Islamic finance in Malaysia

Adnan Sundra & Low

The Islamic finance practice at Adnan Sundra & Low has extensive experience in advising Syariah-compliant funding structures, regularly advising on exchangeable Sukuk issuances, Islamic stapled securities transactions, municipal bonds employing parallel Mudharabah structures and Islamic-compliant derivatives. The group is highly recommended for work involving debt securities for infrastructure financing, real property securitisation exercises and issuances of Sukuk by investment trusts. Adrian Chee, Deepak Sadasivan and Putri Norlisa jointly head the practice which also includes Gan Kok Ling who advises on the issue of debt securities for the financing of several infrastructure and energy projects, and Edward NG who handles debt capital markets financing and structured finance transactions.

Key clients

CIMB Investment Bank Berhad

Hong Leong Investment Bank Berhad

OCBC Al-Amin Bank (Malaysia) Berhad

HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad

AmInvestment Bank Berhad

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd

RHB Investment Bank Berhad

Maybank Investment Bank Berhad

AmBank Islamic Berhad

AmBank (M) Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised Maybank Investment Bank Berhad on Islamic medium term notes programme of RM10.0 billion in nominal value based on the Shariah principle of Wakalah Bi Al-Istithmar by Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad via a special purpose company, Imtiaz Sukuk II Berhad.
  • Advised (i) CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, (ii) Hong Leong Investment Bank Berhad and (iii) OCBC Al-Amin Bank (Malaysia) Berhad on Perpetual Sukuk Wakalah Programme of up to RM3 billion by TG Excellence Berhad.
  • Advised HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad on ASEAN Green Islamic Medium Term Notes (“ASEAN Green SRI Sukuk Wakalah”) of up to RM260.0 million in nominal value based on the shariah principle of Wakalah Bi Al-Istithmar and Murabahah (via Tawarruq arrangement) under the Asean Green Bond Standards by Leader Energy Sdn Bhd.

Albar & Partners

Albar & Partners is a top choice for advising on structuring Islamic financing transactions and advises a mix of investment and commercial banks, insurance companies, as well as borrowers across a broad range of industry sectors. The team recently acted on a number of issuance of Islamic medium-term note programmes and syndicated term financing transactions. Founding partner Lily Tan Chea Li frequently handles asset-backed securitiasations and complex Sukuks; she jointly heads the group with Chung Swee Loong, who has advised on Islamic finance transactions such as a Murabahah-based medium-term notes programme issuance. Sharifah Dalilah Albar is also recommended for advising on medium-term notes and Sukuk Programmes.

Other key lawyers:

Sharifah Dalilah Albar 

Key clients

AmBank (M) Berhad/AmInvestment Bank Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad/CIMB Investment Bank Berhad

Hong Leong Bank Berhad/Hong Leong Investment Bank Berhad

Leong Hup International Berhad

Malayan Banking Berhad/Maybank Investment Bank Berhad

MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad

MMC Corporation Berhad

OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad

RHB Bank Berhad/RHB Investment Bank Berhad

Top Glove Corporation Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised RHB Investment Bank Berhad in the issuance of Islamic medium-term notes based on the Shariah principle of Murabahah (via Tawarruq arrangement) pursuant to a rated Sukuk programme of up to RM1.9 billion in nominal value established by Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MMC Corporation Berhad.
  • Advised Top Glove Corporation Berhad (TGCB) in the issuance of perpetual Islamic notes under the Shariah principle of Wakalah bi al-Istithmar pursuant to a perpetual Islamic notes issuance programme of up to RM3 billion in nominal value established by a wholly owned subsidiary of TGCB, TG Excellence Berhad (Issuer) with a subordinated guarantee by TGCB as the Kafalah Provider.
  • Advised Maybank Investment Bank Berhad and RHB Investment Bank Berhad in the Islamic medium-term note programme of up to RM1.5 billion in nominal value based on the Shariah principle of Murabahah (via Tawarruq arrangement) established by Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd as the Issuer for the issuance of Islamic medium-term notes.

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Led by Tay Weng Hwee, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill fields a strong team of Islamic finance specialists, advising on both MYR and foreign currency-denominated transactions. The practice is highly recommended for high-value Sukuk issuances. Particularly active in assisting banks with debt restructuring issues, Megat Hizaini Hassan advises on Murabahah and Ijarah transactions and assists with regulatory frameworks and Shariah standards for financial and investment transactions.

Practice head(s):

Weng Hwee Tay

Other key lawyers:

Megat Hizaini Hassan 

Key clients

Hang Seng Bank Limited

Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad

RHB Bank Berhad & RHB Islamic Bank Berhad

Malayan Banking Berhad & Maybank Islamic Berhad

Maybank Investment Bank Berhad

HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad & CIMB Bank Islamic Berhad

Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd

BMW Credit (M) Sdn Bhd

Sabah Credit Corporation

Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Berhad

Zul Rafique & Partners

The Islamic finance group at Zul Rafique & Partners advises Syariah-compliant transactions, with areas of expertise covering complex Sukuk, Isistna, Murabahah and Ijarah. Ashela Ramaya recently advised on Sime Darby’s RM800m Sukuk Musharakah issuance; she jointly heads the team with Loh Mei Mei, Kung Suan Im, private debt securities expert Chan Kwan Hoe and Celine Rangithan, who regularly advises on restructuring and project finance transactions.

Key clients

Maxis Berhad, Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad, Measat Satelite Systems Sdn Bhd

Standard Chartered Bank Group (Standard Chartered Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad)

Maybank Group (Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, Maybank Islamic Berhad, Malayan Banking Berhad, Maybank International (L) Ltd, other Malayan Banking Berhad branches, ie China, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi)

Bank of China (Malaysia) Berhad

Affin Group (Affin Bank Berhad, Affin Hwang Investment Bank Berhad, Affin Islamic Bank Berhad)

HSBC Group (HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad)

CIMB Bank Group (CIMB Bank Berhad, CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad, CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, CIMB Bank (L) Ltd)

OCBC Group (OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, OCBC Al-Amin Berhad, Oversea-Chinese Banking Limited Corporation, Labuan Branch)

Genting Berhad

RHB Group (RHB Bank Berhad, RHB Investment Bank Berhad, RHB Islamic Bank Berhad, RHB Bank (L) Ltd)

MIDF Group (MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Berhad, MIDF Investment Bank Berhad)

Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad

Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia

Cathay United Bank

Natixis

ING Bank N.V. (Labuan)

Bahrain Mumtalakat

Allied Irish Bank PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, CIMB Investment Bank Berhad and Public Investment Bank Berhad on revisions to the Islamic Medium Term Notes programme of RM4.5 Billion in nominal value established by Sime Darby Property Berhad to permit the issuance of ASEAN Sustainability SRI Sukuk Musharakah.
  • Advised Maybank Investment Bank Berhad on Kulim Technology Park Corporation Sdn Bhd’s issuance of Islamic commercial papers and Islamic medium-term notes.
  • Advised AmInvestment Bank Berhad on George Kent (Malaysia) Berhad’s Islamic commercial papers programme of up to RM100 million in nominal value and an Islamic medium-term notes programme of up to RM500 million in nominal value.

Shearn Delamore & Co

Led by Christina Kow and Pamela Kung, the Islamic finance group at Shearn Delamore & Co advises on Syariah-compliant acquisition finance, real estate finance, Sukuk and other DCM products, as well as providing regulatory advice for Islamic financial institutions.

Practice head(s):

Christina Kow; Pamela Kung

Shook Lin & Bok

Shook Lin & Bok‘s Islamic finance group is experienced in the negotiation and structuring of a broad range of financial products, including Sukuk and related bonds, project and asset financing, syndicated financing, and offshore loan transactions in foreign-denominated currencies. The team is also active in the emerging areas of Islamic finance including Islamic funds, quasi-equity instruments, and profit and loss schemes. Syed Adam Alhabshi frequently advises Islamic financial institutions on regulatory and compliance matters; he jointly heads the practice with Jalalullail Othman, Khong Mei Lin and Hoh Kiat Ching.

Testimonials

‘The Islamic finance team department of Shok Lin & Bok comprises of dual disciplines of Islamic Finance and Conventional Finance that enhances their breadth and depth of advice. They adopt a holistic approach to their advisory role which actively engages with the various deal stakeholders including the Shariah scholars and the Shariah Advisory Councils.’

‘Dr Syed Adam Al-Habshi is a convincing lawyer who has deep knowledge of Islamic Finance. He demonstrated his articulateness in describing and advising the features of Islamic finance products.’

‘The firm is unique in the quality and rigorousness of the opinions it provides and in relevant legal documents. Clear views are presented to the client in terms of the Shariah and common law positions, always emphasising the potential risks of being challenged in court (as well as the risks of non-enforceability).’

‘In our onerous journey of having to put in place a Shariah rectification plan to correct a non-compliant event, practice partner Dr Syed Adam Al-Habshi stood out as a highly capable and competent counsel. Dr Syed held his professional posture by giving his legal opinions and meticulously explaining their basis as well as those of Shariah units and scholars.’

‘Shook Lin & Bok SLB is an established brand with a tradition of housing some of the finest lawyers in Malaysia. Their Islamic Finance practice is well known and my understanding when speaking to industry players is that SLB’s Islamic Finance department is effective.’

‘I feel Dr Syed is intellectual, witty and practices with the highest integrity. He used to serve the government as a Court Registrar and was even the direct assistant to a former Chief Justice. He knows his stuff. I am pleased to be of acquaintance with him. ’

Key clients

Public Islamic Bank Berhad

Malaysian Debt Ventures Berhad

Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad

Bursa Malaysia

Hong Leong Islamic Bank Berhad

Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad

Coop Bank

Agro Bank Berhad

Education Malaysia Global Services

IAP Intergrated Sdn Bhd

Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (EXIM Bank)

Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation (Malaysia) Bhd

Work highlights

  • Assisted various Malaysian financial institutions to structure moratorium plans that meet the Shariah, regulatory as well as Common Law requirements to ensure that the moratorium plans could be rolled out effectively.
  • Assisted a Malaysian financial institution with Shariah compliance aspects of its housing finance portfolio.

Wong & Partners

Wong & Partners focuses on advising major banks, both Islamic and conventional, on complex Shariah-compliant financing projects, particularly on financing renewable energy projects through debt capital markets issuances. The team also assists clients with banking operations, products and services roll-outs and regulatory compliance. Group lead Mark Lim is a key name for complex and high-value acquisition financing. Senior associate Licia Tan is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mark Lim

Other key lawyers:

Licia Tan

Key clients

Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Berhad

S P Setia Berhad

DRB-HICOM Berhad

Maybank Group (Malayan Banking Berhad, Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, Maybank Islamic Berhad, Maybank International)

CIMB Group (CIMB Bank Berhad, CIMB Investment Bank Berhad

Sime Darby Plantation Berhad

Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law)

Lilian Liew, who also heads the debt capital markets and structured finance practice, is a key name for Islamic finance at Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law). The broader banking and finance practice houses a dedicated Islamic financial services team which regularly advises on issuances of Sukuk and medium-term notes programmes, and also advises on the regulatory framework, product design and structuring of a wide variety of other Islamic financial products.

Practice head(s):

Lilian Liew

Other key lawyers:

Chin Sook Kwan; Wee Hoo Yong 

Mohamed Ridza & Co

Mohamed Ridza & Co advises clients including financial institutions (commercial, merchant and investment banks), borrowers, real property vendors and purchasers on a broad range of Syariah-compliant financing transactions. Mohamed Ridza Abdullah leads the team with Naseem Mohamed Abdulla, who has extensive experience assisting with financing structure and Syariah-compliant wealth and estate planning.

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable and helpful in providing expert advice on Islamic finance.’

‘Mohamed Ridza has considerable expertise in Islamic finance and fintech products generally.’

Key clients

AmInvestment Bank Berhad, CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, Maybank Investment Berhad and RHB Investment Bank Berhad

Lembaga Tabung Haji

MBSB Bank Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised the JLAs and FA for the structuring of a sovereign Sukuk (Islamic bonds) issued by DanaInfra Nasional Berhad.
  • Advised LTH on Asset Transfer Agreements and reviewing Sukuk transaction documents including the Subscription Agreement and Commodity Murabahah Agreement.
  • Advised MBSB Bank Berhad and prepared legal documentation in relation to the conversion of its existing conventional loans to Islamic facilities.

Skrine

Skrine‘s Islamic finance practice handles a broad range of retail and corporate Islamic finance, project bonds, restructuring and regulatory issues, often acting for Islamic banks.  Practice head Sharifah Shafika binti Syed Abbas Alsagoff joined from Mohamed Ridza & Co in December 2020, as did partner Hafidah Aman Hashim. Claudia Cheah is highly experienced in Islamic banking and finance litigation.

Other key lawyers:

Hafidah Aman Hashim

Key clients

Felda (the Malaysian Federal Land Development Authority)

Maybank Islamic Berhad

Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (EXIM Bank)

Agrobank

HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad

Hong Leong Islamic Bank Berhad