Given the recent upheaval in world financial markets, demand for morally sound financial products has risen sharply, leading to the rapid expansion of Islamic finance. Globally, the Islamic finance industry is estimated to be worth $2 trillion, and is growing at an annual rate between 15% and 20%. This rapid pace of growth and evolving industry practices have outstripped both the existing legal and financial infrastructure for Islamic finance and the supply of qualified experts, leading to regulatory challenges. Our Islamic finance practice, led by Crowell & Moring partner Dr. Walid Hegazy, ensures that these challenges are met with the strength of our lawyers’ decades of expertise in Shariah-compliant transactions.
We have advised on specific jurisdictional concerns, commercial issues, taxation, accounting and other regulatory considerations. We counsel developers, financial institutions and counsel governments on Shariah-compliant matters. Our experience encompasses the structuring and documentation of Islamic finance facilities, issuances of sukuk (Mudaraba and Musharaka-based) and Ijarah-based bonds, the structuring of Murabaha contracts and Murabaha-based facilities. We routinely handle Islamic finance contracts of every kind (including Bai Salaam, Ijara, Istisna’a, Mudaraba, Murabaha and Musharaka). Our clients include the Government of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Telecom Company, BNP Paribas, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the Egyptian Ministry of Finance, Sorouh, Credit Suisse, STC, Saudi British Bank, Bin Laden Group, and Beltone.
Our sukuk practice is among the strongest facets of our Islamic finance practice. Our lawyers are considered among the most qualified legal advisors in the region on sukuk structuring and implementation. We advise governments, developers and prominent financial institutions across jurisdictions in the Middle East, acting for both underwriters and issuers. In addition to advising some of the largest sukuk deals in the market, our lawyers played a significant role in shaping the regulatory framework necessary for fulfilling the enormous potential of Islamic finance in Egypt, serving on the board of advisors to Egyptian lawmakers in the drafting of Egypt’s first sovereign sukuk law.
Shariah – Compliant Funds
Shariah-compliant funds are investment vehicle funds structured in accordance with Shariah tenets. Unlike normal funds, an extra layer of ethical rules is integrated into the management of Shariah-compliant funds, and are often managed under Islamic contracts. Our lawyers have the skill to ensure that every aspect of a fund is managed according to the highest Shariah standards.
Shariah – Compliant Financing & Mortgages
We regularly counsel both businesses and lenders on Shariah-compliant financing options. We understand the importance of financing new ventures and expansions ethically, without sacrificing the financially benefit. Our lawyers have the adroitness to maximize both, even in the most convoluted financing arrangements.
Our experience in Islamic finance is broad enough, and the understanding that has come with years of dedication deep enough, to handle the legal aspects of any shariah-compliant mortgage. Our practice encompasses advising on the most appropriate form of Islamic mortgage as well as drawing up necessary documents for Ijara, Musharaka, and Murabaha home purchases.