The Inside Story

"The freedom to do what I want when I want has been brilliant."

Our Islamic Finance practice has seen impressive growth since it was created in 2011, by Imam Qazi. Bringing 10 years’ experience and his contacts from the Islamic Finance industry with him, Imam is recognised as a leader in his field and previously appeared in The Lawyer’s 'Hot 100'. He explains how having the independence and autonomy to develop the practice area as he wanted meant it has grown rapidly and successfully. “The freedom to do what I want when I want has been brilliant, as has the support, both at a strategic level (in terms of taking a methodical approach to business development), and a practical level with people helping me at every stage by bringing in the right lawyers to impress our clients and help expand our practice area in the right way.”

Senior Associate Zahir Nayani, joined the team on qualification in 2012. He completed his Islamic Finance Qualification in his personal capacity while training at his previous firm. Foot Anstey's specialist Islamic Finance offering meant it was an obvious choice for Zahir to join. “I moved to Foot Anstey during the formative stage of this practice area. Islamic Finance has support from both the UK government through the issuance of the sovereign sukuk in June 2014, and from an increasing number of investors (both domestic and international) into UK real estate. Typically the preserve of City and international firms, it’s good for our profile to be undertaking multi-million pound deals alongside much larger players.”

The scale and quality of the transactions is unique and, as at Q4 2016, we had closed over £1 billion worth of financing and investment deals for shariah compliant banks and Middle Eastern investors. The speed of development has exceeded the expectations of everyone here, including Imam. “It is going really well and we are involved in a lot of high quality work, both through my older clients and as new clients come on board.”

Imam goes on to explain that he has ambitious growth targets for the future, including continuing to expand the work for our Islamic Finance clients across other areas of the business. “We want to carry on and develop more, expanding our geographical presence and the range of work we do into every area of Islamic Finance. We currently work with a lot of London and Middle Eastern clients, but with the addition of Fara Mohammad to the team, we’ll be looking to expand our presence into South East Asia, including Malaysia in particular.”