QFC eyeing more firms that can add value to Qatar’s economy
(MENAFN – Gulf Times) The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is eyeing more financial and professional services firms, including Islamic finance firms from Asia and South East Asia as part of its strategic move to reach out to the untapped promising markets.
The QFC, an onshore platform with a unique offering, has received overwhelming response at the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) here where it has set up a dedicated counter, and financial institutions from as far as eastern Europe showed interest in setting up their presence in Qatar.
“We are expanding our focus on South-South and this is part of our strategy to cover the untapped region,” Fahad Zainal, chief administration officer of QFC told Gulf Times in an interview here.
The QFC, which started operations in 2005, has historically seen more traction from the Americas and European markets, but now finds promising potential from South East Asia and the Asean. “There is a lot of potential in emerging markets and we are hopeful of the prospects of increased engagement,” he said when asked what the prospects are of South-South strategic focus.
Asked whether the QFC was targeting any particular number from the South region, he said it was not just about sheer numbers but what mattered was the value addition firms can bring into the Qatari economy, which is the fastest growing in the Gulf Cooperation Council region.
“We have received a lot of interest and numerous leads and people are very much interested in learning more about the QFC as a platform to capitalise on the larger regional opportunities,” Zainal said, adding that prospective institutions have to go through a process to be licensed and it is being diligently done in order to ensure added value to the economy.
In the last two days, the QFC has seen strong interests by leading financial firms not only from Malaysia and Singapore but as far from East Europe like Croatia.
Stressing that the QFC is not a tax haven; he explained that the organisation has a transparent straightforward tax regime of international standards and allows tax exemptions on certain categories.
Highlighting that many family offices had holding companies that are stationed elsewhere in the world like Cayman Islands; he said the QFC is now offering a competent platform for such offices.
The QFC Authority last year amended single family office (SFO) and special purpose company (SPC) regulations as part of broad efforts to make the product suite more appealing with simplified procedures as well as allowing more flexibility to QFC firms’ operations.
An SFO is a private company dedicated exclusively to the investment, legacy and financial needs of one wealthy family. The amendments to the SFO regulations contain a number of clarifications including, but not limited to, the definition of a single family. They also set out the requirements for establishing an SFO and which can deal in the currency of their choice and have access to Qatar’s 50 double tax treaties. Page 16