The Qatar Financial Center (QFC), which already has more than 100 UK firms under its ecosystem, has extended its support to them, especially fintechs and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) wishing to expand their operations in the country.

“Qatar and the UK have been long known for their invaluable strategic business partnership, which has witnessed significant business milestones and mutual economic benefits that further strengthened the ties over the years. We are proud to be part of this partnership and to support UK firms in expanding their operations in Qatar," Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, QFC Authority chief executive, told the "Qatar - UK Financial Services" event.

The event, organised by the UK’s Department for International Trade in partnership with the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB), was inaugurated by Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud al-Thani, QCB governor, and William Russell, Mayor of the City of London.

The event saw the participation of high-level executives and senior representatives from both countries’ leading national and financial institutions alongside the QFC, including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; QCB; Qatar Investment Authority; QDB; Qatar Research, Development and Innovation (QRDI) Council; City of London; the Bank of England, and UK Export Finance.

Highlighting that the QFC has made significant strides to support the development of fintech in Qatar, which ranks high on its 2022 strategy; al-Jaida said "our activity of non-regulated professional services firms has been widened to fintech services providers."

The QFC has already cemented numerous agreements with fintech entities to provide listed firms with access to world’s best practices and business models, and it recently joined the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). Al-Jaida also participated in a panel session on "SMEs and Financial Services" alongside Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa, chief executive, QDB; Louis Taylor, chief executive, UK Export Finance; Gavin Holland, Partner, Anthemis Group; and Vincent Keaveny, Partner, DLA Piper.

The panel, which was moderated by Danny Lopez, non-executive director and advisor (Innovate Finance), covered the role of financial services in Qatar’s economic diversification plans, and focused on emerging sectors with high growth potential, such as SMEs and fintech.