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Qatar launches first dedicated investment bank

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Points of essence:

  • Qatar’s very own investment bank looks set to bring investment opportunities to Qatar and to invest in lucrative projects internationally. Licensed in 2007, the bank specializes in local and international Sharia’a compliant investment banking opportunities.
  • With Qatar Islamic Bank as the largest single shareholder, the bank aims to tap the market potentials in the UK, France, the GCC, Asia and Southeast Asia, MENASA including exploring for opportunities in the booming China.

QInvest, the largest financial establishment to start operations in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), was licensed in April 2007 with a capital of US$1 billion.

The bank specializes in local and international Sharia’a compliant investment banking opportunities, and is 25% owned by Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), 15% by Gulf Finance House (GFH), and the remaining 60% of equity is held by other strategic, institutional and private investors from Qatar and other GCC countries.

According to Chief Investment Officer Philippe Jouard, “By 2012, there will be 5 trillion dollars looking for a home from the GCC countries. China is a natural absorber of this liquidity surplus. China should see QInvest as a unique way to attract the wealth of the Gulf.”

QInvest is in a unique position to change banking in Qatar as the country’s first dedicated investment bank. With Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jabor Al Thani, son of the Qatari Prime Minister serving as its Chairman, QInvest is a magnet for backing, cash and people. The bank has a two-pronged plan: to bring investment opportunities to Qatar and to invest in lucrative projects internationally.

“We are ambitious about bringing the investment banking platform of choice to Qatar, and being a link between the GCC and the world,” states Jouard.”We want to make sure we give Qatari investors the opportunity to invest in international companies through our local market.”

QInvest is “very agnostic” about geography when investing, and believes in operating its investment portfolios in geographical areas that will provide the best and most appropriate returns for clients and shareholders. This currently entails the UK, France, the GCC, Asia and Southeast Asia, MENASA, and will soon be pursuing new opportunities in China, beginning with two significant real estate investments with China’s Muslim community.

Apart from lucrative real estate investments, Jouard sees other investment opportunities in China, specifically in utilities, infrastructure, logistics, telecommunications, and port facilities.

QInvest is also developing a Green Fund, and hopes to work on projects in China such as the acquisition of wind farms and the development of solar technology. QInvest is also eyeing opportunities between countries such as Kazakhstan and China’s western province, which are developing significant transnational infrastructure to seed future growth in the region.

Jouard believes that the GCC has “an ideal complementary role” with China, and that private and public enterprise should be considering ventures, the development of facilities, and the natural complement between finance and industry.

“Currently the relationship between China and the GCC could be characterized as opportunistic. The region is challenged in that it does not know China that well, and people from China do not know how to get the right contacts in Qatar. We recognize that we are in the early stage of the discussion, and ask how this can change given that interests are aligned.”

In an effort to establish itself as an essential link between business opportunities and capital of the GCC and the rest of the world, QInvest has sequentially built a team from four executives at year’s beginning to one of over a hundred world-class bankers by year’s end. QInvest CEO, Professor Abdul Latif Almeer has stated “we will be hiring the best investment bankers from around the world to achieve our ambitions.”

Prior to joining QInvest, Chief Investment Officer Philippe Jouard headed the Private and Corporate banking business division for the Dexia Group in 10 countries, which followed a 16-year career in finance with prominent banking firms like Credit Suisse, UBS and JP Morgan, & GE Capital. Jouard holds a Master Degree in Management, Economy and Finance from HEC Paris and a degree in International Tax and an Advanced Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to Jouard, “now is the time to be involved with the GCC, and one should seriously consider Qatar. Qatar is catching up to Dubai, and many people recognize that compared with other jurisdictions, the regulatory framework, legal framework, Qatar law for licensee (which follows UK commercial law) raises the bar. Additionally, Qatar’s relationships with the rest of the world are pristine, and that is a big advantage when doing deals, so it’s great to come from Qatar.”

QInvest plans to move quickly into regional markets to exploit the Qatar experience and develop awareness within the Arab region of the QInvest name amongst core groups, and later in ‘08 examine and test international markets with a view to approach that sector more aggressively in 2009.

Real Estate & Infrastructure Development
Private Equity & Venture capital
Debt Capital Market
DCM Sukuk-Securitisation
Structured Finance SF
Corporate Finance CF Qatar IPOS on DSM

QInvest Fact Box
Capitalization: USD $1 billion ($500 million paid-in)

Chairman: Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jabor Al Thani

Chief Executive Officer: Professor Abdul Latif Almeer

Chief Investment Officer: Philippe Jouard

Chief Operations Officer: Mark Loggin

Shareholders: 25% – Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB); 15% – Gulf Finance House (GFH); 60% – strategic & private

Web Address:

Physical Address: QIB Building, 1st Floor, Al Sadd Street, Doha, P.O. Box: 26222, State of Qatar. Tel: +974 424 6666; Fax: +974 444 8446


Written by Suapi Shaffaii

August 26, 2008 at 3:40 am

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