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Al-Mirsal Insights and commentary on legal developments in the Middle East

Category Archives: Banking and Finance

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How LIBOR Administration Change will Impact Financial Contracts

Posted in Banking and Finance, Regulatory

This month, the UK Financial Conduct Authority formally authorised ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (IBA) to assume responsibility for the administration of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). IBA is a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange Group, a leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses that administers other benchmarks such as the French CAC40 and… Continue Reading

How #Saudi New Weekend Impacts Legacy #Financing Agreements

Posted in Banking and Finance, Regulatory

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, announced on Sunday June 23, 2013 that the official working days in Saudi Arabia will change to Sunday to Thursday and the weekend to Friday to Saturday, with effect from June 29, 2013 (the “Royal Decree”).  The change aligns Saudi Arabia with the other members of… Continue Reading

LIBOR No More – The Wheatley Review and LIBOR Changes

Posted in Arbitration, Banking and Finance, Litigation and Arbitration, Regulatory

The second half of 2012 saw a number of major financial institutions censured for the alleged manipulation of submissions made to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) for the compilation of BBA LIBOR. In addition to direct enforcement action against those alleged to have participated in such manipulation, regulators have also taken significant steps to reform… Continue Reading

GCC Family Businesses Investing in US Commercial Real Estate

Posted in Banking and Finance, M&A/ Private Equity, Real Estate

GCC-based family businesses are increasingly looking towards the US commercial real estate market for potential investments. Latham & Watkins recently hosted a seminar in our Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Riyadh offices to discuss how GCC investors typically structure US commercial real estate investments and what US tax considerations businesses should keep in mind. A… Continue Reading

Basel III Implementation Update

Posted in Banking and Finance

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has issued a Report to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Basel III Implementation.  The implementation period for Basel III capital requirements starts from 1 January 2013 and includes transitional arrangements until 1 January 2019.  At the time of the report, 8 of the 27 member jurisdictions of… Continue Reading

Reforms to Banking Disputes in Saudi Arabia

Posted in Banking and Finance, Islamic Finance, Project Development and Finance, Regulatory

Several new laws have taken effect in recent months in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from arbitration to the establishment of a centre for registration of lien and the long awaited mortgage law. As part of the restructuring underway in the Saudi Arabian judiciary system, long standing regulations for the resolution of banking disputes in the… Continue Reading

Current Challenges for GCC Family-Owned Businesses

Posted in Banking and Finance, Capital Markets

Family-owned businesses continue to drive commercial activities in the economies of the Middle East. According to recent statistics, in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region alone, family businesses control over 90% of commercial activity. Today, family businesses are confronted with numerous challenges in the changing economic environment, including governance, globalisation, technology, generational change and innovation…. Continue Reading

The DIFC Special Purpose Company: An Increasingly Popular Vehicle for Structured Finance Transactions

Posted in Banking and Finance

Over the last 12 months, structured finance transactions in the Middle East (both Islamic and conventional) have seen increased use of a comparatively new and previously underutilized type of special purpose vehicle (SPV) – the DIFC special purpose company (SPC). An SPC is a private company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of the… Continue Reading

Eurozone crisis – Permitted in the Middle East?

Posted in Banking and Finance, Capital Markets

In February, Greece launched its sovereign debt swap, pursuant to which holders of EUR 206 billion of its bonds were invited to swap their existing holdings for a package of instruments with a nominal value of just 46.5 per cent. of the par value of their current bonds. This invitation for voluntary participation in the… Continue Reading

Sipchem Mudaraba Sukuk–A Transfer of Beneficial Rights

Posted in Banking and Finance, Islamic Finance

Sipchem’s recent Mudaraba Sukuk is notable as an economic success and also for its structure.  The financing represented a great addition to the tool kit available to corporate treasurers in Saudi Arabia. A Sukuk financing typically requires that: An issuer has unencumbered tangible assets available; The assets are Shari’ah compliant (i.e not related to alcohol,… Continue Reading