Head of Islamic finance practice
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
To further my knowledge in this field, I joined the Egypto-French Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales where I earned my master’s degree in International business law in 1993. Before joining Freshfields in 2007, I had the opportunity to practice law at a number of well-known international firms in the US, France and the Middle East.
My first encounter with Islamic finance as an academic field was during my graduate studies at Harvard Law School in 1995, where I spent considerable time researching and studying Islamic law and jurisprudence (Fiqh) and wrote a doctoral dissertation on the subject of Dhaman (liability) and its implications in the modern practice of Islamic finance.
In addition to my academic interest in this field, I have developed a professional career by focusing on the structuring, drafting and advising of the Islamic financial contracts. As Islamic finance has increasingly become a globally recognized phenomenon, working in this area of practice gives me an excellent opportunity to advance my career in international business law.
What does your role involve?
What is your greatest achievement to date?
In this transaction, I developed an innovative Shariah compliant structure based on Hawala (assignment of debt). I believe this was the first time a Hawala structure was used in a securitization in Saudi Arabia.
Lately, I had the opportunity to lead my Islamic finance team on a number of large transactions including advising Sorouh in connection with its US$1.1 billion Shariah compliant asset-backed securitization based on Sukuk Mudarabah in Abu Dhabi (Sun Finance). This deal received two awards from Islamic Finance News: Structured Finance Deal of the Year and UAE Deal of the Year.
My other major Sukuk transactions include advising Saudi Telecom Company on a US$950 million Musharakah-based Sukuk issued as part of its acquisition of a 25% interest in telecoms operator Maxis (Malaysia) and a 51% interest in another telecoms operator NTS (Indonesia).
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
What are the strengths of your business?
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?