Regulatory changes to the fund regime in the UAE could drive asset managers to seek more cost effective financial hubs in the region.
Dubai is due to bring in regulations that could make it more difficult for Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) registered funds to market their products outside the financial free zone to investors in other parts of the UAE.
Commenting on the changes, David Russell, chief executive officer of Guardian Wealth Management (GWM) Qatar LLC, said: “Upcoming regulatory changes to the investment fund sector in the UAE have understandably made businesses nervous. Those seeking to make the most of more tax-efficient financial hubs expect to benefit from a lucid and uncomplicated system, which Qatar currently offers.”
Recently, the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, hired acknowledged UK financial services industry expert, Bob Wigley, former chairman of Merril Lynch’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business. Wigley’s brief is to attract fund managers to Qatar as it focusses on establishing itself as a centre for the asset management and insurance industries.
Qatar’s booming economy and appetite for developing non-oil sectors is fast becoming the jewel in the Gulf crown as its high growth prospects lure expats, according to GWM.
“Since its victory in securing the World Cup in 2022, Qatar has been making a concerted effort to boost its financial services industry and prove itself among Middle Eastern counterparts. As well as its colossal oil and gas industry, Qatar’s enthusiasm for growing its infrastructure and manufacturing sectors means it has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Middle East and enjoyed the highest per capital income in the world last year,” adds Russell.
The infrastructure as a result of the World Cup will see enormous changes take place, including the development of new residential areas, new ports and airports, as well as a new railway system and the continuous development of road networks.
“All industries are booming in Qatar and unlike many other areas around the world, there are no expectations for this to change. The growth of the country is based on sound fundamentals and thus the job market is very fertile. With the added benefit of tax-free earnings, increasing numbers of expats are moving to Qatar as it becomes the Middle Eastern flagship for social, financial and cultural development,” explains Russell.
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