Our Doha, Dubai and London offices lead our global Islamic finance practice, and we work closely with other offices, including Hong Kong and San Francisco, and other practice areas including real estate and financial services.
We advise principally on English, United Arab Emirates, Qatari, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) law as they touch Shari’ah-compliant transactions and structures, and we work with other counsel to advise on local law issues in many countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain and Kuwait. We provide international and regional clients advice on local law security issues and have established a strong international trustee/agency practice as a result of acting on secured financings requiring agents for the banks in local jurisdictions.
We have strong debt capital markets and structured products capabilities, both internationally and regionally, and have developed innovative structures for clients facilitating access to the local equities and asset-based markets and mitigating foreign ownership restrictions and local law issues.
In the real estate sector, we build on our strong real estate finance practice in London to provide advice to banks and investors looking to structure Shari’ah-compliant whole facilities or tranches of facilities.
We combine skills across the whole cycle of Islamic finance transactions: our Islamic finance group works hand-in-hand with our experienced corporate and finance lawyers based in the Gulf, and apply their significant regional, European, U.S. and international experience to a broad range of corporate, commercial and regulatory activities including mergers, acquisitions and disposals (both public and private), joint ventures, equity capital markets, corporate restructurings, private equity, funds and regulatory matters. Regulatory matters include advising on product development, prudential and supervisory guidance for Islamic finance institutions, product marketing and distribution, and advising in connection with regulatory approvals for new institutions. We can service structures that have regulatory requirements regardless of their location, from our offices in the Middle East, Europe or the United States.
We regularly provide a one-stop solution for clients who are looking for legal and Shari’ah advice on new products and documentation. We work with a number of Shari’ah scholars based in different jurisdictions, who are able to provide Shari’ah law guidance, input and ultimately fatawa for clients across a number of schools of thought in Islamic jurisprudence.
The following highlight deals demonstrate our wide range of expertise:
- Shari’ah-compliant real estate acquisition and development finance: £34m financing of a UK city centre retail store; $106m Murabaha facility to finance a housing development in Qatar; $90m Ijara financing of Dubai real estate; a $180m development financing in Saudi Arabia
- Islamic compliant debt capital markets and structured products: establishment of a Sukuk programme for a global bank; advising an international bank on a series of Islamic structured deposit transactions; acting for a Qatari investment bank on the issuance of Islamic trust certificates under a $5bn programme
- Combining Islamic-compliant and conventional finance in one deal: advising a family office in connection with a $320m syndicated refinancing including a $190m Islamic tranche; combining conventional and Islamic compliant sources to complete a UK real estate deal
- Middle Eastern financial services regulatory and agency/trustee/delegate/custodianship advice: advising a global bank on the restructuring of $300m facilities; counselling an international bank on its role of delegate in a $100m Sukuk structure; acting for a global bank on the listing of a UK Islamic bank on NASDAQ Dubai
- Islamic compliant project finance: an oil shale project in Jordan; and a solar project in Qatar
- Corporate finance: $300m Murabaha facility for the acquisition of a Middle Eastern financial institution
- Advising governments on Islamic finance initiatives: advising on the legislative infrastructure required to promote Islamic finance in an offshore jurisdiction
- Restructuring and insolvency: advising an Islamic bank on its rights in Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S.
K&L Gates Islamic finance group is recognised by Legal 500, with a ranking for Legal 500 UK: Islamic Finance 2019 in Band 2 and for Legal 500 UAE: Islamic Finance 2019 in Band 3.
The group has also recently been recognised for two awards from Islamic Finance News:
- “2018 Deal of the Year — Qatar” for the firm’s work representing Al Rayan Investment LLC (the investment subsidiary of Qatari bank Masraf Al Rayan) on the listing of the world’s largest Sharia’h-compliant single-country exchange traded fund (ETF).
- “Best Firm for Asset Management & Funds”