Number of QFC-listed Companies Rises to over 500

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Doha, April 16 (QNA) - Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing business and financial centers, has announced it has reached the half way mark in the number of firms it is aiming to register by 2022, as the total number of firms on the QFC platform has reached 507 firms as of March 31.
The QFC 2022 roadmap, which was announced last year, outlined the QFC objectives to increase the number of licensed firms to reach 1,000, to create 10,000 jobs within the QFC ecosystem, to establish Msheireb Downtown Doha as Qatar's pre-eminent financial and commercial destination and the first of its kind inclusive financial city in the region, to triple the licensed firms' assets under management and to increase QFC firms' participation on QSE with the goal of reaching 5 percent QSE market capitalization.
"We are delighted to announce that over 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar," QFC Authority Chief Executive Officer Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida said.
"Local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in our unsaturated market which is why we continue to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of our platform.
"Despite last years challenges, we are well on track to reaching our goals we set out last year. Our model is unique in the region, and this is clear in the number of institutions from around the world who are continuing to see the benefits of coming to Qatar and joining the QFC platform," Al Jaida added.
Al Jaida said that the geographical distribution of QFC firms spans across the globe with most recent statistics show that of the 507 firms registered under the QFC the breakdown, where 46 percent are from Qatar, 24 percent from Europe, 11 percent from North America, 11 percent from MENA excluding Qatar and 8 percent from Asia Pacific. The rest of the firms span from Africa and South America.
In terms of the type of firms the QFC licenses, they can be divided into two main sections, regulated and non-regulated, where regulated activities are those conducted by financial service firms, such as banking, investment banking, asset management, insurance and reinsurance, Al Jaida said.
The QFC chief executive officer added that examples of non-regulated activities include consultancy firms, law firms, events management companies advertising agencies to name a few.
Al Jaida stressed that the number of companies registered at QFC since the beginning of the siege until March 31 reached 120, confirming that the period was the best in the history for QFC for several reasons, including the fact that many foreign companies found it difficult to access the vital country market of Qatar, so QFC had to move its branches and some of its activities with Qatari clients to Qatar, which benefited the center in terms of increasing the number of companies registered and the number of employees.
He added that many of the investments that were concentrated in Dubai used the QFC platform instead of the Dubai International Financial Center despite the tax advantages it provides, but many of these companies choose to return to the Qatari market.
Al Jaida said that QFC is looking over the second quarter of the year to unveil its strategy in detail in terms of the different sectors, particularly the financial services sector, as well as announcing the dates of the move to Msheireb financial district, in addition to revealing the QFC's plan to develop the financial services sector in Qatar and other sectors that center will focus on in the next five years.
On the expected growth of companies operating under the umbrella of QFC in the current year, Al Jaida predicted a growth rate of between 10 percent and 15 percent, saying that it is fair rate and means that reaching the target of 1000 companies by 2022 can be achieved.
The QFC chief executive officer pointed out that the focus will be on companies that contribute directly to the local economy through job creation, especially as the next phase will see a focus on creating 10,000 jobs, which requires working not only to find large companies that make local contributions but also companies that do some regional contributions.
He highlighted QFC's participation in the State of Qatar's economic roadshow in the United States, noting that the participation was part of attracting a number of U.S. firms and marketing QFC in the United States. He stressed that the center has a strong relationship with the U.S.-Qatar Business Council and it is currently under review to establish an office for the council at QFC in order to allow more flexible access to U.S. companies.
Al Jaida noted that QFC aims to list more than 10 companies on Qatar Exchange. He added that Qatar Exchange currently has three listings linked to the center; Qatar First Bank, QE Al Rayan Islamic Index and Doha Bank Fund.
He also said that some QFC-listed companies are currently interested in being listed on Qatar Exchange, of which some operate in the insurance and banking sectors, and there is an intention to include others in the real estate sector.
Al Jaida stressed that there will be a focus in the coming period on Asia, especially China, where QFC is considering attracting some Chinese companies, particularly since the State of Qatar hosts the headquarters of the clearing center of the Chinese currency, which will give some privileges to the center and the state.
He pointed out that the center aspires to host some other Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Japan and South Korea, while working to attract European companies. There are promotional campaigns by the center in Europe this month that will focus on Spain and France in all sectors besides a massive promotional campaign in the United Kingdom for the financial services sector, he added.
Al Jaida said that QFC is looking into the idea of opening the financial services sector in the State of Qatar in cooperation with the concerned authorities in the sense that the QFC will focus its efforts on attracting regional financial institutions whether banks or insurance, asset management, and financial consultation companies. Thus, he added, making the State of Qatar a platform for some regional countries with which it enjoys strong relations, meaning that any international company or institution aspiring to access the markets of these regional countries will choose the State of Qatar as a platform to start its business.
As for the financial technology, the QFC chief executive officer said that the center aims to announce in the second quarter of the year its financial technology sector strategy as well as focus on Islamic financial companies.
Al Jaida said that QFC also aims to issue special semi-annual bulletins that address the contribution of the financial services sector to the local economy. (QNA)