Farah Jaafar Crossby, Labuan IBFC
15 April 2021Asia analysis

Labuan IBFC signs MoU with Qatar to facilitate mutual recognition of financial entities

Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC) in an agreement designed to strengthen financial ties between the two centres.

The two groups have committed to collaborate on certain objectives including, but not limited to, marketing, awareness activities and identification of mutually beneficial initiatives. The MoU stipulates facilitating the recognition of insurers, banks and other financial sector entities in their respective markets, subject to meeting the other jurisdiction's regulatory requirements. The centres will also explore mutual recognition of regulations for relevant financial institutions via the competent authorities of each jurisdiction.

The MoU was signed by Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, chief executive officer (CEO) at QFC, and Farah Jaafar-Crossby, CEO of Labuan IBFC, on April 15, 2021.

QFC and Labuan IBFC will look to create a mutually beneficial framework to allow relevant financial institutions in each jurisdiction to operate in the other, subject to the approval of all competent authorities.

Both financial centres also agree to collaborate on financial sector domains, such as setting up business operations with respect to Islamic finance, digital finance, capital markets, asset and investment management, and other relevant financial institutions and financial service providers within their ecosystems.

Jaafar-Crossby said this agreement signals Labuan IBFC’s growth ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. “QFC’s legal and operational framework, as well as their adherence to international standards of transparency and regulatory robustness, provides an ideal platform from which our intermediaries may leverage towards making inroads into the MENA region,” she said.

Al-Jaida said the collaboration will allow both financial centres to expand into strategic and lucrative markets.

“Labuan IBFC offers a strategic platform to expand into the burgeoning Asian market,” he said. “This MoU reinforces our focus on growing Qatar’s financial services sector, in line with our 2022 strategy, by attracting international firms to set up in Qatar and creating pathways for QFC firms to expand globally.”

Labuan IBFC has welcomed more than 900 licensed intermediaries since its inception in 1990, growing beyond serving Malaysia-based entities to include international organisations in re/insurance, risk management, banking, leasing, capital markets and wealth management. It is also home to the world’s first sukuk and is acknowledged as an Islamic financial hub.

The QFC offers registered companies up to 100 percent foreign ownership, 100 percent repatriation of profits, 10 percent corporate tax on locally sourced profits and an extensive double taxation treaty network with over 85 countries. It has a legal environment based on English common law and allows trading in any currency.