Akin Gump adds finance and capital markets partner


Akin Gump has announced that Rizwan H. Kanji has joined the firm as a partner in its Dubai office. He comes to Akin Gump from another large international law firm in Dubai, where he served as the lead of that firm’s global capital markets working group and as one of the deputy heads of its financial services industry focus group.

Kanji’s practice focuses on debt capital markets, finance and securitisations using both conventional and Islamic finance structures. Particularly active in the Middle East and Turkey for over a decade and, more recently, in Africa, he advises investment banks, financial institutions, multilateral development banks, sovereign states, insurance companies and multinational regional corporations on high-profile transactions.

Well-known in the market for his excellent client and technical skills, in particular for his ability to structure conventional financing as well as Shari’ah-compliant sukuk, Kanji has developed a particular reputation for advising on ‘first of its kind’ transactions. For example, he advised on the first sukuk out of Turkey, the first syndicated Murabaha financing out of Russia, the first ‘Blue Bond’ in the world and the establishment of the largest sukuk program to date.

“Rizwan’s arrival significantly broadens our finance capability on the ground in the Middle East, in particular his Islamic and conventional finance skills,” commented Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “His experience complements that of our existing team extremely well, and I am delighted he has joined Akin Gump’s team in the Middle East.”

Kanji will work closely with colleagues in the firm’s corporate, capital markets, international trade and structured finance teams in the UAE, Europe, Asia and the U.S. He received his LL.B. from the University of Leicester and his LL.M from Southampton University. He is qualified in England and Wales.

“Rizwan has a wealth of experience, particularly in the realm of Islamic finance, and highly sought-after technical skills which complement our highly regarded corporate practice in the region. His arrival is an excellent strategic fit for the firm in the UAE and our clients across the Middle East, Europe and the United States,” added Dubai partner-in-charge Mahmoud (Mac) Fadlallah.

Kanji commented, “Akin Gump is well respected in the UAE and across the Middle East and offers a tremendous platform for my practice. I look forward to helping further build the firm’s presence in Dubai and offerings across the region to support client needs, particularly in capital markets and finance matters, and am very pleased to join this dynamic team.”

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