Australia has the largest pool of funds under management in Asia. As the financial centre for Australia, Sydney was the clear choice for Doha Bank to establish its Representative Office.
Qatar's largest private commercial bank chooses Sydney
The Doha Bank Australia Representative Office was established in Sydney in December 2012, to promote Australian business to its branches in Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait.
Doha Bank has become the first bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in the Middle East to establish its presence in Australia. This represents the Bank's long-term commitment to act as a catalyst for trade between the two countries as well as being a key strategic partner that can help build bridges between Qatari and Australian companies and projects.
The Representative Office also assists Australian companies that are doing business in the Middle East, including presenting investment opportunities.
Trade relations between Australia and the GCC region are growing and the two regions continue to discover new avenues for partnership, particularly in industry and specialised services.
Opportunities for clients
The Doha Bank Australia Representative Office holds regular trade conferences, allowing its clients to network and do business with each other, and assists clients who are tendering for work in the Middle East.
Doha Bank is working towards building stronger relationships with Australia through these conferences and joining government-sponsored Trade Delegations.
The Chief Representative of Doha Bank Australia, Hilton Wood, said the Middle East is home to a number of thriving economies with good opportunities for Australian companies.
"We assist our clients to bid on and hopefully win contracts, which is important in the lead up to the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022, where there is a pipeline of contracts worth billions of dollars," Mr Wood said.
Group Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank, Dr R. Seetharaman, said Qatar has an investment plan as outlined in the Qatari National Development Strategy 2011–2016.
Australia's financial capital
Sydney, capital of the state of NSW, is also the financial capital of Australia. Of the 61 international financial institutions with a presence in Australia, 57 are headquartered in Sydney.
Sydney offers a highly-educated workforce. In August 2013 approximately 176,000 people were employed in the finance and insurance industry, representing 5% of the workforce, and 42% of all people employed in the industry across Australia.
Finance and insurance is the largest industry in NSW, contributing A$60 billion to the state's economy in 2013–14 and accounting for 8% of Australia's GDP.
Mr Wood said Sydney was an obvious choice when the bank opened its first Representative Office in Australia in December 2012.
"Sydney is the centre of leading companies and financial service firms," Mr Wood said.
"It was first in mind because of the ease of doing business, and opportunities to network and interact with other businesses."
Australia offers a strong and stable economy, with a well-regulated financial system. Australia has the third largest pool of funds under management in the world and the largest in Asia, exceeding A$2.3 trillion by the March quarter of 2014.
The World Economic Forum rates Australia as having one of the world's best performing global financial systems. Australia's banking sector is rated as the fifth most stable and sound in the world, and the nation is rated third for the number of procedures needed to start a business.
Assisted by the NSW Government
The department identified the Middle East as one of 10 priority markets for NSW. The department has opened a trade and investment office in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, part of the thriving GCC region.
The NSW Trade & Investment Commissioner in the Middle East provided in-market advice and assistance to Doha Bank before it established its presence in Sydney.
"Doha Bank had other Australian states to look at to open an office, but NSW was the clear choice because of the service and support it provided," Mr Wood said.
The department advised Doha bank on infrastructure investment opportunities, and provided introductions to NSW Government officials.
The NSW Government also introduced Doha Bank to NSW companies doing business in the Middle East, enabling the bank to offer its services.
"It was very helpful in being able to continue to grow our operations in Sydney," Mr Wood said.
"We're in a unique position where we can reciprocate, and we have also provided referrals to NSW Trade & Investment with companies wishing to do business with NSW."
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Publication date: December 2014