The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) has issued its 2019 annual report, which includes a detailed summary of the QFMA's functions, activities, jurisdictions, and key efforts and achievements during 2019, locally and internationally.

The report has reiterated how the QFMA is working on ensuring the continuity of development of the financial sector in the State, promoting the advancement of the Qatari capital market, protecting its stability and its dealers, as well as to diversify its investment instruments and mechanisms. The QFMA also seeks to regulate the mechanism of conducting business related to securities, to ensure its competitiveness and meet the needs and aspirations of investors and dealers.

In the opening message of the report, HE Chairman of the QFMA's Board of Directors Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qasim al-Thani states that QFMA gives great concern to adopt a strategic planning approach in achieving its objectives and the advancement of the Qatari capital market to be among the advanced capital markets. It is also very keen to work for the continuity and sustainability of development in the Qatari market, depending on the achievements of the QFMA in its steps to transfer the market to a platform providing advanced financial services for the investors based on the best international standards and practices, especially those issued by International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), as well as making the market a financial hub to attract national, regional and international investments.

His Excellency stated that as a part of the continuous persisting efforts of the QFMA to maintain the realised acquirements; it issued during 2019 a new rulebook for financial services to develop financial services provided to Qatari market dealers, to be in compliance with the best practices and with services provided for investors in international markets. The rulebook contributes to stimulate the trading in Qatari market, and to enforce many financial services activities with international standards especially the market maker, liquidity provider, and securities' investment management.

He also stated that the QFMA has a firm belief in the necessity of developing financial markets in parallel with the development of its institutional performance. Therefore, QFMA adopted a project aimed at promoting the QFMA's structure so that it can develop its supervisory and regulatory performance in accordance with the highest professional standards, and in a manner ensuring integrity, impartiality, fairness, transparency, ability for innovation, creativity and excellence in professional performance.

For his part, chief executive officer of the QFMA, Nasser Ahmed al-Shaibi, confirmed that the QFMA is moving forward with a steady steps towards strengthening leadership of the Qatari capital market and its gradual advancement to the ranks of advanced financial markets. This progress comes through a distinctive strategic approach based on Qatar National Vision 2030, and derives its objectives from Qatar National Development Strategy (2018-2022), and implements its initiatives in harmony and accordance with the Second Strategic Plan for Financial Sector Regulation (SSP) in the State.

Al-Shaibi added that QFMA seeks, through its future vision and mission to all participants of Qatari capital market and their continuous interaction, to be an active element that can cope with the active and changing nature of financial markets, to be able to put forward new ideas and make them new financial products, instruments and services. This can contribute to the continuity of development process for financial markets, maintain stability, protect markets dealers, reduce the risks that may be faced, and enhance the position of financial markets as an investment destination that meets the changing and varied investment needs of those who deal in such markets.

Al-Shaibi confirmed that in this regard, during 2019, the QFMA implemented the split of shares listed in the main market easily and in co-ordination with all parties involved in the market. The QFMA also provided the Qatari market new Financial Services Rulebook, which aims to improve financial services provided to investors in the Qatari market, as well as developing its electronic services, and issuing several legislations aiming to ensure integrity and transparency of the dealing system in the markets, and protect investors and maintain their rights.

The 2019 QFMA annual report includes detailed data on the performance of all departments and sections of the QFMA. In addition to that, the report includes activities of the joint local committees and working groups among the QFMA, the QCB, and the QFCRA, namely: Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee (FSRCC), National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee (NAMLC) and Financial Sector Strategy Working Group.

It also includes QFMA's membership in key local committees and working groups, including Information Security Committee in the Financial Sector, Committee of Monitoring and Implementing Government Projects and Initiatives (General Secretariat), the Ease of Doing Business Index Working Group, the Single Window Working Group, the Corporate Social Responsibility Working Group, and the Electronic Security Shield at the Ministry of Interior.

The report also addresses the work of the QFMA's key committees, which include the Investigation Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Appeals Committee, Dispute Settlement Committee, Licensing Committee, and Personnel Affairs Committee.

The report sheds light extensively on the QFMA's performance and activities at the international level, through its participation in several conferences held around the world during 2019, and through its membership in many international organisations and institutions working in the field of the QFMA's activity and jurisdiction.

The report also deals with the QFMA's initiatives completed during 2019, leading to achieve its mission aimed at strengthening the presence of a regulated Qatari capital market and developing it in line with the QFMA's strategy that consistent with the State's financial sector plan. These initiatives contribute to enhancing the QFMA's follow-up the needs and requirements of all concerned parties in the Qatari capital market.

The most important of such initiatives are: stock split, Governance Code for Listed Funds, Financial Services Rulebook, development of Inspection Procedures Manual, the electronic system for monitoring the transactions of financial services companies' employees and their relatives and development of the QFMA's communications network (Phase 1).

A detailed chapter has been devoted to statistics related to the QFMA's efforts and activities during 2019, such as governance reports and disclosure reports, of which QFMA received 1,490 disclosures for 2019, including 417 financial statement disclosures, 329 basic data disclosures, 111 newspaper disclosures, 8 legal cases and rulings disclosures, and 625 material events disclosures. In addition to reports of securities' numbering "ISIN", which QFMA issued during 2019, ISIN for 46 securities including 9 ISIN of government bonds, 36 ISIN of treasury bills, and one ISIN of shares.

During 2019, QFMA supervised 11 acquisitions and mergers, including 9 acquisitions and 2 mergers.

With regard to the QFMA's e-services for licensing, QFMA, started, at the beginning of 2019, to provide e-services via its official website, and via Hukoomi Portal, including licensing renewal applications for individuals to perform regulated functions in financial services companies.

Four new e-services have been added, namely: Licensing renewal of Financial Services Activities, Approving Individuals to Perform a Regulated Function, Licensing renewal of approved individuals, Registration renewal of External Auditors and financial evaluators in the QFMA's register.

The report also mentioned the e-services and projects provided by QFMA during 2019 through its electronic portal, such as applications for licensing, complaints, ISIN of securities issued in the State, listing, approval on buying or selling treasury shares, and applications of renewals of all kinds.

The report also addressed the QFMA's efforts in Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing Terrorists "AML/CFT", whereas QFMA exerts efforts to ensure the continuity of the mutual understanding between QFMA and the licensed parties, and the effective application of AML/CFT procedures.

During 2019, QFMA organised several workshops in participation with other financial sector regulators, as follows: combating financial crimes, guideline and suspicious transaction reporting form, strengthening the AML/CFT national system, collecting AML/CFT data, a training programme for the national mutual evaluation process for private sector participants, the components of the AML/CFT effective system, which is held more than once a year.

With regard to the work of the Disciplinary Committee, the report noted that the total amount of the violations approved by the QFMA was about QR17.2mn. The report also indicated that the Committee considered 40 appeals and requests for a stay of processing during 2019. The report highlighted the efforts made by QFMA in developing human capital in implementation of its strategic plan (2017-2022) on Building Human Capital's Capacity and increasing its competitiveness at work.

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