August 9, 2010

KSH in South Korea : An experience of importing expertise

This happens 2 weeks ago from this date. 

Early morning arrival (7.43am)
 In just 5 days, from a negotiation to go to South Korea, I found myself in South Korea, a place I never expect ever to go on a working trip. It was decided a the last minute that I would represent my firm as the person to attend our client on a quite complicated venture. I nearly did not manage to find a flight as the plane I was on also carries the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia who was on a working visit there.

The hotel we are staying where the delegates from Malaysia were also staying

Why is the venture a complicated one? Our client is one of the few middle-eastern bank in Malaysia. They are financing a development in Sabah. Being a practising lawyer in West Malaysia, we cannot do any work in Sabah which is located in the East Malaysia. However, as we are the lawyers who drafted some of the documentation for the bank for their housing loans, we are chosen to be the lawyer for this particular financing by the bank. Then, to make matter complicated, the development is developed by a developer which is based in South Korea, although the owner is a South Korean living in Sabah.

The pictures of the development in Sabah

We are already in a meeting by 2pm on the day we arrived

As they have targeted most of the purchasers from South Korea to buy the property, they were looking for financing to finance the purchases. Hence, our trip to South Korea. With the luxurious offering by the developer, the purchasers need quite a lot of financing for their purchases. This is where our bank comes into the picture. And us.

Had a bit of time to shop that night as their malls closed at 4.30am!
Trying to communicate with the purchasers there were quite an experience itself. Especially when trying to explain to them about Islamic finance, in which we used the concept of tawarruq to built up the documents. Islamic finance is non-existence in South Korea. However, it seems that South Korean government has a lot of interest in it. We'll see how it will be developed in the long run.

Briefing other potential purchasers/borrowers

The developer's lawyer talking to me about Islamic finance

Had a full discussion day on the 2nd day until dusk as we fly back on 3rd day early in the morning

How's that for a working business trip?

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