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Eversheds is ramping up its Middle East capabilities, parachuting a key London Islamic finance partner into its Qatar office.
Amjad Hussain is moving to the office as part of the firm’s wider strategy to strengthen its Islamic finance team.
Eversheds, which launched its Qatar office in 2006, is dedicated to building up its presence in the region with a focus on project and energy work.
Head of Eversheds’ Islamic finance group Indraj Mangat said: “The aim is to create a group that spans the core Islamic finance centres, including Malaysia, London and the Middle East. Amjad’s move to Qatar is pivotal to this strategy.”
The Qatari government launched the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) in May this year, which is why the firm is seeking to ramp up its Islamic finance offering.
The QFC enables foreign companies and law firms to launch in the jurisdiction without local associated organisations.
Mangat said: “The QFC has changed the legal environment and we’re now seeing more firms looking to launch in Qatar. It’s a hot jurisdiction.
“Developing Islamic finance capabilities in the QFC is important to Eversheds. It’s going to become even more important in the coming years, so ensuring our team is up to scratch and has enough of the right people is vital.”
The QFC is part of the jurisdiction’s international strategy to attract businesses to the region. Firms such as Salans and Simmons & Simmons have built successful offices focusing on energy and projects work.
Since the QFC was launched more than 50 international businesses have become established in the jurisdiction.
“As well as Dubai, Qatar is very significant in that banks and other businesses have turned their attention to it,” explained Mangat.
“As a law firm we need to respond and serve our clients in this area.”
Banks constitute three quarters of the businesses licensed to set up in Qatar, with banks such as Lehman Brothers taking advantage of the lucrative opportunities Qatar provides.
Eversheds currently has an office in Dubai, Qatar and an affiliated branch with Sharizat Rashid & Lee in Malaysia.