Posted on September 07, 2019

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world’s leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, has been admitted to the international standard-setting organisation,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 QFC’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 IFSBand participate in Working Groups, Task Force and closed-door discussions for the development of IFSB prudential standards.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, 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.” Al-Jaida added: “Islamic Finance is a key focus as well asa 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. ISFB membership offers access to resources and industry insight that will move us forward in this aspiration.”

The Secretary-General of the IFSB, Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta stated, “We welcome QFC into the IFSB membership. The new admissions into IFSB Membership reflects 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 of 79 regulatory and supervisory authorities, 8 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 of Financial Institutions, QFC Authority said: “We welcome the move of the Qatar Central Bank to set up a centralised Sharia committee for Islamic banks to create consistency in Islamic finance andexpect 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 and enhances the soundness and stability of the Islamic financialservices industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry, broadly defined to include banking, capitalmarkets and insurance sectors. The IFSBalso conducts research and coordinates initiatives on industry-related issues, as well as organises roundtables, seminars and conferences for regulators and industry stakeholders.

The Islamic Finance industry has witness 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 competitivebenefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, theright 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 avoidanceagreement network with 81 countries.

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