Kassim Legal serves as outside fund counsel to more venture capital and private equity funds than any other boutique law firm in the MENA region. We represent funds during all main investment phases not just fund formation and registration. We have deep experience registering funds throughout the world’s most popular fund jurisdictions which include the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United States, and more recently the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Authority.
As a hands-on, client-centric firm, we regularly serve as general fund counsel assisting funds during the entire investment fund life cycle, from the design and inception phase to the wind down and liquidation phase. The funds we represent range from small or micro accelerator and incubator funds to late stage venture capital and private equity funds.
As the leading boutique law firm for private funds operating in MENA, Kassim Legal offers a full range of services which includes:
- Fund Design
- Fund Formation & Registration
- Fund Structuring
- Transaction Structuring & Due Diligence
- Exits & Liquidity Events
- Deal Workouts and Restructuring
- International Tax
- Asset Tracing & Recovery
- Fund Governance & Management
General Fund Counsel
Having served as general fund counsel to countless venture capital and private equity funds in MENA, we understand the unique circumstances that private funds face in the region. By taking a long-term and comprehensive view, we are able to structure funds and their underlying investments in a way that keeps the end in mind with special attention paid to potential exits and liquidity events. While we offer a much wider range of services for private funds, below are what we find to be the most pressing issues faced by our private fund clients.
- Fund Design
- Fund Formation and Structure
- Investments & Due Diligence
- Exits & Liquidation
Fund Design: How to design your fund to ensure long-term viability
One of the first questions we ask any prospective fund manager or sponsor is whether the proposed fund is viable over the long term. Having served on hundreds of transactions in every major MENA market, we regularly assist fund managers and sponsors map out the competitive landscape in the region to determine whether there is an actual market need for their proposed investment thesis. Blindly copying successful fund business models from more developed and mature markets and implementing them in MENA, without taking into account local market conditions and practice, can be detrimental. Market conditions and standards vary tremendously not only between MENA and other more developed markets but also between MENA countries. Funds that operate in Saudi Arabia will face an entirely different set of market conditions and constraints than those operating in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, or Jordan.
Whether it is determining the appropriate size of the fund, the investment ticket size, or determining the optimal investment vehicle, Kassim Legal has unparalleled experience and expertise in helping fund managers and sponsors design and formulate private funds suited for the MENA region.
Formation & Structure: The ideal fund jurisdiction and structure
After ensuring the long-term viability of any particular fund, we then look at fund registration and fund structuring. While the list of popular fund jurisdictions is well known, each jurisdiction comes with its own pros and cons. Selecting the right jurisdiction and fund structure largely depends on two main factors, the funds’ existing size and investment thesis, and more importantly, the long term goals of the fund. As one of the few truly international boutique firms in MENA, we take a global view and have regularly registered funds in one jurisdiction knowing that over time and as the fund becomes larger and more successful, that the fund will potentially have to be restructured or re-registered to another jurisdiction.
Kassim Legal’s fund formation experience encompasses all the known private fund structures but also includes experience in a wide range of alternative fund structures vehicles that our firm has developed over the years which are specifically tailored for private funds operating in MENA. Our expertise includes all aspects of fund formation and registration which include preparing all fund related documentation, investor negotiations, international and cross-border fundraising, and international tax structuring and compliance.
With deep experience registering funds in all major fund jurisdictions across the world, Kassim Legal is the MENA region’s leading boutique firm for fund registrations.
Investments & Due Diligence: How to structure and screen your MENA investments
Funds that invest in MENA-based companies face a unique set of challenges that other funds operating in more developed markets do not experience. Most if not all MENA-based companies maintain dual or multiple registrations with one main holding company registered outside of MENA and a second, usually much larger, operational company registered in one of the main MENA markets. Any fund then that would like to invest in MENA-based companies must have expertise operating in not just the dozen or so MENA countries but also in a host of other countries where many MENA-based companies register their main holding companies. This expertise should encompass not only how to structure investments so that they are compliant and more importantly, enforceable across multiple jurisdictions, but also how to conduct due diligence on companies that maintain multiple registrations in vastly different and varied jurisdictions.
Kassim Legal has unrivaled experience in structuring MENA investments and conducting due diligence on MENA-based companies. Kassim Legal has served on more deals than any other boutique law firm in MENA having successfully worked on hundreds of investment transactions in the region. We are also one of the few if not the only boutique firm in MENA with a specialized financial fraud examination practice whereby, in addition to conducting legal and corporate due diligence on potential target companies, we also regularly assist funds review a target company’s underlying financial information for irregular financial activity.
Exits & Liquidation: Keeping the end in mind
All funds expect to exit from their investments but exits remain rare in the MENA-region and the secondary market in MENA for the purchase and sale of private and relatively small companies is still in its infancy. Asset sales versus the sale of whole companies remain virtually non-existent in practice. Therefore many funds investing in MENA companies must structure their investments and their underlying portfolio companies in a way that would make those companies appealing to potential acquisitions from companies located outside of the MENA region. This often requires expertise in structuring investments and the portfolio companies so that they remain compliant with MENA-specific laws, regulations, and custom while also structuring them in a way that would be attractive to larger acquirers from more developed markets.
Over the years, Kassim Legal has developed its own best practice investment structures that are both internationally recognized and accessible to MENA-based companies.
Kassim Legal has unmatched experience in the private fund space having represented more venture capital and private equity funds than any other boutique law firm in the MENA region. Our comprehensive and holistic approach, whether from fund design to registration to structuring fund investments, helps ensure the long term success and viability of the funds that we work with for years to come.
“I could not say enough good things about Kassim Legal and their team. They are an integral part of our team.”-AA
“A true ‘white glove’ experience from helping us register our fund to assisting us screen and structure our investments in portfolio companies”-FH
“There is absolutely no learning curve involved, you hit the ground running when you work with Kassim Legal. There is no other firm I would recommend more for any private fund operating in the Middle East.”
“One of the best firms we’ve used for our private fund work – exceptional service.”