The Silicon Review
“To actualize our fundamentals: we are investing in leadership programs, soft-skills programs, new practice areas responding to new technologies such as AI, blockchain as well as empowering our existing practice by recruiting-related experts that may enrich such practice.”
NAZALI Tax & Legal is a full-service law firm that offers legal solutions in financial law and its sub-disciplines, such as accounting, corporate finance, and tax dispute, by its expert and experienced team. NAZALI summarizes its effort with respect to serving healthy growth policies to its clients based on knowledge and law.
NAZALI is currently based in Turkey with locally presented offices in İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa, and Denizli, and globally present with offices in Amsterdam, London, Moscow, Casablanca, and Kyiv through its subsidiary NAZALI International Consulting Inc.
Ersin Nazali (Managing Partner) spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an Excerpt
Q. Tell us about NAZALI Tax & Legal?
We are a full-service law firm providing a wide range of consultancy and litigation services to national and international clients through our partners, associates, and consultants of different seniorities who have both public and private sector experience. We have a multi-disciplinary structure deeply specialized in the areas of Tax Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Protective Legal Services, and Dispute Resolution, Personal Data Protection and Privacy, Social Security and Labor Law, Occupational Health and Safety, Competition Law, Intellectual Property and R&D, Customs and Foreign Trade, Financial Incentives, and Compliance. In addition to our legal services, we have NAZALI Audit, NAZALI Accounting & Payroll, and NAZALI Tax Certification service lines under the same roof.
What sets us apart from others is that we offer a truly comprehensive service to clients with our experts from different disciplines working collaboratively under one roof, enabling the whole team to evaluate all dimensions of legal matters together with financial & technical matters. To elaborate, our services to clients include the most appropriate solution by virtue of the supports created by our technical departments specialized in tax, finance, social security, customs, intellectual property (engineering), and IT.
We want to highlight that “Good Service, Sound Business Advice, and Prompt Response” are the key distinctive fundamentals of NAZALI. The main reason why we gained the trust of our clients and grew rapidly within a short time is based on the fact that we never compromised these key fundamentals.
Q. What inspired the creation of NAZALI International Consulting Inc.?
Since our establishment in November 2014, our plan was to become an international consultancy firm. We observed that Turkish entities needed a reliable consultant to resign their local and foreign investments at one address without endeavoring to find a new one abroad. The same is also valid for the other foreign multinational entities which have investments in Turkey. Therefore, after completing our local organization in Turkey (with five offices), we immediately concentrated on our international organization in the jurisdictions preferred by most multinational entities to serve as their long-lasting multi-jurisdictional advisors.
Accordingly, within a very short time, we achieved our goal and established new offices in Casablanca and Moscow, later Kyiv, Amsterdam and London followed in responding to our clients’ requests on tax and legal matters. We are keen and dedicated to providing the same quality of service and keeping the same multi-disciplinary approach in those jurisdictions.
Q. Where do you stand as a company in the current market scenario? And what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?
As mentioned above, for client retention, good service, sound business advice, and prompt response are the key distinctive fundamentals of NAZALI. In this aspect, we can say that these three fundamentals are our tickets to be unique not only on rocky roads but also in our ordinary course of business. Currently, we are all endeavoring much more than we used to sustain client satisfaction.
To actualize our fundamentals: we are investing in leadership programs, soft-skills programs, new practice areas responding to new technologies such as AI, blockchain as well as empowering our existing practice by recruiting-related experts that may enrich such practice. For example, we recruit technical engineers to work with our IP department and TMT lawyers, social security experts to work with the employment law department, and tax experts to work with the tax law department.
We also invest in our team’s knowledge by supporting them with our monetary or administrative incentives during their masters/training/certificate programs, language courses, and proficiency exams enabling them to practice in other jurisdictions. We also continue to follow and embrace new technological developments and tools easing our practice such as remote working systems, AI-based technologies such as AI-based due diligence, business development programs, and applications, reporting and accounting software, online communication/training/social platforms, as well as document management and security systems.
Our expansion of operations overseas by establishing new offices in other jurisdictions is also an important indicator of our commitment to addressing our clients’ needs uniquely.
Q. What can you say about the effects of Covid-19 on Turkey, your clients, and NAZALI?
Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic had a severe impact on Turkey’s economy as the same as in the entire global economy. As you say, we have been through many crises in Turkey recently, and those kinds of shocks are relatively normal to the Turkish business world. Given the circumstances, our firm is also affected in certain aspects but definitely not in a dramatic way as we are a full-fledged firm actively involved in many practice areas, including the ones that emerged by the pandemic consequences such as tax matters and incentives, employment, and social security law and dispute resolution along with preventive law, which enabled us to serve our clients on an ongoing basis.
To be more precise, we have been growing rapidly since our establishment in 2014 and accordingly making the investment to almost all areas of law by welcoming new partners and hiring new colleagues specialized in different practice areas. Having opened new offices abroad was also one of the most accurate decisions that we have made. Thus, when the Covid-19 hit, we already had strong teams on board with a multi-disciplinary approach, a vast service network, and a portfolio with long-lasting clients. In addition to our well-established corporate retainer practice, we have had the opportunity to work on a project basis with local and international clients in areas such as M&A, data privacy, competition, corporate and tax restructuring, growth finance, and IPOs.
Q. Can you tell us how did you and your clients manage to overcome the effect of covid19?
To our observation, our clients who could adapt their business, operations, and teams to the new normal within a short period and embrace new developments with flexible, practical, and solution-based approaches mitigate the risks most. Of course, the Covid-19 had negative impacts on certain sectors such as industry, tourism, leisure, financial services, while some sectors such as e-commerce, Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) grow even beyond expectations. Further, clients using this opportunity to expand their business in these areas or adopting new technologies even benefited from the Covid-19 environment. We also observe some of our clients preferred to suspend their upcoming investments, minimize their workspace and introduce new policies for cost-cutting to overcome financial risks. Also, governmental measures such as incentives and aids on partial salary, social security premium, and withholding tax payments helped our clients to address some financial stress on the business side. Fiscal packages provided by the government triggered strong rebounds across financial markets and stimulated the economy.
As sustainability becomes one of the key strengths during these days, thanks to our wide range of practice areas and client portfolio active in different sectors, we had the opportunity to grow our business in different practice areas and sectors and offer our clients flexible working conditions, which enable them to receive undisrupted services from our firm. Last but not least, due to our firm’s investment in new technologies and existing home office policy, we could easily adapt ourselves to remote working conditions successfully. For sure, this helped us to continue our ongoing services without any interruption from day one.
Q. Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how your solutions helped them overcome those challenges?
The Problem: An investigation was being conducted regarding one of our clients, a leading firm (Headquarters located abroad) in digital markets in Turkey. The scope of the investigation was regarding the unilateral practices of the client. Thus, while the investigation was ongoing, the “commitment mechanism” was newly introduced to Turkish Competition Law; but the secondary legislation on how the implementation would occur was not published yet.
NAZALI to the Rescue: As a result of the negotiations held with the Turkish Competition Authority, we fully understood the competitive concerns of the Authority and made the necessary commitments to alleviate these concerns. Through this experience, we realized one of the first commitment practices in Turkey and ensured that the file was completed without any penalty. Thanks to the meetings held with both the company and the Authority, the demands of both parties were expressed, and a common solution was reached on behalf of the sector.
The Problem: NAZALI M&A team advised a client based in Turkey who acquired 100 percent shares of a target company in Morocco owned by Portuguese shareholders. As the transaction involved different jurisdictions, it was challenging for all parties and our client to understand the challenges in the jurisdictions involved, in particular in Morocco. The transaction also triggered the Competition Board approval which took longer than expected as it is a quite new practice in the Moroccan market to apply to the Competition Board for these types of transactions. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the interim period took longer than set out in the transaction documentation.
Solution: We played a significant role to make the closing by amending the relevant clauses in the documentation in a cooperative manner (in particular financial covenants deviated from what was agreed between the parties and some CP’s were not achieved); our team advised the client to mitigate the risks associated with such matters.
Q. From your perspective, how is the industry you serve currently evolving? And what are the trends in the different categories?
The TMT sector (including media, telecommunications, technology, gaming) will remain active. The need for digitalization, remote working, and e-commerce will trigger companies to use strategic M&A to improve their technology capabilities, such as traditional retail companies may join their forces with tech companies. Also, Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences (PLS) remain attractive for investors, particularly the companies who could adapt their business to a more digitalized environment. Fintech and InsurTech companies will also be attractive for investors.
Q. Will NAZALI be expanding, bringing on any new services that we should be aware of?
As we are already a full-service Firm and our both legal and technical team is very strong; currently, no new service line is seen on the horizon. But we will be expanding our global offices to make them multi-disciplinary same with our local offices, and (hopefully) continue to invest in new jurisdictions (i.e., South Africa and Americas).
A Relentlessly Reliable Leader
ERSİN NAZALI is the Managing Partner of NAZALI Tax & Legal. Besides, he is also a Lawyer and Certified Public Accountant.
Mr. Nazali is an expert and has considerable knowledge in tax and corporate law areas, especially tax disputes, litigation, transfer pricing, tax inspections, and tax-free restructuring of companies.
Between April 2004-2012, he worked as a tax inspector for nine years under the Revenue Administration. In his public career as a tax inspector, he was assigned to the tax council with the Minister’s approval, and accordingly, he played a role in the drafting of tax bills. He also played a role in the Consultancy Commission, one of the organs of the Tax Inspectors Board, as a member and reporter. In 2011 and 2012, he worked as a tax inspector at Istanbul Tax Inspection Board within the presidency of thin capital, transfer pricing, and foreign-based income group.
Ersin has been listed as a leading tax adviser and attorney in Turkey by Legal 500 and International Tax Review several times. In addition, he is one of the founders of the Tracking of Tax Disputes Department within the Tax Inspectors’ Board.