Michael Lesser is to join the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) as managing director, Supervision. Lesser is currently head of Bank Supervision, at the New York State Banking Department. Depository institutions under the Department's supervision have assets totalling more than $1.5trn and include the New York offices of most of the world's largest banks.

Qatar is on course to be the world's biggest exporter of liquid natural gas and its wide range of financial initiatives includes project finance of around $130bn over the next five years. The volume of business to be done is attracting a stream of licence applications to the QFCRA. Licences have already been granted to leading institutions such as AXA Investment Managers, Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.

Phillip Thorpe, chairman and CEO of the QFCRA, said: “I am delighted that Michael is joining us at the QFC. He has unmatched experience in the supervision of financial institutions gained in one of the world's most demanding marketplaces. His knowledge and reputation will give those doing business in the QFC enhanced confidence that regulation in Qatar is robustly independent and of a comparable standard to New York, or London.”