• Part 4: Part 4: Licensing Requirements and Process

    • Article 19 - Application

      (1) An Application for a Licence to conduct Permitted Activities may be made to the QFC Authority by:
      (A) a body corporate;
      (B) a partnership; or
      (C) an unincorporated association.
      (2) A Licence constitutes an approval, authorisation or licence for the purposes of Article 12(1) of the QFC Law.
      (3) A Licensed Firm may apply to the QFC Authority to vary its Licence. A variation may include:
      (A) extending a Licensed Firm’s Licence to include Permitted Activities other than those in respect of which it al has a Licence;
      (B) varying conditions restrictions or requirements imposed on its Licence in accordance with Article 21(1) or 23(2); or
      (C) withdrawing its Licence in respect of one or more Permitted Activities.
      (4) The Applicant for a Licence, variation of a Licence or withdrawal of Licence as a whole may withdraw its Application by giving the QFC Authority written notice at any time before the QFC Authority determines the Application.

    • Article 20 - Form and content of Application

      An Application for a Licence or variation or withdrawal of a Licence shall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by the QFC Authority from time to time.

    • Article 21 - Grant of Licence, variation or withdrawal and rejection of an Application

      (1) The QFC Authority may:
      (A) grant an Application for a Licence, variation or withdrawal of a Licence 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 Authority under Article 21(1) may be exercised having regard to such matters as the QFC Authority considers appropriate, including (without limitation):
      (A) the position and circumstances of the QFC and 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 Authority may make Rules setting out the criteria which an Applicant for a Licence, or for variation or withdrawal of a Licence, must satisfy before an Application can be granted by the QFC Authority. Such criteria may include requirements (as appropriate) relating to:
      (A) the fitness and propriety of an Applicant having regard to all the circumstances including his connection with any person, the nature of any Permitted Activity that 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 Applicant must adopt; and
      (C) the resources of the Applicant, whether financial or otherwise.
      (4) Where the QFC Authority:
      (A) grants an Application for a Licence or variation or withdrawal of a Licence, the QFC Authority must notify the Applicant accordingly; or
      (B) rejects an Application for a Licence or variation or withdrawal of a Licence, the QFC Authority shall promptly inform the Applicant in writing of such refusal and, where requested by the Applicant, the reasons for such refusal, and of the Applicant's right to appeal that decision to the Tribunal.
      (5) Where the QFC Authority grants an Application for a Licence or variation of an Licence, it must also notify the Applicant of the Permitted Activity or 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 Authority considers appropriate.
      (A) The QFC Authority may grant an Application for a Licence or variation of a Licence to conduct a Permitted Activity of the kinds specified in Schedule 3 of the QFC Law.
      (B) However, the QFC Authority must not grant an Application for a Licence or variation of a Licence to conduct a Permitted Activity under Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the QFC Law, unless:
      (i) the Applicant has been authorized by the Regulatory Authority to 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;
      4. the activity has been otherwise excluded or exempted by the QFC Regulatory Authority from the authorisation requirement.

    • Article 22 - Status of Licence

      (1) A Licence granted pursuant to this Part is not transferable.
      (2) If the Licensed Firm is a partnership or an unincorporated association:
      (A) it is licensed to carry on the Permitted Activities concerned in the name of the partnership or unincorporated association; and
      (B) subject to Article 23, its Licence is 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 Authority may exercise any of the powers or take any of the steps set out in Article 23(2) in respect of a Licensed Firm that is not an Authorised Firm at any time where it considers it appropriate to do so in accordance with its Objectives, including where it is satisfied that:
      (A) a Licensed Firm is failing, or is likely to fail, to satisfy applicable criteria;
      (B) a Licensed Firm has failed, during a period of at least 12 months, to carry on a Permitted Activity for 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 Firm or the interests of the QFC;
      (D) a Licensed Firm is in breach of, or has been, in breach of one or more conditions, restrictions or requirements applicable to its Licence;
      (E) a Licensed Firm is (or has been) otherwise in breach of the QFC Law, these Regulations or any Rules or other relevant legislation; or
      (F) a Licensed Firm has, during the course of making application for a License or at any subsequent time, provided information to the QFC Authority which is false, misleading or deceptive.
      (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 Licence as the QFC Authority shall consider appropriate;
      (B) require a Person specified in the condition, restriction or requirement to take or refrain from taking such action as the QFC Authority considers appropriate; or
      (C) withdraw the Licensed Firm's Licence or vary its Licence to remove one or more Permitted Activities.
      (3) Subject to Article 23(4), the QFC Authority may only exercise powers or take steps pursuant to Article 23(2) where it has provided the relevant Licensed Firm beforehand with an appropriate opportunity to make representations to the QFC Authority in 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 Authority under paragraph 23(3) above shall not apply:
      (A) where the QFC Authority concludes 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 Authority shall provide the Licensed Firm with 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 Authority pursuant to procedures as set forth in its rules or a decision by the Tribunal relating to or affecting the Licensed Firm in question.

    • Article 24 – Qualification and Appointment of Auditor

      (1) An Application to be appointed as an auditor for a QFC Firm under the Companies Regulations or the LLP Regulations shall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by the QFC Authority from time to time.
      (2) The criteria for the qualification of such auditors shall be those set out in Rules developed by the QFC Authority pursuant to Article 21(3) as they may apply to auditors seeking to become a Licensed Firm.
      (3) A Licensed Firm whose Permitted Activities include that of an auditor shall not be required to file a separate application under this Article.

    • Article 25 - Right to refer matters to the Tribunal

      Any decision made by the QFC Authority pursuant to Articles 19 or 22 may be referred to the Tribunal by the Applicant or Licensed Firm to which the decision relates for review under the Tribunal and Dispute Resolution Regulations.