Posted on August 02, 2015

HE Governor of Qatar Central Bank Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA), underlined that the year of 2014 was one the distinctive years in the QFMA's process, and it had many achievements and success, based on the principles and of its first strategic plan, which seeks to promote the activities and financial services, in order to achieve the aspirations of the Qatar National Vision 2030, aiming to position Qatar as a regional benchmark of financial services. 

In a speech topped the QFMA annual report, HE the authority chairman said that the top of the QFMA's achievements in 2014 was upgrading of Qatar Exchange (QE) to the status of emerging markets in two international institutions indices (the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and Standard & Poor's Index), in addition to becoming the largest weightings of financial market in the Middle East in the MSCI index. 

He noted that this upgrading is important to enhance a wide flows of foreign investments to the QE, increase the trading and growth opportunities, and enhance its international status, adding that this important achievement came after the amendments and additions to the applicable legislations made by the QFMA and with continues cooperation and coordination with both of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and Qatar Financial Center (QFC) in order to develop Qatari capital market. 

Qatar's economy assumed advanced ranks on the scale of the international and Arab classifications in 2014, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani said. For Instance, ranking Qatar's economy as the sixteenth rank at the international level and the second Arab country in term of the general index of the global competitiveness, ranking Qatar's economy as the first among Arab and the fifteenth internationally in the creativity and innovation sub-index. Qatar's economy was also ranked the first in investment of the GCC countries, according to a recent official statistics issued by the database council in the GCC in December of 2014. 

HE stressed the need to exert a lot of effort to maintain accomplished steps and successes, and added that the Qatari capital market also needs to achieve further progress and prosperity for the State of Qatar.  For his part, CEO of Qatar Financial Markets Authority Nasser Ahmad Al Shaibi said that the QFMA is proud of the important achievements accomplished in 2014 which is first step to achieve the aspirations of Qatar National Vision 2030, that seek to transform Qatari Capital Market to a regional benchmark of financial services and activities. 

He noted that these accomplishments have been achieved by the hard and fruitful work of the QFMA within its stated strategy. The QFMA worked on issuing and amending certain laws that would upgrade QE to the status of emerging market in S&P Index, as well as increasing the weightings of the market in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index to become the largest weightings of financial markets in the Middle East. In this regard, the QFMA contributed in amending foreign investment law leading to raise the non-Qatari ownership percentage, and treat the GCC citizens as Qataris. The QFMA also contributed in amending the calculation mechanism of ceiling of non-Qatari ownership in shareholding companies offered for trading in QE, to be calculated based on the total share capital and not on the free float, the CEO said. 

The QFMA also contributed in issuing Law No. (17) of 2014 to exempt non-Qatari investor's share in the profits of companies whose shares are offered for trading in the financial market. The QFMA's efforts also extended to include issuing the rules governing margin trading in the Qatari market, and regulate registrations of external auditors and financial evaluators of listed entities and entities subject to the QFMA's jurisdiction, in order to enhance transparency and disclosure levels of financial statements of the listed companies, he added.

The results of these efforts reflected positively on the QE performance that achieved the highest growth rate in the traded shares value at the international level during 2014 (January/November) at 166% according to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) statistics, in addition to achieving the highest growth rate in the market value at the level of the Middle East and Europe market according to the same statistics, the CEO said in his speech. 

He underlined that the QFMA cooperated with the other financial regulators of financial sector in the State for developing instructions and controls for the applications of the US FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) on American investors in the Qatari market, as well as the QFMA's participation in Qatar's e-Government Strategy. The QFMA has sought to develop the third edition of the 2014 annual report, to include more information and statistics about Qatar's economy and the Qatari capital market at the Arab and International levels, as well as the GCC level. 

The QFMA said in its annual report that Qatar has a prominent status on the world map as one of the richest counters in the world in terms of per capita income. Qatar's economy mainly depends on oil and gas exports, as it comes in 3rd International rank after Russia and Iran in terms of the volume of natural gas reserves. It is also classified as the largest supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world up to (25%) of the global LNG supply. 

Over a few years, Qatar has taken great strides in all areas of the economy in order to diversity its income resources, expand its productive base and develop a strong private sector. This was achieved through gaining a full and active membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the issuance of relaxed business regulations to open several sectors for foreign investors. Qatar has a good number of investment encouraging benefits that include: low electricity, water and Gas consumption charges; zero taxes on importing heavy machines, equipment, spare parts and raw materials; zero taxes on exports; zero quantitative quotas on imports; no restrictions on foreign currency exchange and overseas profit transfer; and flexible immigration and resident laws. 

Qatar Airways NY

Qatar also exerts great efforts in investing its large revenues from energy sector to build a solid foundation for the industries, and to achieve an advanced infrastructure capable to serve the national industries and respond to their needs and future challenges. Qatar has achieved the highest quality standards in performance and cost reduction on an equal basis with similar industries industrially developed countries. According to the report, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2014 estimated at QR 771.71 Billion (USD 212.01 Billion). The average annual per capita income: QR 344.866 Thousands (94.743 USD Thousands). 

During 2014, Qatar's economy got a distinct rank at the international level in many fields according to the classification of international institutions, either in terms of ease of doing business, anti-corruption and transparency levels, anti-money laundering, or in the field of economic freedom, the global competitiveness and credit ratings. Qatar's economy has a high grade of confidence and is classified within high levels of classifications of international credit rating agencies of investment grade. Qatar's economy credit is classified at (AA) with a stable outlook according to Standard & Poor's (S&P), at (Aa2) with a stable outlook according Moody's, and 87 degree rating with a stable outlook according to the Trading Economics Website. 

In global competitiveness, Qatar's economy received an advanced rank in the report of the 2014-15 World Economic Forum Global Competiveness Index, which ranked Qatar the 16th out of 144 countries with a score of 5.24 out of 7, according to the report. In the field of economic Freedom, the report said that Qatar's economy freedom is ranked the 30th freest at the international level among 178 countries covered by the classification with a score of 71.2 out of 100 according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom issued by The Heritage Foundation. 

Qatar's economy also came in the 26th at the international level and the 2nd GCC with a score of 69 out of 100 according to Corruption Preparation Index 2014 of Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption level. According to the 2014 edition of the Basel Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Index developed by the Basel Institute on Governance, Qatar's economy came in the 37th rank at the international level and the 2nd GCC after the Sultanate of Oman, with a score of 4.96, which indicates less than average of probability of occurrence of terrorist financing or money laundering in Qatar. 

According to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) statistics, the QE achieved the highest growth in the market value of listed shares by the end of 2014, at 166.12% to go up to USD54.73 Billion, or about QR199.29 Billion. According to the statistics of the Arab Monetary Fund, the QE achieved the 2nd rank in terms of growth rate of the market value of listed shares during 2014 compared with the end of 2013. This growth amounted to 21.80% to reach QR676.79 Billion by the end of 2014. 

The QFMA issued a number of new regulatory legislations that strengthen the regulatory and supervisory role of the QFMA on the Qatari capital market, the report said. The QFMA exerted intensive efforts in the areas of control and supervision on the parties related to the operation in the Qatari capital market to emphasize that the Qatari market deserves the international recognition, and to keep the performance of the Qatari market and persons dealing in the market compatible with the international standards, as well as to stabilize the markets and protect investors. 

The QFMA conducted the control on listed companies by following-up their disclosures and declarations issued via various media so as to ensure implementing the disclosure of all listed companies about the periodic financial statements during the year, and reviewing reports of corporate governance of listed companies and request to amend some of them to comply with the Corporate Governance Code issued by the QFMA.

The QFMA conducted (30) inspections (periodical or sudden) during 2014, and received (27) complaints, and has conducted (20) investigations in suspected violations from financial services companies and their staff in addition to the violations of the brokerage firms, the report said. During the year, Appeals Committee held eleven (11) cases hearings proceeded by a closed sessions to look into and decide on appeal cases and requests of a stay of QFMA proceedings. The QFMA also considered four (4) appeals registered at the end of 2013, and issued its decisions on seven (7) appeals and requests of a stay of QFMA proceedings. 

The QFMA managed to negotiate with seven regulators around the world and to reach a final drafts of Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs), that could add an item supports the dual listing of companies cross-border whenever possible, the report said. The QFMA received five final approvals for signing bilateral MoUs and put them in force; two (2) of them has already been signed during this year. 

The QFMA continued cooperation with international organizations, especially, the IOSCO by taking active participation in the IOSCO's committees and projects, such as: attending the annual conference and replying to cooperation requests, complying to increase non-official international cooperation with the organizations and the international financial bodies to consolidate ties and to hire regional and international expertise for the benefit of the QFMA's projects. 

QFMA is always keen to be an active member in the community at national, regional and international levels, and to confirm the presence and participation in the most important metings and events related to capital markets.