Qatar support services

Qatar corporate banking options

    Qatar business bank account setup

  • Where possible, Healy Consultants bank account opening team will liaise with the Qatar bank to prevent our Client having to travel for an account opening interview;
  • Our Client deposits the paid up share capital of US$55,000 and supplies Healy Consultants with a certificate of deposit and bank statement. This capital must remain in the corporate bank account for at least one month, thereafter can be withdrawn;
  • The bank account facilities include internet banking, multi currency services, cheques, and credit cards with very high daily limits on cash withdrawal at ATMs worldwide;
  • There is no limitation on the inflow or outflow of funds for remittances of profits, debt service, capital, capital gains, and returns on intellectual property or imported inputs;
  • The Qatari currency is the Riyal and is fixed to the US dollar at QR3.65 = US$1.7. There are no restrictions on converting the local currency to any foreign currency as the currency is fully and freely convertible;
  • Healy Consultants will be pleased to open a Qatar corporate bank account without travel. It is a time consuming task, Healy Consultants will shelter our Client from the administrative challenges. As you can appreciate, it is a difficult task to obtain bank account approval through a newly formed company, when shareholders and directors and bank signatories reside overseas. Healy Consultants will prepare a business plan for the bank to optimize the probability of business bank account approval. Depending on our Client business, there is a 10% probability the banks will request a bank signatory to travel to Qatar for a one hour bank interview. Healy Consultants will try its best to negotiate with the bank for a travel exemption. If our Client must travel to Qatar for company bank account opening, Healy Consultants will refund our Client US$950;
  • The banks enjoys ultimate power of approval of company bank account applications. Consequently, guaranteed success is outside of Healy Consultants’ control. What is inside our control is the preparation and submission of a high quality bank application that maximizes the likelihood of approval. To date, we enjoy a 100% approval record because of our global banking relationships and determination.

Trade finance

  • Qatar banks are willing to provide finance to local companies if the following conditions are met i) good business-plan ii) availability of security iii) experience of business owners iv) last 3 years audited financial statements v) realistic feasibility study vi) project strength and weaknesses analysis (SWOT);
  • Trade finance includes i) bank guarantees ii) letters of credit iii) finance against trust receipt iv) document against payment and against acceptance;
  • Corporate finance in the form of a loan, overdraft, or simply preferential credit terms.

Qatari banking

  • Qatar corporate and personal banking products and customer service are of a poor standard;
  • Because Qatar is not perceived as a tax haven, it is not on the list of black listed destinations. Qatar is not on the OECD ‘blacklist’ of tax havens (nor the FATF blacklist). Qatar is neither a member of the OECD nor of the EU. Consequently, Qatar banks are not obliged to share customer information with international governments;
  • Qatari banks offer multiple currencies, internet banking and telephone banking, checking accounts, savings accounts, debit and credit cards, fixed term deposits, and wealth management;
  • Healy Consultants recommended banks in Qatar include HSBC and Standard Chartered. Other Qatar leading banks include Qatar National Bank, Ahli Bank of Qatar, Mashreq Bank, Doha Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, BNP Paribas, and the Commercial Bank of Qatar;
  • Healy Consultants can open a Qatari bank account within 3 weeks and obtain internet banking approval within the following 3 weeks. Our fee for this service will be US$3,950.

Qatar agents or distributors or sponsors

  • Foreign companies cannot do business in Qatar without a Qatar partner or agent or sponsor to help handle i) government bureaucracy including issuing exit and re-entry visas or ii) helping our Client navigate through the upper echelons of a Qatar ministry. Healy Consultants assists our Clients find a suitable Qatar agent or sponsor following Qatar company formation;
  • Before contracting a Qatar agent or distributor, Healy Consultants recommends our Client i) visit Qatar for a face to face meeting with the agent ii) obtain detailed due diligence from the agent including passport copy, resume, professional reference letters, etc iii) engage a local lawyer or accountant to critically review legal agency agreements;
  • The agency contract clearly stipulates i) the agent will not interfere with the company’s management or activities and ii) he will be paid a lump sum and/or a percentage of profits or turnover and iii) the agency agreement is for a fixed term and expires on a future agreed date, unless both parties agree renewal and iv) select binding arbitration as the method of dispute resolution with the arbitration centres in Europe or North America.
  • To minimize business set up costs in Qatar, our Clients sometimes implement the following strategies:
    • Through a local agent or distributor, a foreign company is allowed sell its goods and services directly to Qatari customers. A commercial agent generally acts as the exclusive provider of services of the foreign principal or exclusive seller in Qatar for the foreign produced goods. This option is best for Clients who wish to do business in Qatar without pursuing Qatar subsidiary formation;
    • Foreign companies can also sell their franchise to a Qatar commercial agent or distributor, eliminating the need to i) hire local staff and ii) incorporate a local company. Examples include Hertz, Baskin Robbins, and Pizza Hut;
  • We have heard of Qataris who continued sponsoring their foreign partners for a residence visas for many years after the foreign entrepreneur wound up their business in Qatar, for no other reason than good will;
  • We also know foreign entrepreneurs who left Qatar after a few weeks because they selected the wrong person: in each case the foreign investor was substantially worse off financially.

Agency rules

  • The Qatar Commercial Agents Law No.(8) 2002 regulates the appointment of commercial agents, sales representatives, and distributors within Qatar. A commercial agent is appointed to distribute, sell, offer, or provide goods or services within the Qatar for commission or profit;
  • Commercial agents must be Qatar nationals or companies owned entirely by Qatari nationals. Commercial agents must be registered with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to engage in commercial agency activities;
  • The Commercial Affairs Department at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce published standard forms of agency and distributorship contracts;
  • The Agent is entitled to a commission determined by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, which will not exceed 5% of the value of goods imported for trading.

Benefits of agents

  • Government departments play an important role facilitating business in Qatar. All businesses deal with government departments on a regular basis. Qatar agents help foreign companies with government bureaucracy;
  • Whilst English is widely spoken in business and government circles, all correspondence with the government authorities is conducted in Arabic. The agent will be of great help with this matter;
  • Qatari nationals prefer to do business with someone after they are properly introduced and have met face-to-face. A Qatar agent can act as a “go-between” to vouch for the reliability of both parties;
  • Foreigners, whether individuals or corporations, are not permitted to import goods and services on their own account into Qatar. They must sell their goods to a Qatari agent or distributor which will then market them locally.

Problems with agents

  • Disputes with Qatar agents and distributors causes serious problems for foreign investors. It is important foreign investors take steps to protect themselves including i) completing thorough due diligence of the proposed Qatar agent ii) retaining legal counsel to review and approve a well-drafted agency agreement;
  • Commercial agents are entitled to exclusive territory in Qatar for the specified products. If the agent is not the consignee, he is entitled to prevent company products being imported into Qatar;
  • Under a registered agency, commission is payable on all sales of products in Qatar, even if the sales are not due to the activities of the agent;
  • Commercial agents are entitled to receive compensation from the principal if the agency is terminated or not renewed without substantial justification. The agent can prevent the foreign company appointing a replacement agent;
  • The majority of company visas and licenses are sponsored by Qatari nationals, giving the latter indirect control over the business;
  • Qatar courts do not rely on a formal system of precedent and there is no formal reporting of court decisions, which lead to unpredictability in litigious matters. All laws issued in Qatar are issued in Arabic and formal translations are generally not available. Also, proceedings before the Qatari courts take place in Arabic;
  • Consequently, Healy Consultants recommends entrepreneurs doing business in Qatar to select binding arbitration as the method of dispute resolution. There are three possible centers of dispute arbitration in Qatar i) the Qatar International Centre for Arbitration (QICA) in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry ii) the QFC Tribunal and iii) arbitration centers in Europe or North America.

Frequently asked questions

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Contact us

For additional information on our formation support services in Qatar, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Karen Lee, directly:
client relationship officer - Karen