Ashley Freeman is an English-qualified Solicitor with over 20 years of international banking and financial services experience – encompassing strategic, transactional and regulatory matters – particularly in an Islamic context.
Since qualifying as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales in 1995, Ashley has worked as a financial services lawyer spending in the City of London and the Kingdom of Bahrain. He began his career in private practice working for many large investment banks in the City, and soon developed a niche reputation for Islamic finance and relocated to the Arab Gulf region in 2001.
Ashley was initially Head of Legal at Gulf International Bank but quickly gained global recognition as General Counsel of the Central Bank of Bahrain – consequently having enormous influence on the development of Bahrain as a leading Islamic finance centre. He was responsible for drafting many of the banking & financial services laws of the country, including the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law.
Amongst many other ground-breaking initiatives, Ashley personally advised the Ministry of Finance on every international sovereign sukuk issue of the Kingdom (some of the first anywhere in the world) during his 13 year tenure as the Bahrain’s senior most public sector banking lawyer. Ashley has been Head of Islamic Finance at two City of London law firms, including at Clifford Chance where he set-up the Islamic finance department.
Ashley has also worked on numerous bank re-organisations, including some of the first Islamic bank mergers, acquisitions and conversions. Ashley is widely recognised as an expert on financial rescues in the Gulf region and led the legal team for the regulator and largest creditor of the world’s biggest Islamic bank restructuring and the first carried out within Chapter 11 US bankruptcy code proceedings.
On the international stage, Ashley was a member of the working parties that designed and set-up the influential Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM), personally drafting their founding documents. He was also a member of the working party that established Bahrain’s highly-acclaimed Waqf Fund.
Ashley is a member of Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, Conversion Factory, Dispute Resolution, Executive Strategy, Turkey Desk, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.
Ashley studied law at Cambridge University where he gained BA and MA degrees and was President of the Islamic Society.