Posted on November 22, 2017

CFA Society Doha, the local association of CFA Institute investment management professionals, hosted the 2017 Doha Investment Forum alongside Qatar Stock Exchange and Qatar Development Bank. The forum, held earlier this week, brought together policymakers, industry experts and key market participants from across Qatar.

The forum was a platform to discuss the most recent thinking with regard to how stock exchanges contribute to a country’s growth, and the role which small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can enable entrepreneurial companies to be the driving force of global economies. Over 100 investment management professionals were given the opportunity to discuss global trends and each organisation’s contributions to the topic. 

Key speakers at the event included:

  • Paul Smith, CFA, President and CEO, CFA Institute
  • Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan (CFA) Acting Executive Director of Investments, Qatar Development Bank
  • Rashid Bin Ali Al Mansoori, CEO and Board Member, Qatar Stock Exchange

The Forum was opened by Paul Smith, CFA, President and CEO of CFA Institute, he commented: “Qatar has made great strides in building an efficient and transparent financial sector. Your goals - such as enhancing investor protection through standards and codes of conduct and building talent through professional developments - are ambitious and aligned with the mission of CFA Institute.

The fundamental purpose of capital markets and investment management is to contribute to society through increases in society wealth and well-being. As leaders of the investment profession in Qatar, it is critically important that our members, CFA societies, and CFA Institute, are all aligned on our shared mission to advance ethics, to raise professional standards of practice, and market integrity—and through these activities to contribute value to society. With 106 CFA charterholders in Qatar and 210 candidates registered for the CFA exams, there is potential to double the number of charterholders here and develop the professionalism of your market.”

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The forum provided insights and opportunities for investment professionals to discuss the role of the local capital markets, latest developments, where to source new funding for business, and new investment opportunities. Highlights from the conference include:

  1. All speakers were in agreement that self-sufficiency of Qatar’s economy is pivotal and the entrepreneurial drive that underpins SMEs in Qatar is more important than ever.
  2. As the backbone of any sustainable, diverse economy, SMEs form a central component of the various growth strategies deployed by governments across the region. According to the World Bank, SMEs provide at least 45% of the jobs and 33% of the GDP in emerging economies alone, but whilst important contributors SMEs continue to face significant financing constraints. 
  3. The role of the stock exchange as a faciliator for growth through:
  • Enabling companies with expansion plans to access the capital they need to grow their businesses;
  • Providing investors with access to a range of investment opportunities, which remains central to the efficient mobilisation of savings;
  • Providing a framework which ensures the existence of fair, transparent and orderly capital markets, which in turn encourages these savings to target investment returns, generating more funds to finance growth and expansion.

Rashid Bin Ali Al Mansoori, CEO, Qatar Stock Exchange, commented: "We are very aware that a customised market for SMEs has been a successful model around the world; our own QE Venture Market has learnt the lessons and is designed with initial and ongoing compliance requirements that lower the normal barriers to SME listing. "Whilst the Rules have been available for some time it has always been the case that the Exchange, along with market professionals such as those in the audience tonight, would have to invest significant time and resources in targeting and preparing a small number of outstanding SMEs who will represent the pioneers of our market when it is launched."

QDB, whose mission is to improve economic development by providing entrepreneurs and SMEs with a wide range of financial and advisory products, was represented by Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan (CFA) Acting Executive Director of Investments, Qatar Development Bank, who noted: "QDB aims to support a successful transition towards the country’s overall economic diversification. SME Listing Advisory Services, a joint initiative between QSE and QDB to open doors and assist potential SMEs to list their businesses in the Qatar Exchange Venture Market (QEVM), is one such support designed to drive forward SMEs growth and success." Furthermore, he added that “A subsidy program is available to any Qatari shareholding company that meets QEVM’s minimum listing and regulatory requirements and is committed to list itself on the QEVM.”

Qatar Development Bank, whose mission is to improve economic development by providing entrepreneurs and SMEs with a wide range of financial and advisory products, was represented by Acting Executive Director of Investments, Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan, CFA. He commented: The Forum concluded with the CFA Society Doha Charter Award ceremony, at which 21 new investment management professionals were awarded their designations as Chartered Financial Analysts. CFA Society Doha the local chapter of CFA Institute, also recognised its volunteers who contributed to the development of the investment profession in Qatar.