Qatar: country steps up efforts to set markets on path for growth
- Qatar: Monday, February 11 - 2013 at 13:05
- PRESS RELEASE
The development of a debt market in Qatar and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would strengthen the position of asset managers and enable them to better serve their clients, according to the CEO of the investment company Amwal, George Shehadeh.
He also highlighted the key part that sovereign issuances could play in helping Qatar to develop a local debt market.
"Sovereign issues are a critical icebreaker for debt markets as they help establish the local 'risk-free' benchmark as well as a yield curve that can stretch into longer dated maturities," he said.
He added, "\we are seeing increasing interest from investors in a variety of debt and debt related instruments, confirming that the traditionally 'equity-biased' investors in the region are ready to support a broader debt market."
Shehadeh was talking to the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) as part of the compilation of research for The Report: Qatar 2012. OBG's latest guide on the country's economic activity and investment opportunities which includes a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for foreign investors, together with a wide range of interviews with the most prominent political, economic and business leaders, including the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
The publication also contains contributions from the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, the Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Saleh Al Sada and the Minister of Finance Yousef Hussain Kamal.
The CEO played down concerns that Qatar relied too heavily on banks for funding, saying that although the sector required the bond/sukuk market to expand, the underlying legal and regulatory framework also needed to be given time to mature.
"Qatar's reliance on bank funding is not unusual," he said. "Most markets begin with a much deeper bank funding market than the bond market, with 'disintermediation' gradually making its way in," he added.
Shehadeh highlighted the progress Qatar had made in driving forward its fledgling financial services sector, saying the setting up of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) as a centre of excellence with a focus on building a regional asset management hub is instrumental in helping the industry to develop.
He also praised the current move towards regulatory consolidation, saying that markets like Qatar, which were in the early stage of development, had much to gain from simple, unified and consistent regulation.
"These measures will achieve an improved risk profile and increased operational efficiencies that ultimately benefit investors and the industry as a whole," he said.
"The QFC Authority has actively engaged the financial community locally and internationally in order to provide a unified support environment necessary for a successful financial centre. We are delighted to have participated in many collaborative and consultative discussions with the QFC Authority in recent years in an effort to promote the emergence of a successful local investment management industry. As the first investment firm to be established in Qatar in 1998, it is rewarding to see the progress that has been made so far, with Doha well on its way to becoming an important hub for the regional asset management industry," he added.
The Report: Qatar 2012, produced in partnership with the Ministry of Business and Trade, Qatar National Bank, Clyde & Co and The Advisors, marks the culmination of more than ten months of on-the-ground research by a team of analysts from the Group. It provides information on opportunities for foreign direct investment into the country's economy and acts as a guide to the many facets of the country including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and sectoral developments. The Report: Qatar 2012 is available in print form or online.
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