2018 Accolades

General Business Law – Band 1

Ranked Lawyers:

Bernard Tan – General Business Law (Band 1)
James Chiew – General Business Law (Senior Statesmen)

What the team is known for

Remains a go-to choice of counsel for many major international and domestic clients on a variety of Brunei-facing mandates. Regularly advises on complex banking, corporate and property-related transactions, as well as private equity fund formation. Wins acclaim for its sophisticated handling of Islamic finance transactions.


Sources are impressed by the firm’s cross-border offering, admiring its “good bench of lawyers” who possess strong client relationship skills and “good international experience”. This commentator also commends the firm’s ability to handle “innovative Islamic finance work”.

Work highlights

Assisted SBI (B) Sdn Bhd with the formation of a USD 100 million Shari’a-compliant private equity fund.

Advised Standard Chartered Bank on legal issues pertaining to its potential involvement in a sukuk issuance by the government of Brunei.

Notable practitioners

Bernard Tan maintains a stellar reputation in the market, frequently advising international clients on corporate, banking and securities deals, as well as funds. He recently provided regulatory advice to AIA in relation to insurance and fund management matters in Brunei.

James Chiew Consultant James Chiew has a long-standing reputation as a leading adviser on Islamic finance in Brunei. A highly experienced practitioner, he advises clients on a range of general corporate matters, securities transactions and funds.

Ranked in the Asialaw ALP Awards 2017 – Brunei Firm of the Year

Banking & Finance (Outstanding)
Construction & Real Estate (Outstanding)
Corporate / M&A (Outstanding)
Dispute Resolution & Litigation (Highly Recommended)

Leading Lawyers:

Ahmad Basuni bin Hj Abbas – Banking & finance, Corporate / M&A (Market-leading Lawyer)
Bernard Tan – Banking & finance, Corporate / M&A (Leading Lawyer)
Tan Suan Chin – Banking & finance (Market-leading Lawyer)


Banking & Finance

Abrahams, Davidson & Co. is one of the strongest law firms in banking and finance in Brunei for both domestic and cross border matters. Bernard Tan is the leading partner at the firm who specialises in banking and corporate practice with experience in Malaysia and Brunei securities and mutual funds laws as well as structured finance and M&A. Tan advised Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank on a banking survey in carrying out certain activities in Brunei. Tan also advised Standard Chartered Bank (Brunei) on the legal documentation matters in partaking in an Islamic structured finance product (Sukuk documentation) issued by the Brunei Government. Other leading lawyers at the firm include Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas and Tan Suan Chin.

Construction & Real Estate

Abrahams, Davidson & Co.’s property development team advises and prepares legal documentation for a range of construction and real estate transactions including sale lease and development. Tan Suan Chin heads the banking and conveyancing practice and has more than 23 years of practice experience both in Singapore and Brunei.

Corporate / M&A

Leading corporate firm Abrahams, Davidson & Co. has significant experience in advising on acquisition of local banks, vesting of assets involving foreign bank branches, joint venture and project agreements. Leading partner Bernard Tan advised on the sale of G4S Group Holding’s equity and business to local investors. Tan also advised SBI Islamic Fund II on the arrangement of a new $100 million USD dollar denominated Islamic private equity fund. Tan and his team prepared all the necessary fund documentation and placement memorandum.

Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Abrahams, Davidson & Co. provides regular expert opinion and acts for clients before the High Court in areas such as construction, intellectual property, infrastructure, and corporate law. Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas leads on litigation matters at the firm and has more than 22 years of experience.

Financial and Corporate (Tier 1)

Leading Lawyers:

Bernard Tan – Investment Funds, Banking, M&A (Highly regarded)

2017 Accolades

Financial and Corporate (Tier 1)

Financial and Corporate:
After another strong year, Abrahams, Davidson & Co. has maintained as its Tier 1 position in our Brunei table.

Taking the lead is partner Bernard Tan, who is active in financial and corporate practices. The corporate and commercial practices at the firm, alongside banking, property development and securities and funds are regarded as the firms’ core practices.

Other significant figure in the firm are Suan Chin, Nor Suhaila and James Chiew who work across sectors from corporate banking to Islamic finance.

Deal highlights include work for the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector on a proposed investment in the country. It acted on the sale of UOB Bank’s retail banking business in Brunei to Baiduri Bank.

The firm also acted as local counsel for Ireland-based credit card processor Elavon advising on the regulatory aspects of its provision of credit and debit card processing facilities to an airline domiciled in Brunei.

2016 Accolades

General Business Law – Band 1

Ranked Lawyers:

Bernard Tan – General Business Law (Band 1)
James Chiew – General Business Law (Senior Statesmen)

Abrahams, Davidson & Co. remains a key local offering for major international and domestic clients for a variety of Brunei-facing mandates. The team demonstrates wide-ranging capabilities, regularly assisting on local corporate, regulatory and banking issues. Key areas of expertise include Islamic finance.

It recently advised Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Maybank on compliance issues in Brunei. Sources also underscore the group’s capabilities in dispute resolution.

A veteran operator in the banking space, James Chiew continues to advise key clientele on regulatory and transactional issues related to financial products.

Bernard Tan is well versed in assisting international lenders and borrowers on local banking deals. Work highlights include advising Expro Group’s local subsidiary on accession, guarantor and joinder arrangements related to its parent’s refinancing of a syndicated facility. Tan has further experience assisting with energy sector M&A and project development.

Financial and Corporate (Tier 1)

Financial and Corporate:
Abrahams, Davidson & Co. continues to be one of the leading firms in Brunei. The corporate and commercial practice at the firm, alongside banking, property development and securities and funds, are regarded as the firm’s core practices.

The firm has three partners who continue to deal in high end corporate deals which include a joint venture transaction that crosses into different jurisdictions whereby ADCO acted as local counsel.

The firm also advised AMEC Group on corporate acquisition deal of the Scorpus Group, which is an oil and gas services company with operations in Brunei amongst several countries.

Moving into 2015, ADCO advised Expro International Group in a $1.5 billion credit facilities refinancing deal with a group of syndicated lenders. Bernard Tan led the transaction. In a separate transaction, Tan also acted as local counsel for CDS industries, a Korean company in its acquisition of a local company in an offshore oil project.

2015 Accolades

General Business Law – Band 1

Ranked Lawyers:

Bernard Tan – General Business Law (Band 1)
James Chiew – General Business Law (Senior Statesmen)

This practice is a first port of call for many international law firms seeking local counsel, as well as major local corporate and government entities. The team is best known for its banking and finance expertise, both conventional and Islamic, and for its expertise in corporate transactions.

Its enviable client base includes Telekom Brunei, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Baiduri Bank. It assisted Clifford Chance with local accession and guarantee documentation related to the restructuring of existing financing facilities.

Bernard Tan comes highly recommended by clients, who are “extremely pleases with his quick responses to urgent matters and his excellent know-how on corporate and commercial matters”. He leads on the bulk of the firm’s major mandates, including assisting Soy & World International on a joint venture with Al-Hana Enterprise.

James Chiew is currently acts as a consultant to the group, and is on hand to share his extensive experience in Islamic finance, corporate and funds work.

Financial and Corporate (Tier 1)

Financial and Corporate:
The corporate practice at Abrahams, Davidson & Co. (ADCO) maintains its strong position amongst the leading firms in Brunei. The firm has three key partners and Bernard Tan is best known for corporate and commercial work. In banking, Tan works alongside managing partner Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas, a litigation and intellectual property legal practitioner and partner Tan Suan Chin, who also covers conveyancing and property development matters.

Highlight deals in 2013 include advising a confidential client on a multi-jurisdictional restructuring of loan facilities worth between $991 million and $1.19 billion. In an inbound investment deal, Tan represented Japanese company Soy & World International in a joint venture with Brunei dairy company Al-Hana Enterprise, establishing Hana Soy & World.

No stranger to big domestic deals, ADCO also advised Bruneian Hengyi Industries in a land lease agreement with The Brunei Economic Development Board. This is the second petrochemical project in Brunei. It involved the leasing of 260-hectares of land at the Pulau Muara Besar to Hengyi Industries for the purpose of developing and operating an integrated crude oil refinery and aromatics complex.

ADCO also dealt with a couple of IT and telecommunication related deals, one of the few sectors the government of Brunei announced to grow last year.

2014 Accolades

General Business Law – Band 1

Ranked Lawyers:

Bernard Tan – General Business Law (Band 1)
James Chiew – General Business Law (Senior Statesmen)

This market-leading firm has a stellar reputation in Brunei and is renowned for its excellent Islamic and conventional banking, corporate and securities, and real estate practices. It continues to feature prominently in major transactions, thanks to a highly responsive and pragmatic approach that prompts clients to report that they “really enjoy dealing” with the firm.

It has advised clients on major financing deals for Sukuk issuance, ship construction, government projects and commercial properties, as well as acting for the Brunei Economic Development Board on the proposed construction of a bridge linking the island of Pulau Muara Besar to the mainland.

Bernard Tan heads the corporate and commercial group, and is appreciated by clients for his “really shard intelligence, excellent advice” and personable style.

Market stalwart and consultant James Chiew is another important member of the team, valued for his wealth of corporate and commercial experience and expertise.

Banking & Finance (Highly Recommended)
Construction & Real Estate (Highly Recommended)
Corporate / M&A (Highly Recommended)
IT, Telco & Media (Highly Recommended)

Abrahams, Davidson & Co. is a leading firm in Brunei recognized for its corporate and commercial, real estate and litigation practices. It has expertise in both conventional and Islamic financings.

The firm is “excellent”, a client says. “Highly recommended to anyone who needs legal advice”.

Managing partner Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas has over 22 years of experience, with areas of practice including commercial work, banking, litigation, conveyancing and intellectual property.

Partner Bernard Tan looks after the firm’s corporate and commercial practice. He acts on corporate and commercial, securities and funds, banking, conveyancing and property development matters.

Clients have praised Tan for his technical skills, “ability to innovate” and for being “very responsive”. He recently advised as Brunei counsel to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation in a US$1.36billion deal in relation to the establishment of a joint venture in ASEAN and the United States between the client and BlueScope Steel in Australia, which will be headquartered in Singapore.

Tan has advised, drafted and provided training on a sharia law-compliant Musyarakah Mutanaqisah, an Islamic financing product, for Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam.

Abrahams, Davidson has also been active advising on securities and derivatives transactions between foreign banks and sovereign wealth funds.

The firm’s information technology, telecommunications and media practice has been involved in advising national telecommunications service provider, Telekom Brunei, on a range of matters.

Tan and Nor Suhaila Latiff have recently been involved in a major ongoing project involving the commissioning of the planned phase 2 “Fibre to Home Project”, involving the installation of a broadband fibre optic network infrastructure in homes and businesses throughout the country.

With considerable industry experience, the firm continues to be fought after by clients on major real estate and constructions projects. Partner Tan Suan Chin heads the firm’s banking and conveyancing development.

Financial and Corporate (Tier 1)

Financial and Corporate:
Abrahams, Davidson & Co. is Brunei’s premier law firm, which clients applaud for being “excellent” and “highly recommended”. Peers at rival firms acknowledge Abrahams, Davidson’s strength in corporate advisory, banking and conveyance work.

The firm has been particularly active in advising on several securities and derivatives transactions between foreign banks and sovereign wealth funds.

Abrahams, Davidson’s information, communication and technology practice remains very active. The partners continue to be heavily involved in advising on transactional documentation for a range of services for the national telecommunications service provider, Telekom Brunei.

A recent major engagement involved the firm advising on the commissioning of the planned Phase 2 “Fibre to Home Project”, which encompasses the construction and provision of a fibre optic broadband network infrastructure which will connect homes and businesses in Brunei. Bernard Tan, one of Brunei’s leading lawyers, was involved in this transaction. Tan play a pivotal role in Abrahams, Davidson’s corporate commercial, securities / funds and banking practice.

Considered to be an overall tier 1 corporate lawyer, one client praised the partner for “his technical skills, ability to innovate, and responsiveness”. Tan has provided advice to Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam and the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (Japan). The latter saw him acting as Brunei counsel in a joint venture in Asia and the US between said corporation and BlueScope Steel in Australia.

Ahmad Basuni Hj Abbas is managing partner at Abrahams, Davidson and manages the litigation, banking, conveyancing and IP practices at the firm.

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