QATAR - Finance
CEO, Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE)
In addition to serving on its board of directors, Rashid Al Mansoori is also CEO of QSE. He is also a board member of the Qatar Financial Centre and the Qatar Finance and Business Academy. In 2017, he was re-elected as a director of the board of the World Federation of Exchanges, the global association for exchanges and clearing houses. Under his leadership, QSE has emerged as one of the leading stock markets in the Middle East and the GCC. His ambitious agenda to promote Qatar’s capital markets contributed to the country’s upgrade to emerging market status by MSCI, Standard & Poors, and FTSE. He is also passionate about streamlining the legislative and regulatory framework to the benefit of investors and the wider community.
How will QSE keep up with its excellent results from 2018?
In 2018, market performance exceeded 20%, and market capital increased by 24%. The company’s dividend was 6.6%. 2018 was an excellent year for the QSE. The next challenge is trying to keep up this good performance in 2019. To achieve this, we are doing a number of things. One is to include more companies in the Emerging Markets Index and support these companies to reach their goals. We have completed a stock split that is aimed at increasing the liquidity of some companies and encourage investors to return to the market. We are also doing some education programs to provide expatriates with information about how to invest in Qatar.
What benefits can expatriates looking to invest in Qatar expect to see from having access to the QSE?
QSE is an alternative for investments when expatriates do not know what to do with their savings. We open up investment in the stock market for everybody in Qatar. What option do you have to invest as an expatriate in Qatar? You can go to the bank or simply invest through a fund. Hence, we are giving them opportunities with this new company to find alternative forms of local investment.
How does investing in stocks compare with investing as real estate at the moment?
Investing in the markets is a cash equivalent because you can liquidate your assets immediately through buying and selling. If you invest in real estate and want to get out, you cannot always find a buyer. Furthermore, if you are a small investor you cannot afford to acquire a large building or do a development. The only alternative is the banks, where the interest rates are very low. By comparison if you go to the stock market, hand pick your stock, and understand what you are doing, you will get better returns and good growth in your shares. Investors just need to open an account with QSE; this is how they receive their dividends. You also need to have a bank account in Qatar, but this is a requirement we are reconsidering currently. You can invest through a custodian, such as an international brokerage company.
The economy is going through a process of diversification, with industry and food security booming. Are these changes reflected in the QSE?
There are two sides to this. There are government companies that we would like to see listed as part of the country’s privatization program, but there are also family-owned businesses in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, industrial, pharmaceutical, real estate, and healthcare that we will continue to work with. We are seeing a high degree of interest in the stock exchange from these companies and are very confident we can maintain our position as the second-largest exchange in the region.
What are your main plans and goals for 2019-2020?
Staying ahead is our plan. This includes all the things we are doing such as working to list more companies and products and studying the derivatives market. We need to keep fit to stay ahead, which we are doing by pushing all these new things in the market.
What are the main investment opportunities in Qatar for international investors in the upcoming year?
Industry, manufacturing, and agriculture are important sectors that we further have to build on.