22 September 2008
Zaid Ibrahim & Co becomes first South East Asian legal firm to operate in DIFC
Malaysia’s premier law firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co has become the first South East Asian law firm to receive a license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to provide legal services to local, regional and international clients in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The firm’s operations in Dubai is headed by Senior Associate Farid Hussain and supported by the firm’s team of corporate lawyers from the Corporate, Projects and Islamic Banking practices. Marking a new phase in its international expansion plans, the Dubai office will be the firm’s sixth office outside Malaysia and will serve existing and potential clients from or with interests in the Middle East.
Zaid Ibrahim & Co is Malaysia’s largest law firm with more than 160 lawyers in an extensive network of regional offices in the ASEAN region, including Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and now, Dubai. Multi-year recipient of various international awards, the firm’s track record features engagements by local and multinational corporations on unique and complex commercial transactions, foreign direct investments by global corporations into Malaysia and major Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) exercises, fund raising on large infrastructure projects in Asian emerging markets as well as strategic law reform initiatives.
“With this licence, our expert team of lawyers with an established track record of structuring Islamic finance and banking deals and cross-border M&As, is poised to position itself as the gateway for Malaysian and South East Asian clients seeking legal and business support for their existing and potential commercial interests in Dubai and the Middle-Eastern region, as a whole as well as for international clients based in the Middle East with interests in Malaysia and the ASEAN region,” said Dato’ Dr Nik Norzrul Thani, Chairman Zaid Ibrahim & Co.
Nasser Al Shaali, CEO of DIFC Authority said: “With its vast experience in providing services for leading companies both in South East Asia and the Middle East, Zaid Ibrahim & Co will add considerable value to the pool of legal expertise in DIFC. World-class legal firms are an important element of the industry value chain in DIFC as they provide key services that enable financial services companies to operate efficiently. DIFC is keen to attract quality legal firms like Zaid Ibrahim & Co as part of our efforts to build an even stronger and more productive industry cluster.”
Zaid Ibrahim & Co firm has structured some of the most innovative financing transactions in the region to date. In Brunei, Zaid Ibrahim & Co was appointed advisor for the first issuance of USD$100 million (RM332) Islamic bonds based on the Shariah principles of Sukuk Al-Ijarah. It also advised Dubai Investment Group on the acquisition of Bank Islam, Malaysia’s oldest Islamic bank.
Zaid Ibrahim & Co has existing mandates to advise clients in and outside Malaysia on a range of investments including the setting up funds, and has been chosen to advise on the development of a legal and regulatory framework for Islamic financial services in the region. This includes the drafting of legislation and guidelines in the Middle East.
“Expertise in Islamic Finance globally is not commensurate with demand, which is expected to intensify as economic uncertainty leads investors to seek risk averse Shariah compliant products. We are in the enviable position of coming from a country recognised for its expertise in the field, and being able to offer the firm’s twenty year track record to serve the growing demand.” said Chew Seng Kok, Managing Partner, Zaid Ibrahim & Co.