Banking & Finance: Islamic Finance: London
This magic circle giant remains one of the most formidable players in the world of Islamic finance. Clients appreciate the team's track record in the field, stating that it has been "a good performer for a number of years." Market sources are also quick to recognise the quality on offer here, noting the team's regular involvement in "innovative ground-breaking deals." The firm's general banking and capital markets expertise is also widely recognised as a real boost for the team. In standout recent work, the team recently advised Saudi Electricity Company on its first sukuk issuance, a USD1.75 billion dual-series issue.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Roger Wedderburn-Day is "a fantastic lawyer and is an easy person to work with." Wedderburn-Day has a highly regarded debt capital markets practice and is also recognised for his sukuk work.
Atif Hanif is described as "a smart guy," and "one to watch." He led the team's advice to Saudi Electric Company on the aforementioned USD1.75 dual-series sukuk issue.
This "very impressive" team is regularly active on "big, high-profile deals." Clients are impressed by the "undoubted quality" on offer, and are comforted by the almost unparalleled resources the firm is able to commit to deals. The team acts on all facets of Islamic finance work and remains one of the go-to sources of advice for the most sophisticated clients in the market.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Derivatives expert Habib Motani boasts a thriving Islamic finance practice and is widely recognised as "one of the best" operators in the London market.
This team continues to operate in the upper echelons of the London Islamic finance market, acting on an impressive mixture of deals. The team's recent highlights include advising Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on a USD500 million sukuk issuance. An example of the team's involvement in market leading matters comes with its representation of the key group of investors in the GoldenBelt sukuk in what is the first ever international Middle Eastern sukuk to enter full litigation.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Abradat Kamalpour is described by peers in the market as "very good," and a "good guy to work with." He is the leading figure in the team and led its advice on both the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and GoldenBelt matters mentioned above.
In addition to its substantive expertise, this team is winning a lot of followers in the market thanks to its outstanding client service. Sources are quick to praise the "partner attention" on offer here, noting that the team is "always very proactive in terms of providing solutions." Peers are also quick to recognise that the team is a growing presence in the London Islamic finance market.
Subsequent to publication, SNR Denton LLP, Salans LLP and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP merged to form Dentons in April 2013.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Top-rated Matthew Sapte continues to attract praise from a wide array of sources. Interviewees note his "invaluable contacts and knowledge of emerging markets," and describe him as "incredibly knowledgeable and very helpful."
Richard de Belder is also seen as a "very knowledgeable guy" who "knows his market extremely well."
Clients are full of praise for the quality of service on offer here and characterise the King & Spalding team as "personable, very reactive to our requirements and flexible." Clients also appreciate the fact that the team "operates very efficiently between London, Dubai and New York." The team recently advised Islamic Development Bank on its trust certificate issuance, which was handled through a Jersey-incorporated SPV, IDB Sukuk.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients describe Michael Rainey as "very good in terms of articulating issues." Peers acknowledge him to be a "very smart lawyer."
"A respected practice," Norton Rose's London-based Islamic finance team has a deep understanding of the market in which it has been active for 30 years. The team is well placed to advise on a broad range of Islamic finance matters, and is particularly noted for its "outstanding associates." The team's standing is reflected in its instruction from the government of the Republic of Indonesia to advise on the country's landmark USD1 billion international sukuk issuance.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Farmida Bi is recognised as "one of the top names in the field." Sources identify her as the key figure in the practice, and her standing in the market is universally recognised. She led the team's advice to the Indonesian government on its abovementioned sukuk issuance.
In October 2012, Herbert Smith merged with Australian firm Freehills to become Herbert Smith Freehills. This team retains its position in the market having recently undertaken a number of pieces of eye-catching work. Peers acknowledge that the team is staffed with "good people" who boast coal face knowledge of a wide range of Islamic finance matters. The team has recently advised Qatar Islamic Bank (UK) in connection with a unique Shari'a compliant capital protected note issuance product.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrew Roberts is a key contact.
Sources say this "very good" team has achieved a high degree of "visibility in the market." The firm as a whole is recognised as being among the top global players in the field and the London office also continues to attract volumes of high-quality work. The team recently advised Tufton Oceanic (Middle East) on the formation of a Shari'a compliant shipping investment fund.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Austen Hall is a key contact in London.
The London office of this magic circle firm supplements its outstanding banking practice with this highly-regarded Islamic finance team. Sources recognise that the team is "active in the market," and draw particular attention to its expertise on sukuk matters. With offices in Dubai and Singapore, the firm has a significant network of support for this team.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Brown is a key contact in London.
This team's practice is reflective of Milbank's firm-wide strengths, focusing as it does on the financing of major projects. In this field in particular, clients value the fact that it is able to call upon genuine projects expertise to sit alongside the team's understanding of Shari'a compliance. The team recently advised on the USD3.4 billion financing of the Marafiq Integrated Independent Water and Power project in Saudi Arabia.
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Dewar is widely recognised as an expert in the field of projects and is also hailed as "a good name" in the field of Islamic finance.
Peers are quick to recognise that this team enjoys a "good reputation" in the market. The team advises on the full range of Islamic finance structures and advises clients across an impressive spectrum of sectors. The team is especially recognised for its work on real estate financing. The team has a strong track record in the field, having advised London International Hospital on the first sukuk proposed to be issued in the UK following the 2009 Finance Act.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Hamid Yunis is a "respected name" who is also considered to be "a nice guy to work with." In addition to his Islamic finance expertise, his practice has a wider focus on projects work.
This team has established a significant profile in the market and is best known for its work on real estate transactions involving Islamic finance. The firm has several offices in the Middle East, ensuring that clients have significant resources to call upon. Sources say the team is "very commercial" and "very organised on transaction management." The team has recently advised on the formation of Bank Nizwa, the first Shari'a-compliant bank in Oman, and its IPO.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicholas Edmones is a key contact.
Clients describe this team as "pragmatic," "sensible" and "very responsive." The team is widely recognised for its structuring knowledge, and advises on a range of issues including asset finance, real estate finance, capital markets and regulatory matters. The team's client list includes Gulf International Bank, Islamic Bank of Britain and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say that Saleem Malik "knows the clients' and funders' interests and really works towards the deal." Clients also appreciate his "constructive" approach.
This team earns praise for its "excellent" advice, with one interviewee stating: "They understood the transaction structure and how to handle everything." The firm has a significant network of offices across the world, and has a noteworthy practice founded on funds transactions. The team's recent client wins include Qatar Islamic Bank and Gatehouse Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Jonathan Lawrence continues to enjoy the respect of the market. "He is a real talent," enthuses one interviewee, who adds that Lawrence "has a lot of great experience in the area."
The cornerstone of this team's reputation is its expertise in advising clients on Shari'a-compliant project finance. The London team is part of a firm-wide network of Islamic finance expertise that also includes the firm's Abu Dhabi, New York and Singapore offices. The team recently advised lenders and Islamic finance institutions in connection with the USD500 million financing of a gas-fired power plant in Pakistan.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tim Pick is a key contact.
This team continues to "punch above its weight," with clients full of praise for the breadth of advice on offer. The team's recent workload has included advice on sukuk matters, syndicated Islamic finance facilities, structured Islamic finance programmes and Shari'a compliant funds. The team's clients include Qatar Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Phillip Abbot is a key contact in London.
The core of this team's practice is its work on project finance matters. The team leverages the firm's strong derivatives expertise, and has also developed a strong reputation for its work on sukuk matters. The team recently advised the co-ordinating committee of lenders on the restructuring of approximately AED2.8 billion of Abu Dhabi utilities company Tabreed’s debt.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sajjad Khoshroo is described as a "very well-rounded and experienced lawyer." Interviewees are quick to praise "his command of Islamic finance and his legal skills in general."
Latham & Watkins LLP is home to the "well-known" Craig Nethercott
who is described as "one of the leaders in the field"
and "one of the top practitioners on the energy side of deals."
Sources add: "He is definitely a very smart lawyer who knows his Islamic finance very well."
Associate to watch Kazi Rahman
of Wragge & Co LLP maintains a significant presence in the market. He earns praise for his "fantastic marketing,"
which attracts significant work for his firm.
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