Qatar tempts British investors with 'Middle East Wall Street'

Qatar tempts British investors with 'Middle East Wall Street'
2 min read
22 May, 2017
Qatar steps up its bid in the race to build a 'Wall Street of the desert' by holding roadshows across the UK to attract banks and financial services firms.
Qatar hopes to attract the UK business community with its 'compelling tax regime' [AFP]

Qatar is attempting to woo Britain's financial community by presenting itself as the "Wall Street of the Middle East" as it runs roadshows across the UK this month.

The move comes as part of the resource-rich Gulf state's drive to improve its global image ahead of its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"The UK is top of the chart for Qatar," said the Qatar Financial Centre's (QFC) business development head Sadiq Hamour in London last week.

The QFC, a government institution established in 2005, will end its first week of UK roadshows on Tuesday in Scotland as it tries to reach out to British banks and financial services institutions.

This follows previous tours in London and Manchester earlier this month, where the QFC pitched Qatar's "compelling tax regime" and "transparent legal and regulatory environment". 

Like oil giant and fellow GCC member Saudi Arabia, Qatar is attempting to diversify its economy away from reliance on the oil and gas markets, which have suffered in recent times from price drops. As part of this, Qatar has started establishing the Msheireb Downtown Doha - a financial hub touted as akin to New York's Wall Street. 

"There is a race, which has been going on for years, between cities in different Arab Gulf states to become the Gulf Cooperation Council's financial centre," Giorgio Cafiero, the founder of US think-tank Gulf State Analytics told The Telegraph, adding that Dubai is currently leading the regional charge.

At present, Qatari investors own three times more property in Britain than the UK's own monarch - including London's Shard tower and Harrods.

With the UK now on its path out of the European union, the QIA is eyeing up further business opportunities that can be gained from the move.