Mar. 24, 2015

HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani


HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani

Governor, Qatar Central Bank (QCB)


HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani was appointed Governor of QCB in May 2006, having started his career at the bank in 1981. He was Deputy Governor from 1990 to 2001 and left to serve as Chairman of the State Audit Bureau from 2001 to 2006, before assuming his current position. Since 2012, he has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the QFC Regulatory Authority as well as Chairman of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority. Currently, he is the Chairman of Qatar’s Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Development Bank, a member of the Board of Directors of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, and a Board Member at Qatar Investment Authority. He was appointed as the Chairman of the Islamic Financial Services Board as well as Chairman of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation until December 2013 and is currently a member of both institutions. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gulf Monetary Council for 2014 and currently he is the Chairman of the Governors of GCC Monetary Agencies and Central Banks Committee.

Financial stability is a top priority within the Qatar National Vision 2030. What issues are currently putting pressure on this objective and how does the QCB mitigate them?

Law No. 13 of 2012 gives QCB the mandate to ensure financial stability and also provides for an institutionalized coordination mechanism through the Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee to address policy coordination, regulatory gaps, and overlaps between the regulators. The QCB Law also places the QCB Governor as the chairman of all three financial sector regulators, and QCB leads the work in this respect by implementing Basel III principles for better financial discipline and enhanced financial stability. Supported by strong macroeconomic fundamentals and progress made under the Strategic Plan for Financial Sector Regulation, Qatar's financial sector remains in good stead despite the uncertainties surrounding global financial markets and economic recovery.

Together with the other financial regulators, QCB introduced the Strategic Plan for Financial Sector Regulation 2011-16. How would you assess the progress that has been made in this regard?

The Strategic Plan for Financial Sector Regulation provides the mission, vision, values, and objectives that underpin a coordinated approach to strengthening the financial sector and fostering stable and robust economic growth. As part of this strategy, QCB, under Law No. 13 of 2012, is leading the coordination efforts with the Qatar Financial Markets Authority and Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority to provide a stable financial environment to a broad range of businesses. In this context, and conforming to international standards, QCB has been moving to risk-based regulation, expanding macro-prudential oversight, enhancing transparency, strengthening market infrastructure, and improving consumer and investor protection.

In the area of regulation, Basel III-consistent regulations have already been issued to banks, which also cover a number of prudential measures and banks are largely in compliance ahead of the Basel timelines. Good progress is also being made on market infrastructure; a Qatar Central Securities Depository (QCSD) was established toward the end of 2013 to take over the activities and functions of the Central Registry Department at the Qatar Exchange. QCSD is a private company owned jointly by QCB and QE. In order to promote regulatory cooperation and augment management of systemic risk, a Financial Stability and Risk Control Committee (FSRCC) was established in 2013.

You have been an early advocate of a single GCC currency. How do you assess the current regional will toward any implementation?

A single currency for the GCC region would help to reduce transaction costs and promote a more transparent pricing system. It would encourage intra-regional trade and financial integration, facilitate foreign direct investment, foster macroeconomic and financial stability, and enhance international competitiveness and the credibility of monetary policy. Proximity, similarities in size, business cycles, trade structure, inflation performance, and labor and product markets further lend support for a single currency. More broadly, the recent international experience, including the lessons from the crisis in the euro zone, suggest that simultaneous work on fiscal and financial integration merits consideration.