Press Releases


The First Investor (TFI), the investment banking arm of Barwa Bank Group, was recognized at the International Alternative Investment Review (IAIR) Awards that for its legal expertise and excellence.

At the awards’ 19th edition that was held on November 19th 2016 in Dubai to honor some of the most influential figures in economic and banking institutions of various countries around the world, The First Investor walked away with the Legal Team of the Year - Investment Banking accolade, owing to its crossover role in driving all core areas of Barwa Bank Group’s business forward, as well as to its service and support excellence vis-à-vis clients, regulators and shareholders. In IAIR’s motivation for awarding this honor to TFI, they highlighted ‘’the ability of the TFI legal team, well-coordinated and lead by Mr. Allen Merhej, to advise on the investments and the financial products made or offered by The First Investor. Thanks to the specific skill in combining Islamic and conventional financing not only in the Gulf, but also in the US, Europe and Brazil, the legal team distinguished itself for being a point of reference’’.

The First Investor legal team obtained top ranking among a select group of top tier institutions and individuals in the regional corporate, legal, forex and banking fields.

The award ceremony capped the IAIR’s 7th CEO Summit, a knowledge exchange platform between top CEOs, executives and companies. Held this year under the theme “Leadership: Skills and Visions for Growth”, the summit gave way to a slew of discussions and debates around the skills and challenges for top-ranking company leaders, as well as the role of the Middle East in the global economy growth.

Commenting on the recognition, Mr. Youssef Al-Obaidan, Acting Chief Executive Officer of TFI, stated:

“This year’s CEO Summit theme comes in light of a crucial transition for the investment banking industry where disciplines, business models and best practices are being continuously reshaped and redefined. Financial institutions no longer work in departmental siloes and, this translates into a dire need to continuously evolve the cross-functional capacity of each pillar discipline underpinning their growth and strategy forward. Our legal team has proactively led efforts on this front, constantly and strategically expanding the scope of its services to anticipate risks, trends and dynamics that would play into our business in the future.        

With this accolade from the IAIR Awards, TFI is being duly recognized for its overall expertise in structuring, managing and exiting cross-border investments in addition to its in-house capabilities in investment banking, real estate investments, and assets management. Additionally, the award highlights our commitments to deliver investment services with integrity and transparency.”