Financial Services

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.

  • “Hadef & Partners LLC exhibits strong ‘knowledge of the local market’.”

    Legal 500, 2017

  • “The firm has international-calibre lawyers with local UAE knowledge.”

    Chambers Global, 2016

  • "They are proactive, able to think ahead and find solutions, and pay a lot of attention to detail."

    Chambers Global 2015

  • A trusted choice as local counsel, thanks to its in-depth understanding of the UAE market and deep bench of finance lawyers. Frequently advises corporate issuers on a range of bond, sukuk and share capital offerings.

    Chambers Global 2015

  • "Hadef & Partners is ‘excellent in all respects: timely, thorough, effective, solution-oriented and knowledgeable’."

    Legal 500, 2015

  • Often a first port of call when clients or international firms require in depth advice on local banking and finance matters. Well versed in Islamic finance, infrastructure and projects and regulatory services.

    Chambers Global 2014

  • The breadth of their large-scale financing knowledge is great. It's among the handful of go-to firms in the UAE.

    Chambers Global 2013

  • Among the top UAE law firms for finance-related matters’, Hadef & Partners ‘scores highly in terms of quality, promptness of response and market knowledge’.

    Legal 500 2013

  • Strong presence in the shipping and aviation industries and impressive track record representing local and international banks and financial institutions. Other areas of expertise include commercial, real estate and insurance disputes. Steadily expanding team, further consolidating the firm's strenght in both arbitration and litigation.

    Chambers Global 2013

  • Shortlisted for Banking & Finance Team of the Year 2016

    Shortlisted for Banking & Finance Team of the Year 2016

    By : The Oath Middle East Legal Awards

  • Shortlisted as Regional Law Firm of the Year 2016

    Shortlisted as Regional Law Firm of the Year 2016

    By : The Oath Middle East Legal Awards

  • Most Responsive Domestic Firm in the UAE 2016

    Most Responsive Domestic Firm in the UAE 2016

    By : Asian-MENA Counsel – In-House Community Survey 2016

  • Islamic Finance Firm of the Year 2016

    Islamic Finance Firm of the Year 2016

    By :

  • Banking & Finance Firm of the Year 2016

    Banking & Finance Firm of the Year 2016

    By : Asian-MENA Counsel – In-House Community Survey 2016

  • Middle East Law Firm of the Year 2016

    Middle East Law Firm of the Year 2016

    By : Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards

  • GAR100 Selected Firm 2016

    GAR100 Selected Firm 2016

    By : Global Arbitration Review - GAR

  • Shortlisted as Regional Law Firm of the Year 2015

    Shortlisted as Regional Law Firm of the Year 2015

    By : The Oath Middle East Legal Awards

  • Shortlisted for Banking & Finance Team of the Year 2015

    Shortlisted for Banking & Finance Team of the Year 2015

    By : The Oath Middle East Legal Awards

  • Shortlisted for Project Finance Deal of the Year 2015

    By : IFLR MIDDLE EAST AWARDS

    Lawyer : ROGER MORRIS

  • Banking and Finance Firm of the Year 2015

    By : Asian MENA Counsel In-house Survey

  • Most Responsive Domestic Firm in the UAE 2015

    By : Asian MENA Counsel In-house Survey

  • Highly Commended for Middle East Law firm of the Year 2015

    By : Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards

  • Alternative Investment Funds (including private equity) Firm of the Year 2014

    By : Asian MENA Counsel In-house Survey