QATAR. Stuart Pearce, CEO and Director General of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, believes the firms in the QFC will remain because they are of “top quality” and have secured licences, meeting “strict regulatory requirements”.
In an interview with Gulf Times in Doha yesterday Pearce said many banks worldwide are under some pressure because of the raging global economic turmoil.
“But at the QFC, we have only quality firms operating. We have a greater degree of supervision. Our regulatory requirements, which the firms are required to meet when they apply for a licence, are very comprehensive and well designed so that only quality, healthy institutions get in. So I am very confident in the sort of firms we have,” he said.
Pearce said it is “business as usual” at Kaupthing Bank’s QFC arm though Iceland’s government recently seized the parent bank, completing the takeover of a financial industry that collapsed under the weight of foreign debt.
Kaupthing is Iceland’s biggest bank and the nation’s government has guaranteed the bank’s domestic deposits. The bankrupt Lehman Brothers’ had also secured a licence to operate from the QFC.
Pearce said: “The situation with regard to Lehman Brothers’ is quite different. Nomura Holdings, a securities giant, has decided to take over Lehman’s brokerage and investment bank divisions in the Middle East. We have to see how that goes.”
Asked how QFC dealt with issues such as its tenants going broke or being subjected to ownership changes on a global scale, Pearce said, “That question has to be addressed to the Qatar Financial Centre regulator. It is a regulated business. Any change of ownership is something that needs to be looked into by the regulator.”
Pearce said Qatar is not fully insulated from the current global economic crisis because it is part of the global economy.
“We will be impacted to some smaller degree perhaps. But our economy is very strong. Qatari banks and other financial institutions are very well managed. The impact, if any, will be very minimal,” Pearce said.
The QFCA is the commercial arm of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a financial and business centre established by Qatar in 2005 to attract international financial services and multinational corporations to grow and develop the market for financial services in the region.
The QFC provides access to over US$140 billion of investment in Qatar over the next five years as well as to over US$1 trillion planned investment across the GCC. The QFC also consists of an independent financial regulator, the QFC Regulatory Authority. It has an independent judiciary, which comprises a civil and commercial court and a regulatory tribunal.