Qatar overhauls financial centre’s strategy


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Qatar Financial Centre move to attract asset management and insurance come as questions over David Proctor detention grow; Doha exchange makes international appointments.

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has announced a change in strategy refocusing its efforts away from banking towards asset management, reinsurance and captive insurance as part of the gas-rich emirate’s bid to be a regional financial hub.

The new strategies mark the next phase of the development of the QFC Authority, the organization that oversees the centre. “The QFC Authority will continue to work closely with financial and business organizations and government departments in Qatar to encourage and ensure the building of a financial services sector and workforce in Qatar,” says Abdulrahman Ahmed Al Shaibi, delegated member of the QFC Authority.

Qatar has continued to grow strongly despite the global economic slowdown with some analysts forecasting its GDP could rise 16% this year. Its banks, however, have struggled requiring government help through a bailout last July. The plan involved the state clearing up to $4.1 billion of troubled real estate loans and investments from lenders’ balance sheets.

Qatar’s rule of law and governance have also come into question following Euromoney’s revelation that David Proctor, a British banker recruited to build a local bank, is unable to leave Qatar as the authorities there decline to grant him an exit visa. No explanation has been given for his treatment.

Meanwhile The Qatar Exchange (QE) today announced the appointment of three executive officers to its senior management team. Two of them have recent experience at leading international exchanges. Saif Khalifa al-Mansoori joins as deputy CEO, Olivier Gueris as chief operating officer and Karim Hajali as chief commercial officer.

Al-Mansoori has 10 years of experience at the Qatar Exchange. Gueris was previously head of market operations at Turquoise, a London-based exchange. He also had senior positions at the Boston Options Exchange, GL Trade and Euronext. Hajali was previously the director of equity and index derivatives Europe at NYSE Liffe, and before that held senior positions at ING, Calyon and Barclays. 

 Further reading

Qatar changes tack to boost financial centre
Financial Times, February 1 2010

The dangers of working in Qatar
The Independent, 27 January 2010

Banker's 12-month ordeal as 'hostage' of Qatari sheikh
Daily Mail, 19 ‎January 2010‎

David Proctor: The banker who can’t get out of Qatar
January 2010

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