The expected new capital market regulations could increase number of listed companies in Qatar

by  — 12 September 2013

The MEED Qatar Banking Summit was told that new capital market regulations including plans to launch a second market on the Qatar Exchange could double the number of listed companies in the next five years.

The Qatar Exchange (QE) has 42 listed companies. Its aggregate market capitalisation on 10 September was USD144 billion. In June, the MSCI upgraded Qatar from frontier market to emerging market status. Qatar is due to be included in the MSCI emerging market index in May 2014.

Director of legal affairs and enforcement at the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) Zain Al Abdin Sharar told the MEED Qatar Banking Summit that the forecast of a sharp increase in the number of listed firms and the volume of trade on the QE will reflect the impact of a wide-ranging programme of capital market reform. He said important further changes will soon be implemented.

“We have new rules for listing on the second market. This will be for companies that can’t meet requirements for listing on the primary market. We have amended the corporate governance code for companies listed on the main market. They will improve the disclosure requirements,” Sharar said. 

He also added that QFMA is about to issue new rules for financial adequacy for financial service firms. These will help the market to be more efficient and to protect the market against any unseen circumstances.

“We will soon issue new M&A rules for listed companies. All listed companies will know what disclosure they should make around and M&A,” Sharar added. Sharar said the QFMA has finalised the rules for the regulation and licensing of the Qatar Central Security Depositary. “We also are considering rules for margin trading and the listing of real estate investment funds,” he continued.  

Qatar Central Bank governor Abdullah Bin Saud Al Thani told the MEED Qatar Banking Summit on its first day that promoting activity on the QE is one of Qatar’s top financial priorities. As part of government efforts to stimulate capital market activity, the central bank yesterday issued QAR3 billion (USD824 million) worth of local currency government bonds and a QAR1 billon sukuk. The debt included three-year and five-year tranches of both conventional and Islamic bonds. Qatar launched quarterly government bond sales in March.

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