Doha, Qatar: Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and Board Chairman of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) HE Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani said that to raise the competitiveness of the Qatari financial markets it relies on the latest technological methods, tools and programs and encourages the use of artificial intelligence in a way that promotes its leadership among the Arab financial markets, places it among the ranks of developed financial markets, and contributes to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).

This came in His Excellency's message at the 2023 Annual Report issued by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) on Sunday, highlighting several developments of the Qatari capital market in 2023, and the Authority's key achievements during the year in terms of procedures, initiatives, legislation, regulations and rules related to its competencies and the financial sector activity.

His Excellency said that the past year witnessed the beginning of a new phase in the development of the Qatari financial markets, aiming to increase the competitiveness of the Qatari financial markets, raise their efficiency, and improve the financial services provided to Qatari and non-Qatari investors.

His Excellency explained that the launch of the Third Strategic Plan 2023-2027 of QFMA was the starting point and beginning for this new phase, as this plan is based on the key principles of QNV 2030 and derives its objectives from both the Third Qatar National Development Strategy (QNDS) and the Third Qatar Financial Sector Strategy (FSS). It aims to achieve the sustainability of financial markets, promote green financial instruments, and adopt technological and digital developments.

The Third QFMAs Strategic Plan includes a set of initiatives and projects that reflect the QFMAs future vision for the financial markets and seeks to achieve the desired goals in the coming years and establishes a regulatory framework and infrastructure for the Qatari financial markets to be in line with the best international standards and practices and emphasizes the importance of financial awareness among the market participants. It contributes to the transition towards sustainable financial markets and strengthens the QFMAs local and international strategic alliances.

His Excellency added that 2023 witnessed the QFMAs issuance of a set of legislations aimed at accommodating the changes in the regional and international financial markets, attracting more Qatari and non-Qatari investors, and reducing the cost, burden and effort on all those dealing with the Qatari financial markets, in addition to unifying the procedures and interface periods, both when opening trading accounts or subscribing to securities or distributing dividends to the beneficiaries investors. QFMA also introduced to the Qatari market for the first time the mechanism for the interim dividend distribution during the financial year.

His Excellency affirmed that such efforts and changes were reflected in the Qatari financial market performance during 2023, as the QSE general index increased by 1.4% compared to a decrease of 8.13% during 2022, and the market value of listed companies increased by about 2.7% to reach 624.6 QR billion. The influx of foreign investment into the Qatari market continued, with net purchases by non-foreigners reaching QR 1.7 billion, contributing to the increase in non-Qatari ownership of Qatari shares listed on the financial market, as well as the increase in the contributions of activities brought to the Qatari financial market by QFMA, such as the activities of market maker and liquidity provider, which contributed to about 22% of the total value of market trading, amounting to QR 125 billion. Margin trading activity also contributed to about 28.8% of the total value of trading during 2023.

His Excellency emphasized that QFMA, in this new phase in its journey towards elevating the Qatari financial markets to the ranks of developed financial markets, is open to cooperation and coordination with all of the State agencies and parties concerned with the Qatari financial markets, as well to share them with all issued legislation for consultation, and that QFMA is fully prepared to consider and adopt any proposals aimed at developing procedures or removing any obstacles.

For his part, QFMAs Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tamy bin Ahmad Al Binali said in his message at the 2023 annual report, that during the next five years, QFMA looks forward to developing an infrastructure for Qatari capital markets that adopts the best international standards and practices, uses the latest technological methods and programs and artificial intelligence programs, and is flexible and able to accommodate all developments in the international capital markets, as well can confront crises in the financial markets and reduce the associated risks.

Dr. Al Binali explained that in order to achieve the QFMAs future vision, during 2023, QFMA implemented a set of initiatives and projects, including the launch of the third QFMA's Strategic Plan 2023-2027, which is the beginning of a new phase different from the stages of development of the previous Qatari capital markets, during which QFMA aims to raise the competitiveness with other capital markets, attract more Qatari and non-Qatari investments, and advance the Qatari financial markets to the rank of developed markets, as well as raise the institutional and technological capabilities and empower Qatari competencies and expertise.

Dr. Al Binali pointed out that QFMA has also implemented new mechanisms to facilitate the procedures of the financial market participants, such as the mechanism to facilitate the opening of the investor account from outside the country by allowing the customer to own a bank account in the country of residence subject to a regulatory jurisdiction, as well as the mechanism to facilitate subscription and trading procedures, by allowing one of the parents to trade for the benefit of minor children through the bank account of either of them, or from the bank account of the minor.

He said that the QFMA issued a decision to form the "Single Window Committee for the Capital Market" in order to achieve maximum facilitation and ease for companies wishing to securities offering or listing in one of the Qatari capital markets subject to the QFMA's jurisdiction. The single window will simplify the procedures for such companies by limiting their dealings with only one entity instead of dealing with other competent authorities separately, including QFMA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), and Edaa (QCSD). QFMA also issued an update to the Dispute Settlement Rules aimed at reducing the costs of arbitration and arbitrators' fees and urging market dealers to use arbitration as a fair and complete means to settle disputes among them, and QFMA also issued rules regulating the dividends distribution in order to unify both procedures and the entity that distributes the dividends, reduce time, effort and costs to listed companies, and provide a single window for the investor to collect all different companies dividends.

The 2023 annual report of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) reviews the most important contributions and achievements of QFMA during the past period, and its participation in various local and international meetings and conferences related to the capital market.

It reflects the QFMAs efforts in enhancing transparency and stability in the Qatari market, and enhancing confidence among investors and market participants.

The report also addresses the QFMA's ongoing efforts aimed at maintaining the continued progress of the financial sector in the country, improving its performance and consolidating its development, protecting its dealers and investors, and achieving qualitative leaps in the level of their aspirations and ambitions, in addition to moving forward at an accelerated pace in enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of doing business in the Qatari capital market, which will reflect positively on all dealers and entities subject to the QFMAs jurisdiction.

The year 2023 witnessed the completion and implementation of qualitative measures and initiatives in the process of outstanding performance of the Qatari financial sector, including the announcement of the QFMAs Third Strategic Plan (2023-2027), as well as many other legislations, regulations and decisions that began to have a clear positive impact on the capital market sector.

During 2023, QFMA also witnessed a set of administrative and structural changes aimed at transforming it into a supervisory authority with international standards that follows the best practices and international standards in the field of regulation, supervision over the Qatari capital markets, as such changes were based on updating the QFMAs organizational structure, developing the followed policies and procedures, accelerating the Qatarization policy, empowering Qatari competencies, and raising its leadership and administrative capabilities.

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