At Dechert LLP, Phillip Sacks has expertise in handling Shari'ah-compliant fund formations (both Cayman and DIFC-domiciled) involving open-ended and retail funds, as well as restructuring of existing funds - some mandates have involved cross-border passporting issues between the DIFC, ADGM and the UAE outside free zones. A number of matters involve real estate assets and venture capital, as well as less concrete ones such as CLOs. Philip Dowsett joined in April 2019 from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Dounia Mansour is a key senior associate.
Investment fund formation and management in United Arab Emirates
Other key lawyers:
Philip Dowsett; Dounia Mansour
‘Leading firm when it comes to investment funds. Top quality lawyers who are very experienced. Access to global resources for multi-jurisdictional issues’
‘Phillip Sacks brings years of experience in various jurisdictions. He is a leading lawyer when it comes to investment funds. ’
‘The team have a depth of knowledge when it comes to fund structures both in the MENA region and globally, that allows them to provide the best guidance to us from a commercial perspective. They really are great to deal with.’
‘Philip Dowsett is an amazing partner and is responsive, commercial in mindset, understands the ways to get things done in our region, and has been supporting us going above and beyond. We really appreciate his support in all matters related to setting up our new firm and fund.’
‘One of the larger funds dedicated teams in the Middle East, and probably the most active in terms of fund formations.
‘Phillip Sacks has been in the region for well over a decade and has an excellent reputation among the leading players in the funds landscape in the Middle East.’
Azimut (DIFC) Limited
Jadwa Investment Company
AGC Equity Partners Limited
Frontier Investment Management Partners Limited
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Zubair Mir and of counsel Geoffroy Hermanns advise a range of managers, covering both retail and private funds investing in a range of asset classes. The practice is well connected in Saudi Arabia, and many of the funds it advises on are Shari'ah-compliant. Recent work has involved advising the managers of DIFC, Cayman and Irish-domiciled funds, and the practice is also a key destination for limited partner instructions from some of the region's most influential sovereign wealth funds.
Zubair Mir; Geoffroy Hermanns
‘Zubair Mir is the most experienced funds lawyer in the region and gives the HSF team depth and quality beyond its competitors.’
‘Zubair Mir is the most experienced funds lawyer in the region and a pleasure to work with. His experience, knowledge and intellect makes every transaction easier.’
Dubai Islamic Bank
Credit Suisse / Aventicum Capital Management
Emirates NBD Asset Management
Abu Dhabi Financial Group
National Bonds Corporation
International Finance Corporation (World Bank)
- Advising Abu Dhabi Financial Group as sponsor of the 500 Spaces Fund.
- Advised Chimera on the establishment of an onshore listed ETF regulated by the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority.
- Acted as international legal counsel for Emirates NBD on the establishment of Emirates NBD AM SPC, a Cayman Islands umbrella funds platform with various sub-funds that will each invest in a different alternative asset class.
King & Spalding LLP is particularly active on Saudi-related and Shari'ah compliant structures. James Stull is a key name for private funds, REITs and listed funds, often connecting Saudi capital to assets in both the US and emerging markets alike via the DIFC and Cayman Islands. Venture capital and private equity in Africa are other areas of expertise, and as part of a broader corporate transactional practice, Nabil Issa is active in listed funds and secondary transactions. Macky O’Sullivan is a notable senior associate.
Other key lawyers:
James Stull; Nabil Issa; Macky O’Sullivan
‘The team is highly knowledgeable, au fait with all new developments and goes the extra mile to help clients.’
‘Nabil Issa is charismatic, passionate about his work, helpful and excellent company which makes meetings a pleasure. Macky O’Sullivan is also committed and knowledgeable.’
‘Superb knowledge of the funds regime in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia’
‘James Stull has a wealth of knowledge and is commercial. Macky O’Sullivan has a unique skillset on Africa investing, making him a formidable advisor’
‘Great knowledge of the industry, relevant regulations and how firms comply with various regulatory requirements in practice.’
‘Available to answer questions and willing to discuss practical solutions for our business rather than purely relaying restrictions and regulations.’
Ashmore Investment Management Limited
Oman Investment Authority
Kuwait Finance House / KFH Capital
Social Development Bank
Saudi Aramco Investment Management Company
- Advised ITFC on a joint venture with Federated Investors to launch ITFC Sovereign Energy Fund, a $500M energy trade finance fund which invests in a diversified portfolio of emerging market government-related Shari’ah-compliant transactions.
- Advised The Entrepreneur’s Investment Office to establish the first open real estate fund established in the DIFC and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
- Advised Waha Capital on establishing a Shari’ah-compliant fund investing in sukuks, equities and equity-related securities.
Limited partner commitments and other more bespoke investment arrangements for Middle Eastern and CIS sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors is a key area for William Nash and his team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Nash, Ayman Khaleq, Alishia Sullivan and Victoria Mesquita Wlazlo handle a range of matters concerning Shari'ah-compliant structures, including ones resembling debt funds.
Ayman Khaleq; William Nash
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Mesquita; Alishia Sullivan
‘The team is strongly led by William Nash, who understands the nature of cross-border legal issues well, and engages with clients in a cost effective manner. ’
‘What makes this team unique is how consistently they have been together in this market, the consistency and quality of work that they have shown to a very select group of clients, thereby making them an essential part of the investment landscape in Abu Dhabi.’
Greenstone Equity Partners
Invesense Asset Management Limited
Liwa Capital Advisors Ltd.
NBK Capital Partners
SICO Trucial US Real Estate Fund GP
StonePine Capital Partners Limited
TVM Capital Healthcare Partners Limited
Al Tamimi & Company
Jody Waugh heads an Al Tamimi & Company banking practice that also has expertise in a range of funds mandates including REITs, ETFs, credit and venture capital funds. Rafiq Jaffer works with the firm's Bahrain office on a number of regulatory matters and Divya Abrol Gambhir, who has key connections with Indian banks, has expertise in the formation and management of funds domiciled in the ADGM. Senior associate Dennis Ryan is able to utilise previous experience gained in the offshore space.
Other key lawyers:
Rafiq Jaffer; Divya Abrol Bhamhir; Dennis Ryan
Allen & Overy LLP
At Allen & Overy LLP, Nick Smith advises local names such as Mubadala as both LP and GP, as well as advising all manner of international asset managers. In recent work, Smith and Andrew Schoorlemmer's advised PwC as liquidators of Abraaj Holdings on the restructuring and liquidation of the funds. Jodi Norman's financial services regulatory practice includes a number of regulatory matters concerning both the DFSA and the ADGM's regulator, the FSRA. Kamar Jaffer is a notable counsel in the practice.
Nick Smith; Jodi Norman
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Schoorlemmer; Kamar Jaffer
‘Deep knowledge of fund structures for various fund raising and investment types across a variety of jurisdictions globally.’
‘I think Nick Smith is an excellent example of a lawyer who is not only technically very strong in his areas of expertise particularly funds, but is able to combine this with insightful ideas for clients and innovate solutions to give his clients the best possible chance of success. He is also a very good communicator which is essential for clients to be able to relate and understand his views and suggestions.’
‘Solution oriented with a practical approach to resolving obstacles. Complementary team members providing breadth of knowledge needed to tackle complex problems.’
‘Fast response time, diligence, attention to detail. Examples that come to mind: Kamar Jaffer.’
‘The team has strong technical capabilities and the ability to work in different jurisdictions and multicultural backgrounds’
‘Always innovative in terms of solutions proposed, excellent spirit’
‘Nick Smith and his team have an excellent knowledge of Fund establishment and extensive knowledge of numerous jurisdictions appropriate for what a client is trying to achieve.’
‘Nick Smith is very knowledgeable but also with a sound commercial understanding of what makes successful setup for PE funds and operations.’
‘A specialist team which has few peers in the regional market.’
‘They are market leading experts, with a wealth of historic local experience.’
‘Exceptionally practical and well networked lawyers used to translating the business practice of the local market into international terms.’
‘Andrew Schoorlemmer is very client centric; very commercial and approachable.’
‘Nick and Kamar are both fantastic at managing a new fund launch from start to finish, providing a high quality service you would expect to receive from a Tier 1 magic circle firm. ’
PwC, official liquidators of Abraaj Holdings
Mubadala Investment Company
InvestAD Brookfield Managers Limited
Softbank Investment Advisors
Abu Dhabi Investment Office
CDC International Capital and Kingdom Holiday Company
Havenvest Private Equity Middle East Limited
Five Capital Advisors (DIFC) Limited
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC
- Advising PwC as liquidators of Abraaj Holdings on the restructuring and liquidation of is private equity funds with an AUM of $15bn.
- Advising Abu Dhabi Investment Office on fund establishment and investment matters, including the establishment of its AED535 million Ventures Fund, which seeks to make local venture capital investments.
- Advising Mubadala on the establishment of investment funds and on the investment into investment funds.
Chézard Ameer and associate James Visick are the key lawyers in a Gibson Dunn team that, in addition to advising the likes of AnaCap on private fund formation, also handles work for institutional investors on their private equity commitments and assists investment banks active in this space.
Other key lawyers:
AnaCap Financial Partners LLP
Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company
GoldPoint Partners LLC (alternative assets arm of New York Life)
Investcorp Bank B.S.C.
Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund
Kazyna Capital Management JSC
Kuwait Financial Centre K.P.S.C. “Markaz”
Kuwait Investment Authority
PineBridge Investments Middle East B.S.C.
- Advised AnaCap on forming AnaCap Credit Opportunities Fund IV, a Luxembourg RAIF structure which exceeded its €750m target.
- Advised Jadwa Investment, a Saudi manager, on establishing various structures.
Simmons & Simmons Middle East
Simmons & Simmons Middle East' broader practice includes a range of investment funds expertise, with James Coleman from the corporate practice and financial services regulatory specialist Muneer Khan active on matters ranging from advice on ETF platforms through to the creation of private equity structures with investment strategies in emerging markets, on top of sensitive regulatory matters involving the DFSA and ESCA's supervision of asset managers.
Muneer Khan; James Coleman
‘James Coleman is an absolute pleasure to work with. Always available, responsive and commercial with his advice.’
Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG)
- Advised Abu Dhabi Financial Group on its Goldilocks Investment Fund, the first fund to be domiciled in the ADGM.
- Advising Orion Resource Partners on its private equity investment into Allied Gold Corp which involved a particularly complex transaction comprising four different financing arrangements.