Andersen Legal's Malaysian practice has provided the accountancy-tied network with a welcome boost as the Andersen accounting arm battles against the fallout from the Enron scandal
Andersen member Zaid Ibrahim & Co has completed work for the Malaysian government's asset management company Danaharta on its first asset-backed securitisation. The appointment of Zaid Ibrahim consolidates the firm's successful entry into government securitisation work. Last June the firm oversaw Malaysia's first securitisation on the 1st Silicon deal and it later secured the first ringgit securitisation, which completed last August. Charon Maokhzani, the lead partner on the deal, said: "The Asian securitisation market has been dominated by Clifford Chance and Freshfields [Bruckhaus Deringer], but in this instance we acted alongside Allen & Overy (A&O), which won the mandate against inevitable competition from these traditional players." The 1st Silicon deal in-volved an issue of US-dollar debt securities through a special-purpose vehicle in the Labuan offshore financial centre. Zaid Ibrahim then went on to work on the first Mal-aysian ringgit deal, on which it was the sole legal adviser. Danaharta was set up by the Malaysian government in 1998 to tackle the country's chronic problem of non-performing loans. It was backed by a change to law last April, when the Malaysian Securities Commission issued guidelines allowing securitisations. According to Charon: "The Malaysia Securities Commission opened the door to asset-backed deals in April when it issued guidelines that removed many of the tax hinderances. "It is naturally pleasing to be involved in two of the high-profile deals that have followed the commission's move, and we're confident that more will follow." A&O's securitisation practice has also had a good few months. In addition to Danaharta, it won the mandate for the largest public asset-backed issuance in Korea to date, and for the first Islamic asset-backed financing in a deal for Bank Islam on the Malaysian offshore Labuan stock exchange.