Sustained economic expansion has created considerable wealth in Qatar with the net investable wealth of affluent individuals in the country rising steeply to an estimated $40bn in 2013 compared with $25bn in 2009, said QFC Authority CEO Shashank Srivastava.
But the value of funds managed in Qatar was about $2.78bn in July 2012, he said on the sidelines of the Bloomberg Doha 2013 Conference at the St Regis yesterday.
“So there is great scope for increasing the size of the asset management industry in Qatar. The country remains ideally positioned in asset management to leverage the increasing wealth. The QFC Authority’s strategy is to position Qatar as the regional leader in asset management,” Srivastava said.
Qatar’s overseas assets had gone up even faster from $88bn in 2008 to an estimated $210bn in 2012.
The QFC, Srivastava said, had been able to attract firms offering a broad range of financial services ranging from banking, asset management, insurance and other professional services such as accounting, legal services.
So far the QFC has issued licences to more than 170 international and local companies. Firms from the Middle East account for 46% of licensed firms, the largest proportion by region. European firms account for 29%, while North American and Asian firms account for 14% and 11% respectively.
Earlier, addressing the Bloomberg Doha 2013 Conference, Srivastava said a fundamental and differentiating characteristic of the QFC is that it is an onshore jurisdiction. The QFC is neither a tax haven nor an offshore centre. It is an integral part of Qatar’s financial sector and, therefore, an integral part of Qatar’s economy.
“I believe this has proved to be an important attraction for firms looking for a base in the region. Leading multinational firms such as Barclay’s and Credit Suisse are building asset management activities in the QFC, actively hiring and expanding their businesses. Equally important, prominent Qatari firms such as QIC and QInvest are doing the same, rapidly expanding their businesses and launching new funds and products” he said.
With hydrocarbon reserves fuelling growth, financial stability and with a visionary government, Qatar is emerging as a solid and dependable partner, he said.
“We offer a strategic geographic and time zone location between east and west, widespread use of English, a cosmopolitan environment and a position at the heart of the GCC, which now ranks among the world’s top 20 economies.
“Our political stability and robust economy are powerful additional attractions. We have avoided the upheavals some other countries in the Mena region have experienced. From the standpoint of a fund manager, Qatar’s stability and sustained growth have translated into considerable potential as an investment market. We have a fast growing population, with one of the world’s highest savings rates — 49% compared with a GCC average of 37%, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.”
Qatar can also boast the second highest percentage of millionaire households in the world and the highest percentage in the GCC, with 14 millionaire households per 100, as estimated by BCG’s 2012 Wealth Report. Official wealth is also growing. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is estimated to have assets exceeding $100bn.
In addition, Srivastava pointed out the planned heavy spending on physical infrastructure would be important for ensuring that economic growth is sustainable. It will directly benefit enterprise in Qatar by lowering the cost of doing business, improving communications and boosting productivity.
The role of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority is to help make the choice of a financial centre easier for asset managers.
“We bring a sense of familiarity to the table. The QFC Authority, led by a dynamic team, is constantly analysing other centres such as China, Luxembourg, Singapore and the US to understand the changing needs of regulators, asset management companies and the professionals who work in them,” Srivastava said.
Minister explains Qatar’s investment goals
Qatar’s carefully selected portfolio of prime assets, spreading across asset classes and geographies, contributes to economic diversification, financial resources and reduces risk, HE the Minister of Finance and Economy Yousef Hussein Kamal has said. “Our investment goals are not merely domestic. Through bodies such as the Qatar Investment Authority and its subsidiaries – Qatar Holding, Qatari Diar, Qatar Mining, Hassad Food and Qatar Petroleum – we are building a carefully selected portfolio of prime assets spread across asset classes and geographies,” Kamal said at the opening session of the Bloomberg Doha Conference yesterday. The minister’s speech was read in his absence by QFC managing director Abdulrahman al-Shaibi. The development of a vibrant asset management industry is an important element in Qatar’s strategy of diversifying the economy and building a thriving financial services industry, the minister said.
Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times
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