Watson Farley & Williams' Dubai office has recruited an SGH Martineau finance partner from its London branch.

Neale Downes, who spent nine years in Bahrain with Trowers & Hamlin as its Middle East banking head, returned to the region with Watson Farley this month, becoming the firm’s third partner in Dubai, where the firm opened in September 2014.

The main attribute Downes brings to the UK firm’s sole Middle East branch is experience in Islamic finance transactions. Like his new firm, he also includes asset finance among his specialties along with project and structured finance.

This recent addition is the second lateral partner hire by Watson Farley in Dubai this year. In March, K&L Gates corporate partner, Suhail Mirza, who handles cross-border M&A, strategic joint ventures and corporate restructuring, joined as the firm's second UAE based partner alongside office head Andrew Baird.