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Banking & Finance

At Gateway we pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our expertise in Islamic banking and finance. Our senior executives and consultants are made up of globally recognised genuine thoughtleaders including the former CEO of two Islamic banks. We are regularly sought out by key stakeholders in business and trade, as well as the world’s leading media organisations.We present and moderate at leading Islamic and ethical finance conferences, lecture at the world’s top universities, have published critically acclaimed books and are active members of industry bodies and associations.

Our partners have advised on private as well as sovereign sukuk offerings, founded leading Islamic finance teams and institutions, and designed cutting-edge financial transactions and products and investment funds in a variety of asset classes. We are committed to incorporating the social finance institutions of the Shari’a and have already designed important precedents in this regard.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • COO and acting CEO at launch of Asian Finance Bank in Malaysia
  • CEO/MD of Hong Leong Islamic Bank, leading the Islamic banking arm of the group and development in Malaysia, the Gulf, South-east Asia and China
  • Global Head of Islamic Finance at Barclays
  • Co-founder of Islamic Finance at Deutsche Bank
  • Head of Investment Banking and Executive Committee Member of British Islamic bank
  • Head of Islamic Finance at Clifford Chance
  • Lead partner on the establishment of China’s first Islamic banking window
  • Lead investment banker on the world’s first exchangeable sukuk, to acquire a UK public company
  • Lead investment banker on the world’s first mudaraba sukuk with real estate subscription rights
  • Developed the world’s first Shari’a compliant multi-asset class hedging, treasurymanagement and structured products platform
  • Lead investment banker on the largest buy-out in the Middle East and the largest Shari’acompliant buy-out ever (US$ 1.9 billion)
  • Lead investment banker on the creation of a US$ 2 billion Shari’a compliant infrastructure and growth capital fund
  • Lead advisor on the establishment of Islamic finance operations at the Central Bank ofAfghanistan
  • Lead advisor on the implementation of Islamic finance products at Malaysiandevelopment bank
  • Organized UK investment firm, including all aspects of FCA authorisation as a Real Estate investment platform & P2P lending platform, product structuring, drafting of documentation, and preparation of compliance and regulatory framework/ ancillary documents
  • Advised Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain) on a $600 million merger between three middle eastern banks
  • Advised a syndicate member in relation to a US$270 million Ijara financing of Bahrain Financial Harbour
  • Advised Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited on the acquisition of an Abu Dhabi Industrial turbine manufacturing company
  • Represented Islamic investment bank with $35 million leveraged acquisition of U.S. shale gas business

Business Recovery

Gateway’s partners and consultants have extensive experience of restructuring and turning around companies in challenging financial and commercial markets. Our track record also includes the acquisition and divestment of companies in special situations.

We bring the breadth and depth of our experience to clients seeking to turn around their business through our Business Recovery Services practice. Our skillset encompasses legal and compliance, corporate reorganizations, product strategy and structuring, human resources, marketing and public relations.

Our bespoke solutions range from restructuring to workouts in order to assess financial risk, minimize loss, and evaluate the return drivers to different capital providers. We particularly focus on higher end complex legal structures, for which strong expertise, hands-on approach and value creation advice are paramount.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Lead legal advisor on the restructuring of numerous Gulf banks, including administrations,insolvencies and consensual debtor-creditor workouts
  • MD and Head of Investment Banking at a European Islamic bank, responsible for successful restructuring and turnaround
  • CEO and Board Director of Deutsche Bank’s Shari’a advisory subsidiary, leading a successful restructuring, turn-around and sale of the business
  • Lead legal advisor on placing of Islamic bank into Chapter 11 New York bankruptcy code proceedings by regulator and largest creditor
  • Leading the acquisition and restructuring of a Gulf-based asset management firm by a British Islamic bank; after acquisition and commencement of the conversion process, the bank posted its first profit for several years and tripled assets under management within 2 years
  • Restructuring and turnaround of a distressed Islamic finance firm during the global financial crisis, posting its first profit in the first year of restructuring, and arranging a successful share sale to the market

Conversion Factory

Gateway assists clients in converting their entire operations and product offerings from conventional to Shari’a compliant. As a multi-disciplinary team seconded to the client, we embedourselves to provide an end-to-end Islamic finance product capability.

Asset classes covered by the TCF service include sukuk and securitization/ capital markets, structured investment products, treasury management products, investment funds, asset-backed financing, private equity and venture capital, M&A deal execution, real estate, and retail accounts and finance products.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Led the conversion of a conventional retail bank to open China’s first Islamic window
  • Co-founder of Islamic Finance at Deutsche Bank
  • Leading the acquisition by a British Islamic bank, and restructuring (including conversion to fully Shari’a compliant) of a Gulf-based asset management firm over 3 year period
  • Led the acquisition of an asset management firm with US$ 1 billion assets, and conversion from conventional to Shari’a compliant
  • Established Islamic window at Barclays, including regulatory permissions in the DIFC
  • Implemented 4 distinct Islamic products to an investment bank with supporting processes and technology

Digital Strategy and FinTech

Gateway Digital Strategy and Transformation services offer clients a technology driven approach to business growth by leveraging proven digital solutions to improve internal processes, accelerate marketing and sales, and create highly satisfactory customer journeys for increased repeat business and brand loyalty.

These services are suitable for small and medium enterprises, corporates and financial organisations, which will benefit from our team’s innovative thinking and technology expertise. Providing a balanced approach to the evaluation, planning, and development of digital strategy and transformation, we can work alongside the client and provide strategic advice to the management and leadership team of the client at all stages of their digital journey.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • CEO of blockchain company improving transparency and speed of service in professional services
  • CEO of world’s leading Islamic markets digital platform
  • Five Gateway professionals are represented on the UK Islamic FinTech Panel, including the Panel’s Chair
  • Completed successful sale of intellectual property (IP) assets to a US Fortune 500 financial firm
  • Led fintech start-up through pitching competition and successful selection to an accelerator programme run by one of the UK’s big four banks
  • Developed and implemented financial technology training workshops for non-finance executives from leading Middle East organisations

Dispute Resolution

At Gateway, our team is experienced in numerous areas of commercial dispute resolution. Understanding the disruptions that disputes create, our aim is to enable clients’ commercial goals where possible while also protecting brands, reputations, and assets. Many clients prefer alternative dispute resolution and mediation as more efficient, amicable and culturally sensitive techniques. Our dispute resolution practice assists with strategy development, investigation and fact gathering, and implementation.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Led legal team pursuing claims of fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment at two Arab Gulf banks (proceedings issued Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, England & Wales, New York, Cayman Islands)
  • Presided over legal team pursuing criminal and civil remedies against international group conspiring to defraud (proceedings issued in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Argentina, South Africa, Bahrain, UAE)
  • Led legal team seeking bankruptcy and creditor protection for high-profile global financial institution (proceedings issued in New York, Bahrain, Cayman Islands)
  • Responsible for case claiming monies wrongfully received by leading global bank in New York (proceedings issued New York) – negotiated $20m settlement
  • Presided over hundreds of cases concerning the disputed provision of financial services – usually between provider and customer
  • Conducting numerous investigations – including misrepresentation, fraudulent provision, contract performance
  • Mediating disputes between banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, and also between banks and their directors and management (including occasionally disqualifying directors and senior management)
  • Member of Regulatory Disputes Panel at a financial regulatory body – imposing fines and other administrative penalties on financial service providers

Executive Strategy

Gateway’s Executive Strategy team is composed of leading Islamic economy professionals who have led highly profitable companies and divisions, from startups to public corporations, and successfully executed business plans over multiple economic cycles. We are particularly experienced in building, as well as managing, Islamic financial services companies, for whom we have performed market surveys, strategic and product reviews, executed change management and restructuring plans, acquired and divested businesses, restructured balance sheets, advised on bankruptcies and insolvencies, and restructured and managed human resources.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Leading the acquisition by a British Islamic bank, and restructuring (including conversion to fully Shari’a compliant) of a Gulf-based asset management firm over a 3 year period
  • Restructuring and turnaround of a distressed Islamic finance firm during the global financial crisis, posting its first profit in the first year of restructuring, and arranging a successful share sale to the market
  • Organizational restructuring for a large Islamic bank involving designing new organizational manual, delegation of authority matrix, positional structuring, policy management framework and committee governance
  • Development of executive business strategy for large Islamic bank focusing on de-risking initiatives following global financial strategy

Gender Equity & Inclusivity

Gateway’s partners have worked with governments in both developing and fragile countries, NGOs, and the private sector to properly empower women and youth to achieve greater inclusivity.

Based on principles of gender equity embodied in Islamic principles, our sensitivities to local customs, and rigorous field and desk research, we assess how gender is experienced in different contexts, recommend strategies, and design governance frameworks to reduce discrimination, enable participation, and empower across organizations and communities within Islamic economies. Our work includes recommendations to integrating equity into laws, customs, and development programmes. We develop platforms specifically tailored to women and the youth so as to help financial institutions, business, and governments achieve their visions as well as be on course with their sustainable development responsibilities. Our partners have built educational programmes and other platforms for support and facilitation and offered ongoing evaluation.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Developed Islamic finance products suited to women and youth in the Northern Kenya and the Somali region of Ethiopia with development partners such as Oxfam GB and Mercy Corps Ethiopia
  • Developed training and capacity building programmes for women entrepreneurs in 52 OIC member countries - a programme supported by UNDP
  • Designed gender related strategies for Kenyan Islamic financial institutions and the Capital Markets authority in Kenya with reference to Kenya National Vision 2030 and the SDGs
  • Established fintech programmes in Malaysia, such as Muslim Women in Tech aimed at bringing about digital inclusiveness in underserved communities where Muslim women have little to no access to technology

In-House Regulatory & Compliance

Gateway provides a broad array of in-depth solutions across the Islamic economy, including corporate and finance, capital markets, real estate, investment funds and private equity, and employment. We offer a tailored outside general counsel service founded on decades of experience as trusted in-house advisors. Our lawyers are licensed to practice in the UK, the United States, Malaysia, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, and the Maldives. Our services extend beyond these countries in partnership with our large network of affiliates and other relationships to ensure our clients continue to benefit from top notch advice and client service.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • General Counsel at the Central Bank of Bahrain, responsible for drafting many of the country’s banking and financial services laws
  • Lead legal advisor to the Bahrain Ministry of Finance on every international sovereign sukuk issue in the Kingdom, such as the US$ 750 million 2011 issuance listed on LSE
  • Lead legal advisor on regulatory advice for US investment fund active in the Gulf as well as Gulf sovereign wealth fund
  • Preparation of offering and subscription documents for US$ 1 billion equity offering for energy focused financial institution
  • Legal advisor to Middle East institutions regarding USA Patriot Act and US anti-money laundering regulations
  • Legal advisor to a Gulf Islamic bank on structuring and drafting US$ 1 billion Shari’a compliant overnight fund
  • Legal advisor to the Joint Book-runner and Joint Lead Manager of IFC’s debut dollar sukuk

Real Estate

Our team has decades of significant global real estate experience. Our partners have advised investors as well as financiers with a wide variety of asset classes, including office, retail, hospitality, mixed-use, multi-family, warehouse, and student housingin the US, Europe, and the Middle East and Asia.

Through their work, our partners have gained a deep understanding of how best to create value throughout the lifecycle of a real estate project, including strategy, operational excellence, and transactional processes. We assist in developing strategies to addresses geographic and asset class focus, scale-up opportunities, portfolio mix, product offerings,and ownership and development structures.Using best practices gained over our significant experience with core real-estate processes, we advise on project budgeting and management, risk management, and legal and regulatory strategies, and the many capabilities and partnerships needed to sustain success.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Established the real estate division of a GCC Islamic investment bank and acquired and financed multiple assets in Europe and the GCC
  • Counseled a leading GCC-based investment house in connection with tax-efficient cross-border investments in, and the financings of, a hotel fund and the construction and operation of a series of hotel properties
  • Advised a Shari’a-compliant real estate investment fund in connection with a cross collateralized mezzanine (redemption and working capital) financing of nineteen previous financings of commercial office buildings in the U.S.
  • Advised on the first open-ended Islamic real estate investment fund (a tax-efficient fund investing in commercial real estate projects globally using Shari’a-compliant structures). The fund completed Shari’a-compliant acquisitions of properties in the United States, England, France, Luxembourg, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland
  • Acquired and managed Amazon UK Services Ltd’s largest distribution warehouse for GBP61m on behalf of a Kuwaiti investment firm, including commercial and Shari’a structuring, finance origination and negotiation, and project management of the acquisition process
  • Designed some of the first residential and commercial mortgage products in the U.S.

Shari’a Advisory & Audit

Gateway has assembled several scholars, beginning with our honorary patron Shaykh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, with a strong understanding of Islamic principles, commercial practices, and the challenges faced by those endeavoring to act responsibly. Our scholars are located across the UK, US, Malaysia, Pakistan, and the GCC.

Our scholars assist in the design of products, services, and transactions as well as the establishment and conversion of whole businesses. They are experienced with the review of legal documentation and regulatory frameworks as well as conducting thoughtful, comprehensive audit reviews. Gateway’s scholars, moreover, are committed to maintaining predictability and open communication channels throughout their work, culminating in transparent detailed written guidance be it in the form of fatwas or reports. In addition, with scholars placed in numerous markets, we bring to bear sensitivities of local customs and an understanding of market conditions.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Shari’a advisor to Dow Jones Islamic Market
  • General Manager of Dubai Shariah Asset Management
  • CEO of two Shari’a advisory firms
  • Member of the Shari’a Board of the Auditing and Accounting Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)
  • Special Consultant to the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) on sukuk
  • Shari’a advisor and auditor for Gulf-based real estate funds with AUMs of US$ 144 million
  • Shari’a advisor and auditor for multiple Luxembourg UCITS funds, including global trade finance fund, global sukuk fund and GCC equities fund

Leaders: Shaykh Yusuf DeLorenzo, Rahma Hersi, Mufti Faraz Adam, Mufti Talha Azami

Social Responsibility & Impact

Gateway shares its clients’ commitment to enabling businesses guided by the principles of the Shari’a and to creating positive impact through philanthropy. Our partners and professionals counsel a range of businesses and philanthropic endeavours devoted to achieving principled returns, both social and financial. We create mission-protection mechanisms, participatory capital and investment structures, and frameworks to enable further Shari’a compliance and Shari’a-based responsibility throughout the halal economy.

Having identified important intersections between responsible and impact investing markets, on the one hand, and Islamic finance, on the other, we are committed to ‘restructuring’ Islamic banking and finance – and the broader halal economy. Institutionalized partnerships with waqf and other public sector initiatives focused on well-being are important to helping address critical concerns, such as economic development, financial inclusion, healthcare, education, fair labour practices, and gender discrimination.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Structured landmark Islamic impact investment with leading US impact investment firm and internationally recognized philanthropic institution to benefit US based Somali refugee community
  • Conducted a Sustainability Review for a UK based finance and fintech company looking to improve its’ alignment with Sustainability Development Goals through internal management processes and external communication and perception
  • Founding trustee of RFI Foundation, creating awareness for responsible finance through education, awareness and research programs
  • Founding Trustee of OtherDOTS Foundation, providing support through accelerator engagement to young entrepreneurs and start
  • ups in underprivileged environments and developing countries
  • Developed sustainability awareness program for a UK financial intermediary and people process and technology to support UN PRI compliance
  • Authored leading book, A Socially Responsible Islamic Finance: Character and the Common Good, identifying intersections and opportunities between Islamic financial markets and contemporary responsibility/impact frameworks.
  • Designed wholesale Islamic impact finance structures for East African microfinance company
  • Conducted detailed capacity building for African based Sharia advisory

Turkey Desk

To support the vibrant Islamic economy in Turkey, Gateway has partnered with Istanbul Islamic Finance Consultancy Ltd. (IIFC), combining Gateway’s diverse global experience with local insight. Headquartered in Istanbul’s financial district and in closeproximity to the new Istanbul International Financial Center, IIFC is a comprehensive professional services firm guiding investors, financial institutions, and businesses in banking and finance, private equity, Shari’a advisory, law and compliance, and executive training.

Our partners’ (including at IIFC) and professionals’ experience:

  • Advising Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank with various banking matters
  • Advising TurkiyeFinans Participation Bankwith various banking matters
  • Structuring incorporation of Vakıf Participation Bank
  • Administrating of participation bank, providing significant rescue and restructure services
  • Leading advanced training workshop in Islamic banking, finance, and investment

Waqf & Philanthropy

Gateway designs methods to translate intentions and objectives into impact. We bring a thoughtful approach to our work, sharing the ethical and faith-based motives to giving, be it for families, corporations and financial institutions that understand the force of their resources for good, or waqf (trusts and endowments) that require the design of income producing assets and community engagement. We provide research and analysis to inform your decisions, help shape your strategy, evaluate opportunities, and structure your philanthropic initiative.Throughout this process our multidisciplinary capabilities and global presence are brought to bear to bring vision to reality.

Our partners’ and professionals’ experience:

  • Advised the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent on international zakat funding to relieve drought in Kenyan communities
  • Member of a Malaysian State Waqf Advisory working Group improving Waqf management
  • Advisor to the UK National Zakat Foundation
  • Development and execution of strategy at a global philanthropic organization for effective and sustainable mobilisation of Islamic Social Finance for the benefit of those in need