Hadef & Partners provides advice on the scope and application of regulation across a broad range of financial services sectors and we maintains close contacts with the leading market operators, financial authorities and regulators at federal, local and free zone levels.
Our lawyers are experienced in the legal and commercial aspects of the international and regional markets, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Our practical knowledge and technical expertise enable us to apply a broad range of corporate, banking and commercial law principles together with an understanding of compliance issues to advise those whose activities come within the orbit of regional financial regulation, or require an appreciation of it.
Hadef & Partners’ clients are active in a range of financial services sectors, and include financial institutions, investment companies, insurers, asset managers, financial intermediaries, commodities traders, sector specialists, exchanges, rating agencies, service providers to the market and its trading platforms, and insurance providers. Additionally, we advise regulators and government departments, particularly in framing new legislation or assessing the impact of existing law and regulation.
Other areas of the practice that are available to clients who are not necessarily in the financial services sector include:
- Establishing or enhancing systems in order to meet corporate governance standards set either by law or international best practice
- Advising on issues arising out of UAE/DIFC anti-money laundering law and regulatory regime
- Advising on the scope and impact of law and regulation relating to anti-bribery/corruption, sanctions and boycotts
Derivatives and structured/complex products. Within the Financial Services practice, we also provide specialist advice in connection with derivatives and structured/complex products enabling clients to understand and negotiate the legal and regulatory landscape that can raise novel and difficult issues, even where industry-standard documentation is being used. As well as providing wide-ranging advice to relevant business units of banks, we have advised on several specific, substantial and complex transactions between major international banks and various local entities.
We assist clients at different stages:
Clients wishing to establish a permanent presence in the UAE. We advise clients through this process by conducting an initial thoroughgoing and practical analysis of the alternatives before co-ordinating the establishment phase:
- dealing with the regulator, be it the UAE Central Bank, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, the Insurance Authority, the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) or the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA),
- arranging the formation of the chosen business vehicle, and
- preparing the relevant business plans, application forms and ancillary documents.
Clients already conducting business in the UAE. The client may be a regional enterprise or part of a major international group. The products and services may be aimed at a professional client base or addressed to a wider audience; in this region or overseas; they might be straightforward or highly specialised and esoteric; conventional or Sharia compliant. They may conduct business in a traditional way or entirely online. The clients' presence in the region could amount to no more than occasional marketing visits from overseas or the operation of an extensive branch network or a major regional hub. We can help clients to conduct business in accordance with local law whether they are based in the DIFC, the UAE at large or outside the region altogether. The assistance may take the form of:
- advice relating to the launch and marketing of a new product or service,
- liaising with relevant regulators and government departments, or
- implementing a major strategic initiative.
Clients' continuing obligations. When a client's business is licensed to conduct its activities, we will work with them to ensure compliance with the continuing obligations to which they will be subject. We will also advise clients on the implications of marketing their products and services so that they may do so legally without jeopardising their regulatory status or incurring sanctions or damaging the client's reputation. In particular, we can help in the sometimes tricky navigation between various legal jurisdictions and regulatory authorities that may govern or affect day-to-day business or strategic direction whether in a free zone, Dubai, or the Emirates at large.
Hadef & Partners’ is an integrated practice. Quite often, clients' needs will require us to work alongside other practice areas, for example our generalist Banking, Corporate, Employment or Real Estate Groups and, to the extent that they find themselves in dispute with a client or a regulatory authority, then we are there to help in conjunction with our renowned Dispute Resolution practice.
With experienced lawyers from both local and international backgrounds, comprising speakers of Arabic and English, we are equipped to provide advice and guidance that encompasses all the regional regulatory infrastructures. This local expertise is augmented, where necessary, by an international perspective.
We have in-depth knowledge of, and have developed good relationships with, the key financial authorities and market operators, including, the UAE Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, the Department of Economic Development, the DIFC Authority, the DFSA and the major trading platforms in the region.