Islamic finance in London

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's first-rate team in London is a core part of the firm's global Islamic finance practice, which advises Islamic banks, export credit agencies and corporate borrowers on a wide range of innovative transactions. Jamie DurhamSajjad Khoshroo and Sajjad Juma are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Jamie Durham; Sajjad Juma; Sajjad Khoshroo

Dentons

Dentons  is well-equipped to handle the full spectrum of Islamic finance transactions, with its UK team working closely with practitioners in the firm's Middle East offices. Areas of expertise include sukuk, project and asset finance transactions, as well as shari'ah-compliant derivatives and structured finance deals. Matthew Sapte is experienced in handling bond financings and asset-backed securitisations. He co-heads the practice with Yusuf Battiwala, who is knowledgeable about shari'ah-compliant derivatives and structured finance. Associate Annreika Ray, who joined the firm from Deutsche Bank in 2020, is becoming increasingly known for Islamic derivatives.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Sapte; Yusuf Battiwala

Other key lawyers:

Annreika Ray

Testimonials

The team has depth and breadth of practitioners who understand Islamic Finance structures and shari’ah requirements very well.’

Genuine effort to understand nuances of shari’ah requirements and implement in the structures and documentation without compromising on financial and credit issues.

Key clients

Goldman Sachs

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Macquarie

Citibank

Emirates NBD

Emirates Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank

Arab Banking Corporation (Bank ABC)

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD Capital

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Noor Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of a leading global bank (as Programme Arranger) on the annual update of Sharjah Islamic Bank’s $3bn Trust Certificate Issuance Programme.
  • Acting on behalf of the joint lead managers (Bank ABC, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector KFH Capital, Mashreqbank and two leading global banks), on the issue of $500m Trust Certificates due 2025 under Sharjah Islamic Bank’s updated US$3 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme.
  • Advising an international bank on LIBOR reform for the Islamic derivatives markets.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's well-established practice in London benefits from the firm's impressive global office network, enabling it to handle complex cross-border work for financial institutions, sovereign governments and multinational corporates across Europe and the Middle East. Particular areas of strength include project finance, energy and transport, and the group has significant experience in sukuk structures, trade finance and real estate transactions. The group is led by the well-respected Farmida Bi, who stands out for her expertise in the cross-over between Islamic finance and capital markets. Counsel Andrew Coote and senior associate Mark Brighouse are also notable individuals.

Practice head(s):

Farmida Bi

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Coote; Mark Brighouse

Key clients

ACWA Power Development

Bank ABC

Bank of London and the Middle East

Bank of New York Mellon

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance

Qatar National Bank

Islamic Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising ACWA Power on its debut issuance of a $500m sukuk to be privately placed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (completion expected in April 2021).
  • Advising the Middle East affiliate of an international investment bank on their Shariah Compliant Trade Finance product and preparing a suite of template documents in relation to the same.
  • Advising a real estate company in relation to a £9.46m murabaha facility from a UK Islamic bank in relation to the acquisition of a £17m property in prime central London.

Ashurst

Ashurst's group in London, which works closely with colleagues in the firm's Jeddah and Riyadh offices, advises financial institutions on matters such as those involving shari'ah-compliant lending, fintech and capital markets. Senior associate Conor Funston is building a solid practice involving Islamic finance issues associated with fintech and debt capital markets. Funston works closely with Ida Mokhtassi, who is noted for Islamic securitisation transactions. Tax expert Simon Swann has experience in shari'ah-compliant real estate tax structures. In 2021, former practice head Abradat Kamalpour left the firm to join Jones Day's San Francisco office.

Other key lawyers:

Simon Swann; Conor Funston; Ida Mokhtassi

Testimonials

A creative and commercial team.’

Key clients

Fortress Investment Group and Cyrus Capital

BNP Paribas

Nomura International PLC

EFG Hermes

Crypton Digital Assets

Tokeny Luxembourg

UK Turkey Intergovernmental Working Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for BNP Paribas on shari’ah-compliant structured product issuances under its Global Issuance platform
  • Working with VBI Holdings on structuring shari’ah-compliant funds that will issue investment units using blockchain technologies (a first for the Islamic finance industry) that will reflect a listed ETF structure on the London Stock Exchange.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey's standalone Islamic finance group predominantly focuses on real estate and investment matters, although it is increasingly active in areas such as Islamic fintech. Leading the team is Bristol-based partner Imam Qazi, who is well-versed in shari'ah-compliant products and structures, in addition to being on the board of a number of industry associations, including the Islamic Finance Experts Group. Alan Hughes in Exeter specialises in retail banking, while London-based consultant Michael Evans is experienced in handling the tax side aspects of Islamic financial structures. Legal director Zahir Nayani, who is based in Bristol, has a growing reputation for real estate-driven transactions.

Practice head(s):

Imam Qazi

Other key lawyers:

Alan Hughes; Michael Evans; Zahir Nayani; Kate Amos

Testimonials

Great team to work with. Very supportive and engaged with our business by acting as a partner.’

Imam Qazi is calm and assured as well as very knowledgeable. He makes time available to learn what is required from his client and is sensitive to business needs. Kate Amos – Efficient and engaged transactional lawyer.’

Efficient team member and flexible in understanding client requirements. Proactive in solving critical issues.’

Foot Anstey is strong in real estate finance and has a standout Islamic Finance practice.’

Imam Qazi is very well connected with the banks and leads an energetic team. They are particularly active on Islamic finance transactions.’

Foot Anstey have an exceptional team we work with closely on a daily basis. I have found them extremely knowledgeable, a pleasure to work with and helpful. The team are quick to respond to e-mail and telephone calls.’

The firm has a strong private wealth practice and has excellent Islamic and real estate finance teams.’

Key clients

Gatehouse Bank plc

QIB (UK) plc

Bank of London and the Middle East

ABC International Bank plc

Nester Holdings Ltd

Black Sand Real Estate W.L.L

JHA Investments Limited

Ahli United Bank (UK) plc

Sidra Capital

Greenridge Investment Management

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP's Islamic finance offering was launched in 2020 with the arrival of a team from K&L Gates LLP. Led by Barry Cosgrave, the group's workload spans debt capital markets, structured finance, project finance, derivatives and investment management. Cosgrave is an expert in the use of shari'ah-compliant structures for a variety of financial products; Christopher Street is a specialist in products connected with the aviation and investment management spaces. Hannah Davies is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

Barry Cosgrave

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Street; Hannah Davies

Testimonials

The team is very informed of legislation in the UAE region in particular, commercial practice. We have always received sound advice on Islamic matters.’

Barry Cosgrave is an expert in Islamic law and operating in the UAE.’

Milbank

Milbank's Islamic finance practice in London is most noted for the use of shari'ah-compliant structures in the context of project finance transactions; this is a key specialism of practice head John Dewar, who is supported by special counsel Munib Hussain. Clients include Islamic financial institutions and funds, with multijurisdictional transactions being coordinated from the London office.

Practice head(s):

John Dewar

Other key lawyers:

Munib Hussain

Key clients

NCB Capital

Al Rajhi Bank

Alinma Bank

Riyad Bank

HSBC Saudi Arabia

MUFG (Malaysia)

National Bank of Kuwait

Islamic Development Bank

Abu Dhabi Pension Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Islamic banks, Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation as the lenders in connection with the US$5.2 billion financial completion of the Rabigh Phase 2 Project.
  • Advising the financing sources on the financing connected with CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of a 30% stake in GEMS Education – the first time a Middle Eastern issuer had elected to tap the US TLB market for a transaction of this size.
  • Advising the senior creditors on the $11bn restructuring and debt reprofiling of the Sadara Chemical Company – the first-ever rescheduling of a project financing involving export credit agencies, Islamic banks and sukuk (bond) holders and the largest Sharia-compliant restructuring in Saudi history and the wider Middle East.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP has developed a niche assisting UK-based banks with providing Islamic finance for property transactions in the domestic market. Reflective of its standing in the market, the firm is often called on by the UK government to advise on the impact of new legislation on Islamic finance requirements. Leading the team is Mohammed Saqub, who also leads the real estate finance group, and substantial transactional experience. Andrew Stevens is another real estate finance lawyer whose practice has an interplay with Islamic finance structures. Nick Sanderson's expertise extends to wakala and sukuk structures, and issues relating to equity share schemes for residential properties. Legal director Afsor Ullah is also recommended. In 2020 Ishteyak Hannan, a core lawyer in the group, passed away.

Practice head(s):

Mohammed Saqub

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Stevens; Nick Sanderson; Christopher von Strandmann; Afsor Ullah; Afreen Mehdi Cole

Testimonials

Shakespeare Martineau have a highly respected banking and finance practice.’

Mohammed Saqub, a veteran Islamic lawyer, is the Islamic Finance partner. He has an exceptional client following from the major Middle Eastern financial institutions. His clients trust him to give good practical advice on complex matters and he always delivers. He is widely regarded as pre-eminent in the field of secured Islamic lending.

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC

ADIB UK

Al Rayan Bank plc

Gatehouse Bank plc

Habib Bank AG Zurich (Islamic and conventional)

Islamic Development Bank

Masraf Al Rayan

OFFA

Qatar Islamic Bank PLC

UBL

Work highlights

  • Assisted the UK bank subsidiary of a Swiss bank with setting up an Islamic finance practice. This practice included drafting the template finance documents and setting the bank’s standard property requirements. The process lasted several months and involved detailed and complex discussions with the bank’s shari-ah advisers.
  • Instructed to act for a bank on its first ever UK real estate investment. The transaction was complex in that it required due diligence in respect of numerous properties, required specialist tax advice and included the use of permanent endowment trusts.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, the team in London is known for advising on structuring complex cross-border tax-driven and shari'ah-compliant structures, and it is able to leverage the expertise of practitioners in offices in the Middle East and Asia. The group assists with Islamic lending on the London market as it pertains to real estate transactions. Sarah Gooden is the key contact in the London office, with significant experience in real estate investments. Neill Gibson is an expert in innovative lending and security structures for Islamic investors in the UK and Europe. Tony Poole assists Islamic financial institutions with corporate, financial services and securities issues. Based in Oman, Salman Ahmed leads the EMEA Islamic finance practice and the firm-wide Islamic securities group.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Gooden; Salman Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

Neill Gibson; Susan Jarvis; Katharine Lewis; Ayda Habboush; Helen Fysh

Testimonials

The team at Trowers is extremely knowledgeable about Islamic finance products and structures. They provide a quick turnaround time. Their advice is always clear and to the highest professional degree. They are considerate of cost which is much appreciated by the bank.’

What makes the individuals at Trowers stand out is their knowledge and ability to provide business friendly solutions all while protecting the bank from any legal risks. They are cognisant of the way the bank operates. They have commercial acumen which is not always easy to find in the market.’

Trowers is a truly global law firm with great capabilities within the real estate and Islamic finance fields.’

Long history and support for the sector.’

They are thorough in their due diligence, knowledgeable in their work, subject matter experts on both the instrument and regulatory requirements in various jurisdictions, pleasant and easy to work with and available at any time.

Key clients

Lembaga Tabung Haji

90 North Real Estate Partners

Gatehouse Bank PLC

Apache Capital Partners LLP

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB)

Kuwait Finance House

Warba Bank KSCP

Rasameel Investment Company KSCC

Dimah Capital Investment Company KSCC

Dubai Islamic Bank

First Energy Bank

Rasmala Investment Bank

SEDCO Capital

A’ayan Real Estate Company

Arbah Capital

Sidra Capital

Sohar Islamic

Oman Takaful Insurance Company

Meethaq Islamic Banking, bank muscat S.A.O.G. (Meethaq)

Al Muzn

Sanvira Carbon SFZ LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Sohar International on its role as the sole dealer and issue manager, on the establishment by Takaful Oman Insurance SAOG’s of its debut Sukuk Al Mudaraba Trust Certificate Issuance Programme (Programme). The first Takaful company in the world to establish a programme of this kind.
  • Advised Nakheel on a unique Musharaka based financing of OMR10.4m ($27m). Pursuant to this financing the financier, Bank Nizwa and Nakheel are partners on this project, which goes to the heart of food security in Oman.
  • Advised Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), one of the largest government linked fund investment companies in Malaysia, its wholly owned Jersey subsidiary, PNB Jersey Limited (PNB Jersey) and three of its special purpose vehicles (the SPVs) to refinance PNB’s real estate investments of three of its office spaces located in the city of London, each owned by an SPV, at One Exchange Square, PNB House at 77 Queen Victoria Street and at Aviation House.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's team benefits strongly from the firm's presence across the Middle East and Asia, enabling it to handle shari'ah-compliant transactions for global lenders and borrowers, sovereign governments and state-owned companies. The key contacts in London are the global head of Islamic finance Debashis Dey, who an expert in capital markets, and Ingrid York, whose specialisms include derivatives and structured finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Debashis Dey; Ingrid York

Key clients

Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co.

Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company

Republic of Indonesia

Gargash Enterprises group

BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Limited

Citi

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Deutsche Bank

HSBC

Goldman Sachs

Standard Chartered Bank

National Commercial Bank

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank

Arabian Centers Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair Co., a leading diversified fashion, beauty, and food retailer in Saudi Arabia, with international operations across 13 countries, in connection with its $800m refinancing.
  • Advised Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) on the establishment of SAR 10 billion domestic Sukuk issuance programme and issuance of SAR 1 billion guaranteed Sukuk due 2028 and SAR 3 billion guaranteed Sukuk due 2031.
  • Advised Republic of Indonesia (RoI) and its special-purpose vehicle on the update of the RoI’s Rule 144A/Reg S $25bn trust certificate issuance program and the subsequent $2.5 bn dual tranche Sukuk offering thereunder. The offering involved the issuance of a tranche of US$750 million Sukuk due 2025, a tranche of US$1 billion Sukuk due 2030 and a tranche of US$750 million green Sukuk due 2050.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has a strong track record in UK Islamic real estate finance transactions and it is also sought after in other matters involving shari-ah principles, such as debt capital markets transactions, and asset-backed finance and commodity finance deals. Adil Hussain's clients include a range of international banks providing financing to Middle East-based customers. He co-heads the practice with legal director Robert Davy, who is knowledgeable about a wide variety of shari'ah-compliant financial products.

Practice head(s):

Adil Hussain; Robert Davy

Testimonials

Understand client needs, always available, very knowledgeable.’

Adil Hussain is our go-to guy for Islamic finance.’

Key clients

Bank ABC

Mizuho Bank

British Arab Commercial Bank

Natixis

Greenridge

Riyad Capital (London branch)

Investra Capital

Bidaya Home Finance Company

Al Hail Holding Limited

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

Dubai Islamic Bank

Select Group

NEO Merchants Capital

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

FIM Partners

QTerminals

Qatar National Bank

Dukhan Bank

ABC International Bank

Druces LLP

Druces LLP's team has extensive expertise in a wide range of Islamic finance structures, including murabaha, wakala, ijarah, mudaraba and musharakah. Its client roster includes conventional and shari'ah-compliant financial institutions, corporates and investors. Christopher Axford leads the group, which includes real estate specialist Suzanne Middleton Lindsley.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Axford

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Middleton Lindsley; Antony Cotton; Claire Rigby; Rebecca Pinder

Key clients

Bank of London and The Middle East plc

​​British Arab Commercial Bank plc​

Work highlights

  • Advised the Bank of London and the Middle East in relation to a number of commodity murabaha transactions ranging from £10m to £30m in value.
  • Advised a quoted company on a $25m sukuk structure and issuance.
  • Advised Bank of London and the Middle East on a shari’ah-compliant loan facility for an investor-developer.

Fladgate LLP

Fladgate LLP's Islamic finance practice sits within the firm's funds, finance and regulatory department. It advises lenders and borrowers on a variety of shari'ah-compliant products, including commodity murabaha and ijara lease structures. The department is led by Ella Leonard, who is well-versed in Islamic finance structures in connection with property transactions. Charles Proctor and Seetal Modi are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ella Leonard

Other key lawyers:

Charles Proctor; Seetal Modi

Key clients

Ocado Ventures

Equitix

23 Capital

Tritax

Bloomsmith Finance

Tadhamon Capital B.S.C.

Arlington Infrastructure

Zouk Capital

Lodha Group

Gatehouse Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting for Tadhamon Capital B.S.C. on its £100m+ Murabaha lending platform and related structure which invests in student accommodation development sites across the UK.
  • Representing Gatehouse Bank in connection with the preparation of various commodity Murabaha agreements to fund the purchase of commercial properties.
  • Advised Future Generation, a provider of student accommodation, on the finance of developments in Nottingham and Loughborough. Funds were provided in the form of commodity Murabaha financed shareholder loans and 3rd party debt from Maslow.