The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has been admitted to the international standard-setting organisation, the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), as an associate member.
The QFC joins key organisations, stakeholders and market players in the Islamic financial services industry and the financial sector, and its membership reaffirms the centre’s commitment to developing the Islamic finance industry.
As an associate member, the QFC can participate in the IFSB General Assembly, receive technical assistance from the IFSB and participate in working groups, task force and closed-door discussions for the development of IFSB prudential standards.
Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida
Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive officer, the QFC Authority said, “We are honoured to be admitted as a member of this prestigious international organisation. As an international financial centre, we are very keen on convening with key representatives of the financial services industry to further fortify the Islamic financial sector at local and international levels.”
“Islamic finance is a key focus as well as a strength of Qatar and the QFC, and we are in constant pursuit of strategies that will elevate the standards in this business sector and expand public awareness of Islamic financing and investment instruments. The ISFB membership offers access to resources and industry insight that will move us forward in this aspiration,” al-Jaida added.
Dr Bello Lawal Danbatta
IFSB secretary-general, Dr Bello Lawal Danbatta said, “We welcome the QFC into the IFSB membership. The new admissions into the IFSB Membership reflect the continuing interest of the global Islamic financial services industry (IFSI) in the work undertaken by the IFSB. To date, the 182 members of the IFSB comprises 79 regulatory and supervisory authorities, eight international inter-governmental organisations, and 95 market players (financial institutions, professional firms, industry associations and stock exchanges) operating in 57 jurisdictions. The IFSB is committed to promoting resilience and stability of the global IFSI and will continue to support its members in line with the IFSB mandate."
Sadiq Hamour, director (Financial Institutions), the QFC Authority said, “We welcome the move of the Qatar Central Bank to set up a centralised Shariah committee for Islamic banks to create consistency in Islamic finance and expect that this development will enhance the credibility of banks issuing Sukuk.
“We have already established a solid framework at the QFC for Islamic banks, in line with IFSB standards. Our vision is to grow the Islamic finance capital markets in and from Qatar and encourage increased sukuk issuances in the market. To achieve this, we are working with Islamic finance stakeholders to build a supportive platform for local and international banks.”
The IFSB promotes the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry, broadly defined to include banking, capital markets and insurance sectors. The IFSB also conducts research and co-ordinates initiatives on industry-related issues, as well as organises roundtables, seminars and conferences for regulators and industry stakeholders.
The Islamic finance industry has witnessed significant growth internationally, and in Qatar, with the four licensed Qatari Islamic banks accounting for 25% of total banking sector assets as of January 2019.
The QFC platform is already home to several leading Islamic Finance institutions such as Al-Rayan Investment, which is wholly-owned by Masraf Al Rayan, one of Qatar’s largest Islamic banks, and QInvest.
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction that allows registered companies to enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation avoidance agreement network with some 81 countries.