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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been appointed by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) to draw up new legislation after Clifford Chance was conflicted out because it is drawing up regulations governing the new Dubai International Financial Centre.
The appointment came from Freshfields' relationship with the Bahrain government. The firm will assist in drafting an expanded supervisory framework relating to the BMA's responsibilities since it became the sole regulator of Bahrain's financial sector.
The instruction coincides with efforts by BMA governor Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa to encourage Bahrain banks to merge or consolidate in order to increase their investment and capital potential so they are able to compete with international banks.
Bahrain does not have the economic punch of its neighbours Abu Dhabi and Dubai. White & Case withdrew after just 32 months from Bahrain, wanting to focus on strengthening its Saudi Arabian bases (The Lawyer, 14 October). Clifford Chance also moved out of Bahrain several years ago, centralising its Middle Eastern operations in Dubai.
A Freshfields spokesman said that the firm is not prepared to comment on any of its Bahrain activities.