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Sat 18 Nov 2006 12:00 PM

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Learn from Doha

On the subject of Doha, it goes without saying that the Qatar Financial Centre has done an impressive job since launching from scratch in 2005. I think most experts agree that although there is healthy competition between the likes of Doha, Dubai, and Bahrain, the market is big enough for all to survive.

Having said that, I feel the DIFX could do more to increase trading on the exchange. One major problem is that the system is modelled on European exchanges, which means that share certificates need to be held by brokers – not the exchanges, in the way the Dubai Financial Market does.

Doing so means that brokers have to upgrade their systems. With back-ups and disaster recovery programmes needed, this could cost up to US$1m to do.

Enough reason for brokers not to bother recommending clients to the DIFX. The DIFX should look at a storage system compatible to other Arab stock exchanges. It sounds trivial. And it is. But the benefits would be absolutely huge for the DIFX if it goes down this road.