Regulator to rule on funds

02 November 2007

Private equity and venture capital funds should be able to set up in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) by the end of 2007, once laws governing limited and general partnerships are approved.

The public consultation phase for the draft rules was completed in early October and responses to the rules are now being reviewed. The law will define the relationship between investors in a fund and the fund manager, and the liabilities of both.

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority has issued a series of rules to regulate activities in the zone in 2007. Rules governing collective investment funds and insurance companies were issued in July, and for retail businesses in May. However, no funds are yet registered in the centre.

The centre expects to increase its membership from 64 to more than 80 by the end of 2007, with the addition of private equity firms and other European institutions and sharia-compliant insurance companies.

'We are talking to private equity players,' says Stuart Pearce, chief executive officer of the authority.

'European institutions are in the pipeline. We are focusing on geographies with which Qatar has close ties.'

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China has applied to join the centre, while ABN Amro was the most recent institution to be licensed by the authority, when it gained authorisation to trade on 21 October.

The QFC issued tax rules for public consultation on 24 October that will establish a tax regime for businesses in the QFC from May 2008. Investment funds will be exempt.

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