Profile of a regulator: Roscoe Banks

Roscoe Banks – Qatar Financial Centre Authority (“QFCA”)

Role:  Legal Director
Attorney, Webber Wentzel Bowens, Johannesburg;
Solicitor, Harbottle & Lewis, London;
Senior Legal Counsel, Shell International Limited
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m currently in my 5th year of living in Doha, Qatar having previously worked in private practice and the oil and gas industry in London for 12 years.  I enjoy travelling and Qatar is ideally placed for that.  I enjoy water sports and am looking to start a small agricultural project in the near future (although my wife thinks it’s a mid-life crisis!)
What might a typical ‘day in the life’ at QFCA entail?
My role at the QFCA is very diverse and includes advising on all legal aspects of the QFCA’s policies and governance, drafting legislation, assisting our strategy and business development teams, overseeing all legal issues arising within the procurement function and advising on various large projects including an exciting real estate project that the QFCA is currently involved in.
Tell us about your organisation’s remit
The QFCA is an independent legal entity established by the Government of the State of Qatar in 2005.  The QFCA is the commercial and strategic “arm” of the Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”), an on-shore business centre which has become an integral part of Qatar’s economy and rapid growth story and which is fulfilling its mandate to help build a world-class financial and business environment in Qatar. The QFC provides a platform for domestic, regional and international growth and continues to attract a broad range of leading regulated and non-regulated firms, both domestic and international.The QFCA is also responsible for the commercial strategy of the QFC and for developing relationships with the global business community and other key bodies and organizations both within and outside Qatar.The QFC currently incorporates the following bodies:

  • The QFCA;
  • The QFC Regulatory Authority;
  • The Qatar International Court & Dispute Resolution Centre; and…

In recognition of the importance of providing financial sector-related education, the QFCA established the Qatar Financial Business Academy (“QFBA”). The QFBA is the academic “arm” of the QFCA and helps to develop and deliver world-class educational courses to various entities within Qatar.

What projects are you currently working on?
One of the projects that we are currently working on is the implementation of a Code of Conduct for the law firms and lawyers that provide legal services in or from the QFC.  Because most of the QFC law firms are affiliates of firms from a wide variety of countries, we want to ensure that the conduct of the QFC law firms and their lawyers complies with international best practice.  The draft code has been released for public consultation.  We are also looking to implement a code of conduct for the QFC’s accountants and auditors.
What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation? The QFCA’s desire is to see sustained growth in the establishment of new and varied business sectors within Qatar. There is a continuing drive to diversify the economy as set out in Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and the QFCA is playing a vital role in achieving that objective by working in the national interest to create new markets and opportunities.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievements in life, and in work?
I would consider my greatest success in life as being in the process of raising 3 children!  They are a real delight and the inspiration behind nearly everything I do.
From a work perspective, the QFCA’s Legal Team recently won the 2017 Middle East Legal Award for the Best Legal Department (Government Department, Agency or Public Body) which was a wonderful recognition of all the hard work we’ve put in to building the team into what it is today.
What is the most unusual/surprising thing you have had to deal with at the QFCA?
I would say that the sheer variety of matters that my role encompasses has been both surprising and enjoyable.  On any given day, I could be dealing with a large procurement contract, drafting legislation or advising on a policy-related matter.  There really is never a dull moment!
What interests you most about your work?
Because the QFCA is a fairly young organisation, it is still in the process of developing and evolving.  Having the opportunity to address new challenges with novel ideas and creative thinking is very rewarding and helps to keep my role both stimulating and varied.  I also really enjoy working with the diverse team at the QFCA and interacting with people from different cultures and with different perspectives.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
I’m very much looking forward to meeting with other regulators to discuss common challenges and current trends; to network with professionals and to spend a bit of time in the beautiful city of Singapore!I’m also hoping to meet colleagues from the SRA and a few regulatory lawyers with whom I’ve worked in the past on certain projects.  I’m hoping to hear more about the projects being undertaken by other regulators and to identify those that might be of benefit to the QFCA.
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