First Abu Dhabi Bank, FAB, has notified the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, QFCRA, that it will relinquish its Qatar Financial Centre, QFC, branch licence and permanently close its QFC branch.
According to a statement issued by FAB, the decision to close its QFC branch follows "many months of baseless actions by the QFCRA that have made it impossible for FAB’s operations to continue in Qatar."
The QFCRA alleges FAB conducted transactions intended to manipulate the Qatari riyal. "These allegations are entirely false and FAB unequivocally denies them. FAB conducts its business in accordance with the highest professional standards and in full compliance with the laws and regulations of all the jurisdictions in which it operates," the statement added.
It went on to say that FAB made good faith efforts to engage with the QFCRA to resolve the matter, with FAB’s QFC branch providing all relevant and responsive information that it was required to disclose pursuant to QFC law.
Despite FAB’s attempts to resolve matters with the QFCRA, it is clear that no solution is attainable. Consequently, FAB has been left with no option but to make a business decision to close its QFC branch.
"Treating FAB QFC branch’s customers fairly is of paramount importance," the statement continued, adding that FAB will safeguard the rights and interests of such customers by effecting an orderly wind-down of the QFC branch’s operations. FAB has already put in place appropriate measures to protect all of its QFC branch employees and customers.
The QFCRA’s actions have no impact outside of FAB’s Qatar branch, which contributed less than 0.03 percent of FAB’s full year 2018 net profit, and relinquishing the QFC branch licence is not expected to have any material impact on future Group performance or strategy, the statement concluded.