Castles in the sand

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  • What the article was missing is the life of associates and trainees at international firms in Saudi. All 3 top firms worth working for have managing partners whose only credential is being Saudi or speaking Arabic, but not being able to deal with their employees effectively: M Al-Jadaan, M Al-Shaikh and Julian Johansen.

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  • Deals like in London or NY? You must be joking. Talents and skills decline in Saudi and it is better you come to Saudi at the end of your career than at the beginning or in the middle. Unless you want to be on cruise mode, do not come to Saudi. You are unmarketable afterwards in the real world.

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  • No article on Saudi projects is complete with a word on finance and banks. The financing of the extension of the Prophet's Mosque through unislamic monies (Clifford Chance/Aljadaan), the construction of Jabal Omar in Mekkah with interest money (White & Case/Alshaikh) or the writing of the mortgage law forcing sharia judges to record security for riba loans (Abdulaziz Algasim) are pushing Saudi Arabia away from its heritage and into eonomic turmoil. We Saudis will have to pay the price in decades to come when all western companies have long vanished.

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  • The issue of how Islamic the current iteration of "Islamic Finance" may be is a very complex one. My own view is that the Islamic Finance industry is being driven by non-Muslims who have a limited stake in the integrity of the product. I wouldn't lay the blame for that at the feet of Al Jadaan or Alsheikh. It is an inevitable by-product of allowing Islamic Finance developments to be driven by initiatives from London, Hong Kong and Malaysia (where the non-Muslim Chinese are heavily involved).

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  • To "Mr. O'Donovan," I'm quite curious who you are, but from having dealt with all three of the lawyers you've named, I've found them to be nothing but professional and quite astute - in my view, their credentials go well beyond being Saudi and speaking Arabic.

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