Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kazakhstan job for Msian legal firm

By Habhajan Singh
Zaid Ibrahim & Co has been appointed to ensure Kazakhstan's proposed Islamic banking laws are in line with prevailing international standards.
The law firm, which has an active Islamic finance practice and is expanding its regional footprint in conventional legal work, is understood to have secured the job through an international Islamic agency. The appointment demonstrates the strength of Malaysia's largest law firm.
When contacted, Zaid Ibrahim chairman Datuk Dr Nik Norzrul Thani Nik Hassan Thani confirmed that the firm had bagged the job, but declined to provide further details. "It is an interesting job. It demonstrates our ability to export our Islamic finance expertise to these countries," he told The Malaysian Reserve.
Kazakhstan, a former state under the Soviet Union empire, is looking to enter Islamic banking and finance, with ambitions to position the country as a regional hub for the sector. Several Islamic finance officials and consultants from Kazakhstan held discussions with their local counterparts in Kuala Lumpur recently.
"At least three Islamic banks are waiting in the wings to spring into action," a consultant told The Malaysian Reserve. Another consultant said that there are a number of jobs in Islamic finance up for grabs in Kazakhstan.
"Once the Islamic regulations are in place, the pace should pick up for local and foreign players," he said.
Zaid Ibrahim had recently set-up an Islamic finance advisory outfit under ZI Shariah Advisory Sdn Bhd and has since been active in crossborder Islamic deals. It is the first Malaysian legal firm with an associate company to be granted approval by the Securities Commission to act as a Shariah advisor for sukuk issuances and unit trusts. ZI Shariah provides advisory services in line with Shariah principles, international Shariah standards and resolutions made by the Shariah advisory councils on Malaysian regulatory authorities.
Over the last few years, Zaid Ibrahim said it has structured some of the most innovative financing transactions in the region. In Brunei, it was appointed as advisor for the country's first issuance of Islamic bonds based on the Shariah principles of sukuk ijarah, while in Indonesia it advised on an Islamic financing structure based on the Shariah principle of murabahah.
It has also worked on a US$100 million (RM364 million) sukuk ijarah Islamic financing facility in Brunei, an Islamic financing product bond on the principle of murabahah in the UK, a US$35 million murabahah Islamic trade finance facility in South Africa and a US$10 million bai al-dayn Islamic facility in Canada.
Locally, it has worked on the RM5.57 billion MTN issued under the istina principle to finance all costs associated with the initial operations of a power plant and a RM5.1 billion al-bai' bithaman ajil Islamic debt securities for a highway-related client. It has also advised a number of financial institutions on standardising their Islamic banking documentation. (The Malaysian Reserve, Nov 24, 2008, p1, by Habhajan Singh. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays)

1 comment:

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