Norton Rose Islamic finance star joins Al Salam Bank

Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank has appointed rated Norton Rose Islamic finance associate Mohammed Paracha as its first general counsel.

Paracha, 29, was Norton Rose’s senior Islamic finance associate, covering the Gulf states, Iran, Syria and Kazakhstan after moving to the Bahrain office in 2004 from London.

Despite the loss of one of its brightest stars, Norton Rose has benefited from the move, picking up the bank as a client with Paracha instructing the firm on several matters since his move in-house.

Paracha had previously served as a member of the Bank of England’s working party on Islamic finance, assisted in the formation of the Islamic Bank of Britain, and advised Lloyds TSB on the establishment of an Islamic banking window.

The Lawyer named Paracha as Assistant Solicitor of the Year in 2004 for his “significant contribution to the development of [this] area of law”.

Al Salam Bank chief executive officer Yousif Taqi said in a statement: “[Paracha’s] appointment underlines the policy of Al Salam Bank to build a high-calibre senior management team that will enable the bank to achieve its challenging strategic goals.

Al Salam Bank was established in April 2006, and became the Kingdom of Bahrain’s largest IPO, raising more than US$7m when it listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange.

A Norton Rose spokesman said: “We remain well-resourced in the Middle East at partner and associate level with Islamic finance specialists working in both Bahrain and Dubai.”

Norton Rose, along with Baker & McKenzie and Trowers & Hamlins, face uncertainty over their Bahrain operations following the filing of a lawsuit by the Bahrain Bar Association earlier this year.

The suit, filed against the country’s Ministry of Industry & Commerce, the Bahrain Monetary Agency and the international law firms that operate in the country calls for the firms’ licences to be revoked.