification by providing a world-class commercial, legal, and regulatory environment.

At a glance,

Qatar National Vision 2030.

We have tirelessly worked since our inception to support and diversify Qatar’s economy in line with the objectives set out in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

 

Our platform offers businesses looking to establish a presence in Qatar and the region a host of unique benefits and incentives that remain unmatched.

Our licensed firms

benefit from.

Up to 100% foreign ownership

One-stop-shop for licensing, commercial registration, immigration and related services

Competitive tax environment with 81 double tax agreements

100% repatriation of profits with no withholding tax

Transparent, accessible and predictable operating environment based on English common law

Trade in

any currency

Simple visa and employment process

2018

in review.

 

Opportunities to not only survive, but also to thrive.

By navigating a complex geopolitical climate, there exists opportunities to not only survive, but also to thrive. The State of Qatar and the Qatar Financial Centre have undoubtedly flourished in 2018, despite all odds, and this success did not occur in a vacuum.

 

Instead, by partnering with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, locally and internationally, the QFC has taken significant steps in supporting the growth of the local economy.

Partnerships

at home, and abroad.

MoU with Aspire Zone Foundation to establish Qatar’s Sport Business District.

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MoU with MoTC to boost the development of the tech & digital industry in Qatar.

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MoU with the CRA to develop Qatar's digital & media sectors.

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MoU with B-Hive, a European collaborative innovation FinTech platform to develop the FinTech industry in Qatar.

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QFC Regulatory Authority, signing 21 MoUs with securities regulators in the European Union.

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MoU with a leading global provider of legal & business analytics, to support our firms.

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MoU with Qatar Foundation to empower entrepreneurs and support education

Keeping the

show on the road.

As part of our proactive approach to fulfilling our core mandate of attracting FDI to Qatar, we organised a number of international roadshows and events in key markets.

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Europe.

 

Madrid, Spain

Paris, France

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Asia.

Xiamen, China

Shanghai, China

We also hosted a successful Islamic finance debate with world leaders alongside the annual IMF and World Bank meetings. 

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Stronger network,

and business community.

We also continue to reaffirm our commitment to the growth of our firms and have organised a number of networking events that aim to provide opportunities for firms registered on our platform to engage with one another, and thus develop the unique business community to which they belong.

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A series of events that bring together our firms to discuss key business topics.

Fast,

Forward.

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To recognise our business community for their achievements & inspire competitiveness.

Qatar Business Awards (QBA).

A warm welcome

to our new firms.

 

A rapidly growing

business community.

2017 was a record breaking year of growth for us, and in 2018, we intensified our efforts to further attract international business to expand their operations into Qatar's rapidly growing market.

Let's break that down into numbers.

612 total

licensed firms.

Regulated

92

Non-regulated

520

2005

2017

461

2018

151

A more efficient

licensing process.

We understand that businesses expanding abroad want to operate as fast as possible; that's why we consistently strive to ensure that our set-up experience is smooth and efficient. In 2018, we reduced our average process time to 1.3 working days.

New laws

& amendments.

 

Our extensive legal framework marked several key milestones in 2018.

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ISDA netting recognition.

Following the enactment of our new Netting Regulations in 2017, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) recognised us as an effective netting regime and published a positive legal opinion to its members.

This is a significant milestone for Qatar’s financial market infrastructure and our world-class legal framework. This initiative will allow financial institutions and corporates in our business community and in the State of Qatar, to confidently manage their risk exposure through our platform.

Amendment to

our rules (UBO).

The proposed amendments to the our Rules establishing a Beneficial Ownership framework confer an obligation upon QFC entities to identify, obtain and maintain information relating to each of their Beneficial Owners.

The proposed amendments were published for public consultation in December 2018, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and the international drive towards greater transparency in the fight against money laundering and financial terrorism.

The meaning of Beneficial Owner is set out by reference to each individual QFC product, including LLCs (other than Special Companies), LLC(G)s, partnerships, trusts, foundations. There are certain exemptions to the requirements to obtain and maintain Beneficial Ownership Information, including for listed entities and government owned entities.

We continue to support the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee in respect of our mandate to support future scheduled assessments of our regime.

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Amendment to our immigration regulations.

The proposed amendments to our Immigration Regulations intend to remove the obligation of the QFC Employer to provide a multiple exit visa to their Employees which results in alignment with the amendment to the residency law in the State which allows most expat workers to leave the country without an exit visa.

Other developments.

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We have progressed the development of an internal compliance, training and testing framework incorporating updated training modules on topics including Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, and Anti-Bribery and Corruption.

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Emerging and anticipated trends from a regulatory perspective include amendments to incorporate our FinTech initiative, Islamic Finance, Aircraft Financing, Asset Management and Captive and Asset Finance frameworks.

LexisNexis Qatar Business Law Forum Awards 2018, our Chief Legal Officer, Nasser Al-Taweel, had won the General Counsel of the Year 2018.

Our Legal Department had won as a runner-up for Best Legal Department – Large Team 2018 and has also been listed on the Legal 500 GC Power Team List for 2018.

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To ensure more efficient processes for signing of documents, we have implemented an electronic signature capability in addition to the automation of our commercial contracts, resulting in greater operational efficiencies and ease of doing business.

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We issued a Policy Statement on Financial penalties and public censures, in order to promote high standards of conduct by penalising and deterring contraventions of our laws and regulations.

The Policy Statement aims to clarify the application and scope of penalties and public censures to help achieve the objectives set out in Article 5 of the QFC Law.

Maximising the potential
of our digital presence.

 

Our digital presence and brand identity gained an ever-increasing prominence in 2018, the outcome of digital campaigns that aim to not only increase awareness but also help generate leads.

The numbers

speak for themselves.

+10%

more visitors.

+19%

more page views.

The below data expands fully on the reach, effectiveness and success of our 2018 campaigns.

263k+

people

6,100

companies

visited our website a total of

382k+

visits.

700k+

page views

we also expanded our reach to

50

industries

183

countries

top countries

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We also shifted priorities on social media platforms and strategically utilised our community reach to target and hit our business objectives. The results have been phenomenal.

Follow us

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Across all

social platforms.

+600%

increase in

total impressions

+4,000%

increase in engagement

+900%

increase in total followers

Corporate social responsibility.

 

United, for good.

Our CSR and Social Investment strategy; ‘United for Good’ underscores our long-term commitment to our ethical, social, and environmental responsibilities. With special emphasis on encouraging Financial Literacy within the local community and across all age groups, we place high importance on

the following two key pillars.

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Supporting and initiating a number of activities to encourage financial literacy among the youth.

Youth 

& Education.

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Initiatives that encourage our staff and clients to give back to and support the local community.

Community

Development.

A diverse pool of expertise, working in harmony.

Qatar National Day 2018 celebrations.

 

Our board of directors.

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H.E. Ali Shareef

Al Emadi

Chairman

Minister of Finance

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Rashid Ali

Al-Mansoori

Board Member

CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange

Yousuf

Mohamed Al-Jaida

Board Member

Chief Executive Officer of QFCA

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Bob

Wigley

Board Member

Chairman of Hibu Plc

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H.E. Ali Bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari

Deputy Chairman

Minister of Commerce & Industry

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Ahmad Abdulla Jassim Al-Jamal

Board Member

Director of Financial Affairs, Ministry of Interior

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Dr Arnab

Banerji

Board Member

Chairman of Collabrium Capital

Meet the management.

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Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

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Raed Al-Emadi

Chief Commercial Officer

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Sarah

Al-Dorani

Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer

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Henk Jan Hoogendoorn

Managing Director,

Financial Sector Office

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Nasser Al-Taweel

Chief Legal Officer & Board Secretary

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Hamed Al-Saadi

Chief Financial & Tax Officer

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Sheikha Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani

Managing Director,
Business Development

Creating a sustainable, knowledge-based economy.

 

Qatar Finance

& Business Academy.

QFBA is now a national provider for customised B2B training, open-portfolio training and certification programmes for businesses, financing as well as public institutions.

Under our auspices, QFBA is a reliable business training partner for continuous professional development to help uphold and cultivate the Human Development Pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030.

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Islamic banking has proved resistant towards negative international trends as a regional investment banking entity with an international reach.

Islamic

Finance.

Orange Paper

QIPF stands to promote and develop efficiency in Public Financial Management in the MENA countries through the power of research and knowledge exchange.

Qatar Institute

for Public Finance.

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Designed for fresh graduates to enable them to build their skills in cross functional areas in the financial sector.

Kawader

programme.

Orange Paper

Programmes endorsed by world-leading professional accreditation bodies that focus on developing talent, and specialised competency.

Northumbria

University.

Orange Paper

Aims to introduce Qatari organisations to world-class customer service and sales standards and optimise performance.

Code of Excellence.

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A Training & Competency (T&C) framework programme for International banks, Islamic banks, Takaful and capital markets in Qatar.

Kafa'a

programme.

Orange Paper

An internationally recognised certification that provides business-leaders a mix of facilitated and experiential learning.

Future

CEO.

Speaker in front of a Crowd

In partnership with leading international institutions, this five-phase programme process, will help professionals address organisational challenges and achieve their business objectives through their employees.

Customised

Training.

Always refining,

always improving.

The QFBA continuously refine our programmes by filtering it through 5 major phases to secure and achieve desired results. This involves extensive research to help finalise the design phase, after which the programme proceeds to delivery, evaluation and finally a programme debrief.

Vision for

2019 & beyond.

We have a new strategy which focuses on specific markets and sectors that have great potential for future growth.

By focusing on the media, digital, sports and financial services sectors, the latter including an emphasis on Islamic Finance and Fintech, and new markets such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan and India, we can ensure the development of our platform, as well as the State of Qatar well into the future.

 

Additional Reports

 

Qatar Islamic Finance Report

Expanding Horizons

Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) 24

Qatar Financial Centre PMI by IHS Markit.

Previous Growth Reports

2017 Annual Review

2014 Annual Review

2016 Annual Review

2013 Annual Review

2015 Annual Review

Useful links