The Middle East is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in the world. With diversifying markets and governments keen to enact strategies and legislation to bring further innovation, the Middle East is primed for further transformation and growth.
The demand for professional advisers who understand this rapidly changing environment and the opportunities and challenges it brings has never been higher or more important.
Regional clients with worldwide investments as well as international clients conducting business in the area trust Collas Crill to guide them through their business dealings and wealth planning, with expertise in Shariah-compliant products allied with decades of experience using traditional structures to meet the needs of clients wherever their focus lies.
We work both lender and borrower side in funding the acquisition of aircraft, ships, containers, art and other high value assets and advise on finance and operating leases, sale and leaseback transactions, jurisdiction specific transactions such as JOLCOs and the securitisation of asset receivables.
At Collas Crill, we have established a wide range of charitable structures from local Guernsey limited by guarantee companies to large charitable foundations for some of the world's wealthiest families. Our specialist Middle Eastern team also has experience in advising regional families on the principle of Zakat.
Collas Crill Compliance Limited (CCCL) provides governance, risk & compliance and AML/CFT services to Guernsey and Jersey regulated financial services businesses, and also to other businesses with compliance obligations such as estate agents, accountants and finance brokers.Read more
Our dispute resolution specialists collaborate seamlessly with our corporate, banking and finance teams across jurisdictions to advise on litigation, restructuring and risk and regulatory matters. We provide a global perspective, working closely with our clients to ensure that they are best placed to respond to customer issues, fraud risks, rapidly changing market conditions and regulatory demands.
Our dispute resolution specialists collaborate seamlessly with our corporate advisory and banking teams across jurisdictions to advise multinational corporations, trust companies, banks, funds, insurers, governments and directors. We provide a global perspective, working closely with our clients to ensure that they are best placed to respond to customer issues, fraud risks, rapidly changing market conditions and regulatory demands.
Good corporate governance and a sound understanding of directors duties is critical. Regardless of size, establishing a best practice approach should be fundamental to all boards. The board of directors are responsible for ensuring the company achieves its objectives and the corporate governance framework they adhere to should underpin their accountability to the company and its members.
We advise company boards in relation to both the non-contentious and contentious aspects of shareholder relations with a focus on corporate governance to prevent contentious issues arising. We have also advised both boards and activist shareholders in relation to highly contentious general meetings and associated issues arising out of investor actions.
Thanks to the depth of our experience and the resources of our team, we've acted on some of the largest pieces of litigation brought against directors offshore. We are well placed to deal with the 'bet the farm' proceedings that can occur in these type of disputes and have represented parties involved in intra-company disputes, including executive, non-executive and independent directors, majority and minority shareholders, companies and liquidators. We understand that shareholder disputes are often not black and white and our team finds innovative and commercial alternatives to those which the Court may offer – taking a collaborative approach with our clients to ensure that the right result is achieved.
E-gaming and e-commerce have become increasingly important sectors to the economy, having grown exponentially in recent years. Collas Crill has a particular specialism in e-gaming. The opportunities are huge, but the legislative and regulatory issues facing the industry require close attention. Our specialists can advise and assist companies and other organisations on the issues in setting up and managing online businesses as well as managing the risks to succeed in a global market.
Planning for the future is something that people often don't like to think about but it is one of the most important things that you should do during your lifetime. Whether you need simple wills put in place or more complex estate structuring, our experienced and approachable team can help you organise and plan your affairs for the immediate and longer term future. We work hard to guide you through any issues of concern to ensure that you reach a position where you feel reassured that you are clear as to what will happen to your assets, and those you leave behind, in the future.
Fund financing covers a range of financing possibilities but most commonly involves capital call or subscription facilities. It is a specialist area that requires an understanding of fund structuring, the risks involved in lending to funds and specific security requirements. Underlying relationships between investors, borrowers and lenders are key to the success of the industry. We work with lenders and borrowers to maintain these relationships at every stage of the process, with our commercial, efficient and pragmatic approach to managing transactions.
Depending on your jurisdiction, guardianship, delegates and powers of attorney are useful tools in helping a party to deal with the financial affairs of another, whether that is paying bills, managing bank accounts or otherwise. If you need assistance dealing with your own affairs then a power of attorney may be appropriate. This will enable you to choose who can carry out any actions, and the extent to which they can take those decisions, on your behalf. If an individual can no longer handle their own affairs then a guardian or delegate will need to be appointed by the court to look after that individual's affairs. Whether you are choosing to give someone power to deal with your affairs, or you have a relative who can't deal with their own any longer, careful consideration needs to be given, and advice sought, to decide what route is most appropriate.
For financially distressed companies in need of restructuring and reorganisation, or for those where the opportunity to do so has passed or failed, we work to achieve the most beneficial outcome in these difficult situations.
Our team brings a wealth of experience from a range of diverse backgrounds to give quick, accurate, commercial advice, primarily across the financial services sector.
Currently working on some of the largest and most complex cross-border insolvencies in the jurisdiction, we frequently advise top law firms from the People’s Republic of China, the US, the UK and other jurisdictions. We are regularly briefed by Sovereign Wealth Funds and Fortune 500 Companies to advise on particular restructurings, as well as investment managers from Europe and the US.
At whatever stage we are engaged, our involvement will assist in identifying the on-going risks facing a client and to enable that client to continue to identify and effectively manage deteriorating relationships with creditors, financiers, investors or other interested parties.
We advise internationally based companies and trustees on the establishment and operation of employee incentive schemes, addressing issues such as the funding and structuring of awards as between sponsoring employer and trustee, treatment of dividend entitlements for share awards and the formulation of the beneficial class of employee benefit trusts having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.
Demand continues to rise for legal professionals with a strong knowledge and understanding of Shariah law concepts continues, a reflection of the growth in Islamic finance products and services for institutions and private clients. Our team of experienced finance lawyers regularly works with onshore law firms, banks, managers and service providers to assist clients in the UK, the Middle East and Asia, as well as trust and corporate service providers servicing clients in this area.Read more
Dubai has no specific pensions law as such but Dubai-based companies do need to plan for and fund end of service gratuity payments. Instead of a pension, local laws require companies to make a severance payment when employees leave the business This can be a significant liability to fund and can often come at the most unwelcome of times such as during an economic downturn. Companies who have failed to set money aside to meet these payments have historically been unable to afford to reduce headcount as they have not planned or budgeted for severance payments. Although it is difficult for some smaller firms to set money aside to fund their entire historic liability, it is never too late to start setting aside at least some provision for this potentially large liability. If done well, these end of service schemes can be self-funding and can also achieve a company's ESG aims by investing in very worthy causes both within the region and more widely.
Private trust companies (PTC) and private trustee foundations (PTF) are an ideal solution for clients wanting to divest themselves of ownership while still retaining a level of control. A PTC, or its most recent incarnation, the PTF, is a corporate vehicle which is used by a family in place of a professional trustee so that the family themselves can control the board of the trustee and thereby control the underlying assets.
Alongside companies and wills, family trusts are still a very popular tool for estate planning and asset protection – perhaps even more so in the light of the envisaged changes to the UK non-domiciled regime. Family foundations are proving to be a popular new tool for families looking to ensure their wealth and assets are protected for future generations. We establish trusts and foundations for local and international families to preserve family businesses and ensure appropriate succession planning. We work closely with tax advisers in order to ensure that any new family trust or foundation fits with a family's overall tax position and will be a workable long term, cost efficient structure. Discretionary trusts are still the most popular but we can also advise on fixed trusts, will trusts and pension trusts.
Our teams have been involved in some of the most innovative finance structures, including the first public-private finance initiative in Guernsey, a care home. We regularly advise housing associations on funding their projects. Internationally we work with clients on key infrastructure projects, including power stations and railway links.
Real estate continues to dominate as an asset class for many investors. We have a strong track record in financing commercial real estate acquisitions, mainly in New York and the UK and the London prime market. We act for some of the key lenders in this area. Our clients include banks, funds, alternative lenders, private equity houses, private investors, hotel consortiums and family offices. Locally, we have worked on the funding of some of the most prestigious buildings in our jurisdictions.
The regulatory environment both in local jurisdictions and internationally, is increasingly complex and regulatory agencies are becoming more zealous in their approach to enforcement and investigations. We guide clients through the impact of enforcement of investigatory actions by regulatory bodies, offering dedicated strategic advice on a broad range of issues including enforcement notices, governance matters, complaints, insider trading and dealing and market manipulation.
We can also assist clients to conduct internal investigations prior to any regulatory investigations.
We are able to advise clients on the establishment and structuring of the full range of regulated service in our jurisdictions. Our experience allows us to shape licence applications to fit regulatory expectations as well as tailoring procedures and processes to reflect the latest and best practices in compliance and corporate governance.
Our services include general regulatory and compliance advice and support, non-financial services regulatory matters including utilities, data protection and corporate governance, due diligence, reviews, audits and health checks. We advise clients from a diverse client base with a focus on the financial services industry including fund administrators, trust companies, banks, investment managers, local companies and individuals.
Restructuring takes many forms, and we have broad experience in reshaping businesses to the changing needs and demands of the market. The team possesses a hands-on and comprehensive grasp of the intricate challenges that may emerge in restructuring scenarios, whether involving mergers, acquisitions, reorganisations or recapitalisation activities.
Offshore vehicles are used for a huge range of purposes either standing alone or as part of large multi-jurisdictional structures. Our highly commercial team specialises in advising clients on the most effective uses of such vehicles and their on-going operation, including normal and cellular companies as well as foundations, unit trusts, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, segregated portfolio and restricted purpose companies. We are able to advise what jurisdiction among the "Big Four" that we advise on will best suit our client's needs and regularly advise on solvent restructuring by way of merger, consolidation, continuation or balance sheet optimisation as well as court based corporate procedures such as schemes and plans of arrangement.
The third sector is an umbrella term that covers a variety of different organisations with different legal structures and purposes, belonging neither to the public sector (the state) nor to the private sector (profit-making private enterprise).
As a business, we are heavily focused on supporting third sector organisations both in our local communities on local issues and also internationally.
Charities, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and voluntary organisations are increasingly required to plug the gap and perform the social and cultural functions formerly carried out by the public sector.Read more
We represent beneficiaries, high-net-worth individuals, trustees, protectors and other power holders in a range of contentious and semi-contentious situations. Our lawyers have been at the forefront of the most complex, high-value private wealth litigation offshore.
We often deal with novel points of law, creating new and innovative solutions to meet the needs of our clients.
Given the international nature of private wealth, with clients and their assets spread across the world, we work as a joined-up global team so that our clients can benefit from the knowledge and experience wherever they may need it.Read more
We work with a number of local utilities assisting them with their work with regulators and pricing control commissioners as well as advising on the effects of proposed changes in legislation, commercial contracts and corporate governance.
In November a team from Collas Crill travelled to the Middle East to meet with clients and intermediaries, taking in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and culminating in Riyadh. Collas Crill has a long history of serving clients in the MENA region with a region-specif...
In early November a team from Collas Crill travelled to the Middle East to meet some of the firm's key clients and intermediaries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the trip culminating in Riyadh. One of the party was Ellie Crespi, British Virgin Islands (BVI)...
This week, the eyes of many of us around the world will be trained on Dubai as it hosts COP28. In September, the UAE Sustainable Finance Working Group put forward for consultation its proposed Principles for Sustainability-Related Disclosures for Reporti...
Family businesses hold a prominent and important role in the UAE economy and, prior to this year, have done so without a flexible and robust legal framework within which to govern them. That has now changed. As of this year, UAE Federal Decree Law No.37 ...
This article first appeared in issue 11 of Thought Leaders 4 Private Client Magazine. In this article Angela reflects on what is a significant period of accelerated growth for Middle Eastern private clients and how business-critical it is for us, as advi...
Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been a feature of the Guernsey trust landscape for many years now. EBT is something of an umbrella term that can be used to describe lots of different styles of employee benefit arrangements and EBTs are often not spec...
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