Sudden regulatory changes are “challenging” but will develop the region into a first-class business destination, say experts
Essam Al Tamimi
UBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to a report released this week, “challenging” or “extremely challenging” is how 51% of legal decision-makers surveyed describe sudden changes to regulatory policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The new report also highlighted, that it is not just the pace at which new regulation is being introduced that provides a challenge, but decoding and then enforcing it.
The report, entitled “Legal Leaders in MENA,” was commissioned by Al Tamimi & Company to investigate, and lift the lid, on what is keeping the region’s legal decision-makers awake at night, and what are the emerging risks and priorities challenging the legal sector across the region. The report captured the views of 700 legal decision-makers across nine countries and 13 industry sectors in the MENA region.
The Legal Leaders in MENA report acknowledges that, while the regulatory environment continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the initiatives being put in place will continue to develop the region into a first-class business destination. The report further identifies that the frequent introduction of new regulatory policy has challenged businesses to stay abreast of legal change. This is reflected by the emphasis businesses are placing on the role of legal decision makers within their organisations, with 54% of respondents stating they now have a seat on their board of directors, or equivalent. Furthermore, 90% of legal decision-makers surveyed revealed that they are now advising on corporate strategy.
The report examines a number of pertinent areas that are high on the legal agenda, including the rise of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). The growing importance of ESG is highlighted within the report, with a massive 94% of legal decision-makers occasionally, or regularly, assessing ESG risk and compliance within their role. Unsurprisingly, 80% of legal decision-makers expect ESG considerations to become more important to their work in the coming years. As ESG transitions into the realm of legal and compliance, the report makes it clear that legal decision-makers will play a central role in the implementation of future ESG policies.
“We welcome the progress being made in the regulatory landscape across the region,” said Samer Qudah, Managing Partner at Al Tamimi & Company. “The Legal Leaders in MENA report has highlighted a fast-changing environment, implementation of modern technology, and prominence of ESG as key factors to which the legal community must pay close attention. We will act on this information and ensure our legal teams are regularly upskilled to handle the progressive legal landscape in the region. This will in turn ensure we are equipped to meet the growing demands of our clients and fulfil our evolving role as advisors.”
Commenting on the launch of the 2022 Legal Leaders in MENA report, Essam Al Tamimi, Chairman, Al Tamimi & Company, said:
“The regulatory changes and updates being implemented are positive and will align the region with international standards. It is clear, that against a challenging backdrop our role as legal decision-makers is growing in importance, and this can be seen by our increasing influence on corporate strategy. As we navigate our way through a rapidly developing legal landscape, clients will look to us for guidance, answers, and advice more than ever before. We will ensure we are prepared and stand ready to support our clients.”
Legal Leaders in MENA – Other key findings:
- Covid fails to deter investment
- 43% of legal decision-makers say their companies are planning to increase future investment in the growth of their company, with another 35% holding investment firm.
- Africa is the investment destination of choice
- legal decision-makers we surveyed looking to enter new geographies, 81% are looking to expand their operations in Africa.
- Technology and innovation will underpin growth
- 48% of the legal decision-makers surveyed have increased their investment in digital capabilities in 2021 compared to the year before.
- 69% see business model innovation as important, while 39% of legal decision-makers see innovation as core to their business.
- Legal under the spotlight
- The top three most pressing risk and compliance issues that legal decision-makers need to address in 2022 are – new financial standards and taxation, changing ownership regulations and new health and employee welfare/employment standards.
A copy of the 2022 Legal Leaders in MENA report can be downloaded here
Al Tamimi & Company
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