Norton Rose Fulbright has bulked up its Middle East debt capital markets offering with the hire of Gregory Man from Clifford Chance in Hong Kong. 


Man, formerly a senior associate in Clifford Chance’s finance and capital markets practice, has joined the firm’s Dubai office as partner. He works on conventional and Islamic debt, structured finance and securitisation His recent work includes jointly leading the team that advised the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (MEXIM) on establishing its $1 billion multicurrency sukuk (Islamic bond) programme. He has experience of working in the Middle East having spent some of his five years with Clifford Chance in the firm’s Dubai office. 


Man is the second lawyer to defect from Clifford Chance to Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dubai’s office in the last six months. In November last year, another former senior associate at the Magic Circle firm, Robin Balmer, joined the UK firm’s base in the Emirates as of counsel in the finance team. Balmer specialises in project and Islamic finance, with a particular focus on the Saudi market.


Commenting on the hires, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Middle East head of banking and finance, and MENA (Middle East & North Africa) head of Islamic finance, Mohammed Paracha said since the legacy Norton Rose firm merged with Fulbright & Jaworski it had been looking at where it needed to strengthen its UAE offering, targeting a Saudi Arabia specialist and a DCM partner. "Robin Balmer was so we could have a specific Saudi focus. Now we have a dedicated person who is pushing in the market rather than looking at it on a generic basis," he said. Explaining Mann's hire, he remarked: "We have never had a debt capital markets partner leading the practice and we felt, looking at the regional bond activity, it was important to bring in a dedicated partner who could do conventional and Islamic bonds." He added Mann's experience of the Asian bond market was another driver behind his hire. "Having someone in the Middle East who can do regional transactions but also look to Asia is invaluable. We see Middle Eastern banks increasingly follow trade and trade flows, and one of the areas we areas seeing a a tremendous amount of growth is in Middle Eastern trade flowing to Asia."