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Mon 16 Jul 2007 02:31 PM

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Qatar to unify financial regulations

Qatar is set to bring its financial institutions under one set of rules and a single regulator.

Qatar is to establish a single integrated financial regulatory body that will oversee all banking, insurance, securities, asset management and other financial services.

This new regulator will bring together the staff resources currently dispersed amongst the Qatar Central Bank's (QCB) Department of Banking Supervision and its Banking Consumer services Unit, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Regulatory Authority.

The move will create a single organisation and, eventually, one set of high standard rules applicable to all financial institutions.

The Qatari government expects the new simplified regulatory environment to aid transparency and provide a comprehensive view of financial institutions that are active across difference service lines, such as banks that offer securities trading.

The new regulatory body will be fully independent, with management accountable to a board made up of international and Qatari financial services regulatory experts.

An interim board will be established by the end of this year and all staff from the existing regulators are expected to move to the new regulator by early 2008.

The move should help financial services companies in Qatar to develop their risk management and compliance capabilities, making them more competitive at home and abroad.

There will be a transition period for financial institutions to move to the new set of rules, and it is anticipated they should all be compliant by 2010.

Phillip Thorpe, chairman and CEO of the QFC Regulatory Authority, hinted at the move in an interview with Arabian Banking & Finance in June.

"The approach of ministers is one of recognising that in a small country, having two parallel financial services environments is probably a slightly over-generous case of supply and it makes sense to steer everything towards a single system," Thorpe said.

The Qatar Financial Centre and its regulatory body were established in 2005, while the Qatar Financial Markets Authority was set up last year.

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