Part 4: Part 4: Licensing Requirements and Process
Article 19 - Application(1) An
Applicationfor a Licenceto conduct Permitted Activitiesmay be made to the QFC Authorityby:(A) a body corporate;(B) a partnership; or(C) an unincorporated association.(2) A Licenceconstitutes an approval, authorisation or licence for the purposes of Article 12(1) of the QFC Law.(3) A Licensed Firmmay apply to the QFC Authorityto vary its Licence. A variation may include:(A) extending a Licensed Firm’s Licenceto include Permitted Activitiesother than those in respect of which it al has a Licence;(B) varying conditions restrictions or requirements imposed on its Licencein accordance with Article 21(1) or 23(2); or(C) withdrawing its Licencein respect of one or more Permitted Activities.(4) The Applicantfor a Licence, variation of a Licenceor withdrawal of Licenceas a whole may withdraw its Applicationby giving the QFC Authoritywritten notice at any time before the QFC Authoritydetermines the Application.
Article 20 - Form and content of Application
Applicationfor a Licenceor variation or withdrawal of a Licenceshall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by the QFC Authorityfrom time to time.
Article 21 - Grant of Licence, variation or withdrawal and rejection of an Application(1) The
QFC Authoritymay:(A) grant an Applicationfor a Licence, variation or withdrawal of a Licenceor for approval of appointment of a Person as a Key Person or Interest Holder of a proposed or existing Licensed Firm either without conditions, restrictions or requirements or with such conditions, restrictions or requirements as it considers appropriate; or(B) reject the Application.(2) The powers and discretion of the QFC Authorityunder Article 21(1) may be exercised having regard to such matters as the QFC Authorityconsiders appropriate, including (without limitation):(A) the position and circumstances of the QFCand the objectives, strategies and priorities of the QFC Authority;(B) the position and circumstances of the Applicant, Application, Licence, Permitted Activity, and any implications or potential implications in respect of the State of Qatar, other states, international financial and business centres, or other bodies, institutions and organisations, and Licensed Firms.(3) The QFC Authoritymay make Rulessetting out the criteria which an Applicantfor a Licence, variation or withdrawal of a Licenceor for approval of appointment of a Person as a Key Person or Interest Holder of a proposed or existing Licensed Firm, must satisfy before an Applicationcan be granted by the QFC Authority. Such criteria may include requirements (as appropriate) relating to:(A) the fitness and propriety of an Applicant, proposed Key Person or Interest Holder having regard to all the circumstances including his connection with any person, the nature of any Permitted Activitythat he carries on or seeks to carry on and the need to ensure that his affairs are conducted soundly and prudently;(B) the legal form that an Applicantmust adopt; and(C) the resources of the Applicant, whether financial or otherwise.(4) Where the QFC Authority:(A) grants an Applicationfor a Licence, variation or withdrawal of a Licenceor approval of appointment of a Person as a Key Person or an Interest Holder of a proposed or existing Licensed Firm, the QFC Authoritymust notify the Applicantaccordingly; or(B) rejects an Applicationfor a Licence,variation or withdrawal of a Licence, or approval of appointment of a Person as a Key Person or an Interest Holder of a proposed or existing Licensed Firm, the QFC Authorityshall promptly inform the Applicantin writing of such refusal and, where requested by the Applicant, the reasons for such refusal, and of the Applicant'sright to appeal that decision to the Tribunal.(5) Where the QFC Authoritygrants an Applicationfor a Licenceor variation of an Licence, it must also notify the Applicantof the Permitted Activityor Activities that may be carried out following such grant (and of any restriction, condition or requirement imposed on the Applicant) in a format which the QFC Authorityconsiders appropriate.(6)(A) The QFC Authoritymay grant an Applicationfor a Licenceor variation of a Licenceto conduct a Permitted Activityof the kinds specified in Schedule 3 of the QFC Law.(B) However, the QFC Authoritymust not grant an Applicationfor a Licenceor variation of a Licenceto conduct a Permitted Activity under Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the QFC Law, unless:(i) the Applicanthas been authorized by the Regulatory Authorityto conduct that activity; or(ii) the QFC Authority, after consulting the QFC Regulatory Authority, is satisfied that the activity meets and will continue to meet any of the following conditions:1. the activity is being conducted under an exemption set out in Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the Financial Services Regulations;2. the activity is not being carried on “by way of business” as that term is defined in Article 25 of the Financial Services Regulations or any rules issued thereunder;3. the activity is excluded under Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Financial Services Regulations; or4. the activity has been otherwise excluded or exempted by the QFC Regulatory Authority from the authorisation requirement. Amended (as from 6th April 2022).
Article 22 - Status of Licence(1) A
Licencegranted pursuant to this Part is not transferable.(2) If the Licensed Firmis a partnership or an unincorporated association:(A) it is licensed to carry on the Permitted Activitiesconcerned in the name of the partnership or unincorporated association; and(B) subject to Article 23, its Licenceis not affected by any change in its membership.
Article 22A - Nationality of Entities(1) All Entities incorporated or registered in the QFC are local and national Entities.(2) Except for branches, an Entity that is incorporated or registered in the QFC has the Qatari nationality.(3) A branch registered in the QFC follows the nationality of its parent.(4) The Qatari nationality does not confer upon the Entity any privileges exclusive to Qatari nationals unless such Entity is wholly owned by Qatari nationals.
Article 23 - Own initiative action by the QFC Authority(1) The
QFC Authoritymay exercise any of the powers or take any of the steps set out in Article 23(2) in respect of a Licensed Firmthat is not an Authorised Firmat any time where it considers it appropriate to do so in accordance with its Objectives, including where it is satisfied that:(A) a Licensed Firmis failing, or is likely to fail, to satisfy applicable criteria;(B) a Licensed Firmhas failed, during a period of at least 12 months, to carry on a Permitted Activityfor which it has a Licence;(C) it is desirable to take such steps to exercise such power in order to protect the interests of clients or customers of a Licensed Firmor the interests of the QFC;(D) a Licensed Firmis in breach of, or has been, in breach of one or more conditions, restrictions or requirements applicable to its Licence;(E) a Licensed Firmis (or has been) otherwise in breach of the QFC Law, these Regulationsor any Rulesor other relevant legislation;(F) a Licensed Firmhas, during the course of making application for a Licenseor at any subsequent time, provided information to the QFC Authoritywhich is false, misleading or deceptive; or(G) a Key Person or Interest Holder of a Licensed Firm is not fit and proper to be a Key Person or Interest Holder.(2) The powers and steps referred to in Article 23(1) are, by written notice to the Licensed Firm, to:(A) impose or vary such conditions, restrictions and requirements on a Licenceas the QFC Authorityshall consider appropriate;(B) require a Personspecified in the condition, restriction or requirement to take or refrain from taking such action as the QFC Authorityconsiders appropriate;(C) withdraw the Licensed Firm's Licenceor vary its Licenceto remove one or more Permitted Activities; or(D) take any other action against a Licensed Firm, Key Person or Interest Holder.(3) Subject to Article 23(4), the QFC Authoritymay only exercise powers or take steps pursuant to Article 23(2) where it has provided the relevant Licensed Firmbeforehand with an appropriate opportunity to make representations to the QFC Authorityin relation to the proposed steps and has given due consideration to those representations in determining the steps to be taken.(4) The requirement on the QFC Authorityunder paragraph 23(3) above shall not apply:(A) where the QFC Authorityconcludes that any delay likely to arise as a result of the requirement to allow representations contained in Article 23(3) is prejudicial to the interests of the clients or customers of the Licensed Firm, or the interests of the QFC(provided in such case that the QFC Authorityshall provide the Licensed Firmwith an opportunity to make such representations promptly after such powers have been exercised or steps taken and shall give due consideration to such representations); or(B) where the powers to be exercised or steps to be taken follow a determination by the QFC Authoritypursuant to procedures as set forth in its rules or a decision by the Tribunalrelating to or affecting the Licensed Firmin question. Amended (as from 6th April 2022).
Article 24 – Qualification and Appointment of Auditor(1) An
Applicationto be appointed as an auditor for a QFC Firm under the Companies Regulationsor the LLP Regulationsshall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by the QFC Authorityfrom time to time.(2) The criteria for the qualification of such auditors shall be those set out in Rulesdeveloped by the QFC Authoritypursuant to Article 21(3) as they may apply to auditors seeking to become a Licensed Firm.(3) A Licensed Firmwhose Permitted Activitiesinclude that of an auditor shall not be required to file a separate application under this Article.