Financial Services Sector Profile
By international standards, Qatar has a large number of banks relative to its population. There are currently 11 domestic banks and 7 subsidiaries or local branches of foreign institutions. The 11 domestic banks consist of 6 conventional banks, 4 fully Shari’ah complaint Islamic banks and one specialised bank (Qatar Development Bank) focused on SME’s. It is anticipated that there will be consolidation in the banking market in the future and there have already been attempts at mergers between some of the major banks.
A recent major development was the directive by the Qatar Central Bank that conventional banks would have to cease offering Islamic banking services by the end of 2011. Currently only the dedicated Islamic banks are permitted to have Shari’ah compliant operations.
Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)
In addition to the banks mentioned above, there are other licensed banks which operate from QFC. These include well known world names such as Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank PLC and Citibank. A full list of the banks and other entities operating in the QFC can be seen on the QFC Public Register.