Trowers & Hamlins first to tap Malaysian legal market

Known as Southeast Asia’s hub for financial institutions and Islamic finance, Malaysia has been a closed shop to international law firms – until now.

Last year the country passed laws to allow foreign firms to enter the country via a partnership with an established Malaysian firm. It also unveiled plans to issue up to five qualified foreign law firm (QFLF) licences to firms with proven expertise in international Islamic finance.

UK firm Trowers & Hamlins has become the first to go after one of these licences , with the outcome of its application expected in the next month.

Having had a representative office in Kuala Lumpur since 2012, the firm, whose Malaysian clients include Berjaya Land and Lembaga Tabung Haji, is hoping the local authorities will be suitably impressed by its Islamic finance credentials.

With Allen & Overy and Norton Rose Fulbright also thought to be keen to open in the country, other firms hoping for a QFLF better get their applications in fast.

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