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Tue 10 Apr 2007 09:07 PM

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Qatar in regulatory deals with U.S.

Local regulator hopes to dispel 'lack of transparency myth' by following international standards.

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority is to announce a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a U.S. regulator only a few days after it agreed one with a major U.S. insurance association.

ArabianBusiness.com has learnt that the regulator will be entering a MOU with a U.S. banking regulator following the announcement that Citigroup has been given a banking license to operate in Qatar.

"We believe it is important that an institution is being supervised by their home state regulator as they can offer a prudential oversight such as looking at the balance sheet, while we look after everything else," said Phillip Thorpe, chairman and chief executive officer of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

"When institutions from the U.S. look at places to establish a business, the thing they look for is an environment that has high international standards, coupled with a very stable political environment."

The name of the U.S. regulator that Qatar will working with will be disclosed towards the end of this week. The U.S. has both federal and state banking regulators.

The news follows today's announcement that the regulator has issued a (MOU) with the department of insurance of the state of Delaware following the increased number of U.S. institutions wanting to establish businesses in Doha.

The MOU was signed by Mr Thorpe and Michael L. Vild, deputy commissioner of the department of insurance of the State of Delaware.

Mr Thorpe addressed the issue of corporate governance in the Middle East and said that a perceived lack of transparency had recently dogged the headlines.

"The lack of transparency is a common perception in the region but the Qatar government has been working hard to dispel the myth. This is one of the reasons why the QFC was set up to begin with and why we strive to make sure the environment is at the same level you would expect if working in London or other major financial centres. Dubai has a similar regulatory system to Qatar."

He continued: “I would term ourselves as ‘experienced plagiarisers’: we have looked at different legislation and regulatory solutions around the globe and have cherry-picked the best ones.”

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority came into effect on 1 May 2005.

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