Doha right to go slow on regulator

10 October 2008
Qatar knows that the success of its financial hub and new regulations lies in the planning
It took the UK almost 20 years to agree on the form its Financial Service Authority (FSA) would take, before a deal to set up the new body was finalised in 2001.

So the people behind Qatar’s bid to roll its three financial regulators into one have a point when they defend the lapses in their timetable.

In July 2007, Qatar’s finance minister announced the plans to create a single, FSA-inspired regulator as part of the state’s goal of attracting the world’s top financial institutions to set up in the country.

In the rush, Doha seemed to underestimate what it would take to forge a single regulator.

The original timetable of having the interim board in place by the end of 2007, and a senior management team up and running by early 2008, has slipped as the size of the task has become clearer.

Asking the central bank to relinquish its regulatory powers forms a large part of the negotiations that are under way, as does the formation of an advisory board - a place on the interim board will be crucial for any of the three existing financial regulators who want to make their mark on the new body.

But respected people have now been installed at the helm of all the key components of the Qatar Financial Centre, and the Qataris have once again proven to be shrewd decision-makers who know that the future success of their financial services hub will be all in the planning.

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