Always In Stock
What have been the most important recent developments at the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE)?
The first thing that comes to mind is that since the start of 2013, the QSE has become one of the best performing financial markets in the region. Moreover, we underwent an institutional upgrade by MSCI, which now gives our stock exchange Emerging Market status. We also became a full member to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), earning Qatar a stronger reputation as a safe-haven for investment. The market thus became highly attractive to the investor post-upgrade. The successful IPO of Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company toward the end of 2013, notably brought investors back to the market. We know this because the amount invested in 1Q2014 was equal to that of the whole of 2013. It was pushed by the upgrade, but also by the announced national budget for infrastructure. As the Qatar Stock Exchange, it is our task to introduce and improve products and services to facilitate liquidity provision.
What are the specific benefits of membership of the WFE?
Being a member of the WFE brings certification; it means recognition of the progress made by the QSE at various technical, regulatory, and operational levels. Again, this is vital for appealing to international investors. We are happy to be part of an organization that represents markets worldwide that are fair, transparent, well regulated, and that play an important role in the economies of their respective countries. Although we are not even 20 years old in operational terms, we already rank alongside the 100-year-old exchanges, confirming our great progress. The WFE membership is an important reference for many international investors about the investment atmosphere in the member markets as it reflects the member exchanges' commitment to implementing the best international practices and standards. This membership will enhance our ability to exchange information and expertise with other members, and enables us to continue developing the capital sector in Qatar.
In anticipation of increased foreign interest in Qatar, the government issued a decision elevating the foreign ownership ceiling to 49%. What has been the response to this investment opportunity?
This has been welcomed by international investors, giving them more opportunities to pursue in Qatar. They will be able to invest in these well-established and profitable Qatari listed companies. The decision also allows citizens of the GCC countries to be treated as Qatari citizens in terms of equity ownership. In general, this will help in boosting liquidity in the market through attracting foreign institutional investors. We approach these potential investors in two ways. We organize roadshows to the US and Europe, where we promote opportunities and update people on the latest market developments. However, we will also organize an exhibition here in Qatar to make people aware of its potential. All of our listed companies will attend and inform the public on their status.