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Qatar Financial Center Amends Regulations

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
14 January, 2014

The Qatar Financial Center Authority (QFC Authority) has made amendments and introduced new rules in three important areas of the QFC legal environment in order to make it more attractive to foreign investors.

The changes, which apply to the Insolvency Regulations, the Single Family Office (SFO) Regulations and Special Company Regulations, aim to simplify procedures and structures, give QFC firms more flexibility in their operations, improve legislative certainty and align QFC Regulations with best practice jurisdictions elsewhere in the world.

Shashank Srivastava, CEO and Board Member, QFC Authority, said: "An attractive legal environment is fundamental to the QFC's standing as a world-class financial center. The new Regulations and Rules underline our commitment to offer firms a highly competitive platform from which to conduct business in Qatar, the region and internationally."

The Insolvency Regulations deal with debtors who are unable to pay their debts or find that their liabilities exceed their assets. As well as dealing with a number of specific and substantive enhancements, more straightforward amendments have also been made to update the terms and the phrases in the existing Insolvency Regulations.

An SFO is a private company dedicated exclusively to the investment, legacy and financial needs of individual wealthy families. The amendments to the SFO Regulations contain a number of clarifications including, but not limited to, the definition of a Single Family. They also set out the requirements for establishing an SFO and distinguish between the requirements which relate to the licensing of Single Family Offices and those which relate to the incorporation of a company as an SFO.

The Special Company Regulations provide the legislative framework for special purpose companies and holding companies. Special purpose companies (SPCs) are entities created to fulfil specific objectives or purposes. A holding company usually refers to a company that does not produce goods or undertake trading services itself; rather, its purpose is to hold and otherwise deal with both tangible and intangible property including shares and a variety of assets in other companies.

The amendments to the SC Regulations include a number of clarifications to definitions, such as Transaction, Special Purpose Companies, Holding Companies, Holding Company Activities and the entities which can hold shares in SPCs as nominees.

David Dhanoo, Chief Legal Officer and Board Secretary, QFC Authority, said that the amendments and new rules "aim to clarify many aspects of QFC legislation and give QFC-licensed firms more certainty and flexibility in their operations."

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