2013 saw the enactment of the new Central Bank Law which is a comprehensive overhaul of the legislation that existed previously
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) was confirmed as the primary regulator of financial institutions operating in Qatar, and the QCB Law also expanded its supervisory powers to cover the insurance sector and the Qatar Financial Centre. The QCB Law addresses many issues for the first time, including Islamic banking, mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions, credit rating agencies, insurance, treating customers fairly and resolution of failing banks.
In addition to expanded the Central Bank’s reach, it also imposes a specific penalty (a substantial fine and possible imprisonment) for providing financial services without being duly licensed by the QCB.
2014 has started with a material change to the securities market in Qatar with the Qatar Central Securities Depository (QCSD) being established as a Qatari private shareholding company, commencing its activities on 2 January 2014. The QCSD has taken over from the Qatar Exchange in relation to its functions of safekeeping, management, ownership, clearing and settlement of securities and other financial instruments. It will also provide related financial services, including registration, acceptance and transfer of government bonds and treasury bills (T-bills). The Qatar Exchange will now only be a trading platform, with all settlement, clearing, pledging and licensing be conducted on or by QCSD.
In other developments the Council of Ministers has approved a new draft Companies Law. 2013 saw the trading of Government bonds, and 2014 is likely to see new listing rules for bonds and sukuk.