ao link
Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
Menu
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Mustafa Hadi

Mustafa Hadi

Berkeley Research GroupLevel 20, One International Financial Centre1 Harbour View Street, CentralHong KongHong Kong

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Mustafa Hadi is “very responsive and analytical” and draws praise as “extremely clever”, especially in disputes and expert testimony valuations.

Questions & Answers

Mustafa Hadi leads BRG’s disputes and international arbitration practice in Asia–Pacific (APAC) and is co-leader of BRG’s APAC region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract, financial services and intellectual property disputes. Mr Hadi has been instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court and is experienced in oral testimony.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a testifying expert?

The complex nature of the issues we have to grapple with and the smart people we get to work with.

What did you find most challenging about entering the field of international arbitration?

The greatest challenge was that as a finance professional I didn’t know it existed. Having ‘fallen’ into the area of expert witness work, the rest was fairly straightforward. I think more can be done to increase awareness of this type of work in the finance field.

Secondly, I was fortunate to get a number of opportunities to testify early in my career – but when I look at the next generation of emerging experts, I do see how hard it can be for them to get those initial opportunities.

What are the best ways of remaining impartial and independent when providing analysis and testimony?

‘Would you have the same opinion if instructed by the other side?’ is a good question to ask yourself. 

What impact have deteriorating US-China relations had on your practice and international arbitration in general? 

It is resulting in an increase in disputes as macro changes in how economies are interconnected and businesses are configured do not occur without ‘friction’ and ‘transaction costs’ – including disputes. These are ending up in a range of court jurisdictions (onshore and offshore) as well as in arbitration. Chinese companies retracting from the US capital markets has been a major driver of such work.

Increased regulatory scrutiny of Chinese companies listed in the US has accelerated the trend among Chinese companies to delist in the US, leading to contentious valuation issues between buyers and minority shareholders, often fought out in the courts of the Cayman Islands, where the majority are of these companies are incorporated. BRG has been involved in several of these high-profile contentious valuations, acting on both the dissenters and company side.

Deteriorating US-China relations have also highlighted the fragility of global supply chains heavily dependent on China, and corporates are now focused on improving supply chain resilience, leading to potential disputes arising out of supply chain disruption. These international supply contracts typically include arbitration clauses and so will likely result in more international arbitration cases.

What influence do you see covid-19 having on trends in the types of disputes going to arbitration?

M&A disputes, often involving private equity funds, have been a significant part of my practice for many years. If anything, we have seen an uptick in such disputes, including M&A transactions involving corporate players, as covid-19 has impacted the underlying businesses in most sectors of the economy. 

To what extent will Hong Kong continue to thrive as an attractive jurisdiction for arbitration work in future, and why? 

The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) remains very well regarded with record numbers of cases and constant self-improvements, such as the Mutual Arrangement on Interim Measures, which gives mainland courts the ability to order interim measures in support of institutional arbitrations seated in Hong Kong. There is currently no such arrangement for arbitrations seated in other foreign jurisdictions, giving Hong Kong a competitive edge where a Chinese party is involved. The jurisdiction continues to liberalise, e.g. including with respect to emergency arbitration and third-party funding. Finally, there is a vibrant community of arbitration practitioners, with a number of high-profile events being held in Hong Kong – and as described above, we expect Hong Kong will continue to attract a significant number of China-related arbitrations.

What has been your most memorable arbitration case to date, and why?

With very few exceptions, most cases are so interesting that the last one is usually the most memorable – until the next! 

How do you see the demands of clients changing over the next five years?

Clients will look for more flexibility and efficiencies in how they work with all professional advisors, given the economic pressures of covid-19, as well as the changes in working styles the pandemic has brought about. We will not escape such pressures and using technology more effectively will be critical.

I think there will be a narrower focus on the specific expertise required, and specialist industry expertise will play a bigger role.

Peers and clients say

"He is super responsive and leads a great team.Mustafa is able to understand the complex industry-related issues very quickly and provide a thorough analysis of lost profits"
"He is well known in the market and the Hong Kong’s arbitration community"
"Mustafa is highly intelligent, a master of his subject and very detail focused"

Questions & Answers

Mustafa Hadi is head of BRG’s Asia-Pacific region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract, financial services and intellectual property disputes. Mr Hadi has been instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court and is experienced in oral testimony. His experience spans matters involving the ICC, UNCITRAL, HKIAC, SIAC, DIAC and CIETAC, and in the courts of the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

As the leader of BRG’s APAC region, how do you see the firm developing in the region over the coming years?

Over the past year, BRG APAC has invested heavily in expanding the scope of specialist industry-practitioner expertise available to clients. We have brought on several senior figures who offer a depth of expertise gained from serving in senior executive roles across key sectors, including financial services, private equity, power and mining. 

In the coming years, I see the firm deepening our bench of industry experts in areas such as real estate/hospitality, pharmaceuticals, energy and telecoms. I also see us continuing to grow our regional footprint, with Japan being a key new market for us over the last year and going forward.

We have also invested recently in our technology and analytics practice, and are increasing our investment in our forensic accounting capabilities to strengthen our investigations practice.

BRG recently published a report on M&A and private equity disputes in Asia: could you give us an overview of the key findings and any forecasts for 2021 and beyond?

Our research found that despite the pandemic challenging M&A activity and the operations and finances of buyers and sellers alike, those challenges did not fuel a surge in deal-related disputes in 2020. However, expectations are that 2021 will be a different story. Attorneys and dealmakers in the Asia–Pacific region are expecting an increase in disputes this year, as government support for businesses is gradually withdrawn, and as the patience parties extended during a crisis is widely replaced by a renewed focus on protecting their interests.

How has the dynamic between arbitral tribunals and experts changed over the years?

Tribunals face increasingly complex technical issues. For experts to be of assistance, as well as displaying deep technical knowledge, they need to help tribunals navigate the technical issues in the context of the dispute – not just focusing on their own opinions, but providing a framework identifying the key points on which the tribunal must rule in coming to an overall decision. I find that experts that assist tribunals in this way are well regarded by arbitrators.

Why should neutrality be the foremost value a party-appointed testifying expert embodies?

For tribunals to accept an expert’s opinion, they need to believe in (i) their professional independence and (ii) their technical competence and its application to the relevant facts and issues. While a technical error can be corrected when pointed out, and need not call into question the expert’s competence, perceptions of independence are binary, and once a tribunal’s trust is lost, it is difficult to regain. Independence is therefore a threshold condition for an expert to be successful.

What challenges has the increasing volume of data in commercial disputes posed? How have you ensured you are well equipped to handle them?

The increasing volume of data in commercial disputes has challenged financial experts to upskill beyond their core areas of expertise and become proficient with the latest technologies that can be used to filter and analyse this information.

In June last year, BRG announced the strategic addition of a technology and analytics practice to our core capabilities in APAC. The new team’s combination of remote forensic collection capability and machine learning-assisted tools that improve review speed and accuracy have measurably helped our clients reduce the man-hours invested in the overall document review exercise by up to 60–70 per cent.

What qualities make for an effective expert witness?

A thorough knowledge of the subject is obviously a prerequisite but is not sufficient. Equally important are: structured and clear-headed thinking; independence; and the ability to convey complex ideas succinctly to a non-specialist audience.

What would like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

To switch off email for three weeks and enjoy the Trans-Siberian Express with my family. Switching email off for three weeks I am yet to accomplish!

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Mustafa Hadi is a “very active” expert who excels in valuation, damages and accounting matters. His peers “rate him highly”, praising him as “a go-to professional in the market”.

Questions & Answers

Mustafa Hadi leads BRG’s disputes and international arbitration practice in the Asia-Pacific and is co-leader of BRG’s APAC region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages, and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract, financial services and intellectual property disputes. Mr Hadi has been instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court, and is experienced in oral testimony.

Describe your career to date.

I studied physics at university and joined Deloitte in London to train as a chartered accountant. While I worked initially as an auditor, I was always more interested in understanding how businesses worked, and what made them successful, than purely in tracking their financial performance – and so after qualifying as an accountant I transferred to Deloitte’s management consulting division, with a focus on business strategy. For the next few years, I advised corporate clients on entering new markets, launching new products or repositioning their businesses, and assisted private equity funds with their commercial analysis of the markets and businesses in which they were investing.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to join a leading expert services firm in London, to focus on valuation and damages analysis. This field was unfamiliar to me at the time, but I was intrigued by the opportunity to apply both my commercial grounding and my technical finance skills in a setting that required a highly analytical approach and intellectual rigour.

In 2012, I moved to Hong Kong, sensing the growth opportunities that lay ahead in Asia, and relishing the prospect of living in perhaps the most vibrant and dynamic region in the world. In 2015, I was approached by former colleagues at BRG to launch the firm in the Asia-Pacific. I opened the BRG office in Hong Kong and launched its Asia international arbitration practice. Since 2015, my team has grown substantially and we have opened BRG offices in Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo and Mumbai.

My practice today focuses on expert work on valuation, damages and accounting issues, with a particular focus on private equity-related and M&A disputes. To support me in these matters, I have built a team that combines skills in economics, finance, statistics and accounting, underpinned by a strong commercial orientation.

How has the role of an expert changed since you started your career?

Litigation and arbitration continue to increase in complexity, with disputes involving more parties, more jurisdictions, and more documents. One consequence of this (and of technological advancement) is increasing interest in the use of technology to find ways of improving the processes by which disputes are resolved. I am seeing an increase in the use of e-discovery platforms, and data analytics tools – but overall I feel that while the talk is of AI and predictive justice, the reality is that technology has so far made very limited inroads into the arbitration hearing room. 

I am excited by the potential of technology to enable us to do things differently to how they have been done in the past – as opposed to just transferring existing processes from paper to screen. 

What do clients look for when selecting an expert witness?

Many factors: the expert’s credentials and reputation in the field, the relevance of his or her specific expertise, as well as testimony and publications. The ability to communicate effectively is also critical, since the expert’s role is to impart information of a specialised or technical nature to a lay audience. Finally, an expert witness must be and be seen to be independent and impartial in the view they express, and experienced counsel are good at educating clients on the importance of this.

What qualities make for a successful expert?

A thorough knowledge of the subject is obviously a prerequisite, but is not sufficient. Equally important are: structured and clear-headed thinking; independence; and the ability to convey complex ideas succinctly to a non-specialist audience.

How do you think your analytical approach differs from other experts?

I think my experience of both detail-oriented accounting and big-picture strategy consulting gives me a somewhat unique perspective. Like all quantum experts, I look closely at the numbers – but spend more time trying to see beyond them to understand the commercial drivers that create and sustain value in any business.

What do you enjoy most about being an arbitration expert witness?

The ability to play a role in some of the largest and most complex disputes in the region – with the need to assimilate large amounts of information, understand the commercial drivers of the given industry, and quickly identify the critical points on which the conclusion will rest. These combined with the adversarial setting make this uniquely enjoyable work for those who like intellectual challenge, and are happy to present – and defend – their conclusions.

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

In recent years, an increasing proportion of my practice has related to disputes involving private equity investors, including M&A disputes; minority shareholder actions involving take-private transactions; and GP-LP disputes. Given the amount of dry powder currently at the disposal of private equity funds in Asia, I think this is set to continue and grow.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Look closely at the numbers – then look beyond them!

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"He is super responsive and leads a great team.Mustafa is able to understand the complex industry-related issues very quickly and provide a thorough analysis of lost profits"
"He is well known in the market and the Hong Kong’s arbitration community"
"Mustafa is highly intelligent, a master of his subject and very detail focused"

Biography

Mustafa Hadi is a managing director in BRG’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices. He leads the firm’s disputes and international arbitration practice in the Asia-Pacific, and is co-leader of BRG’s Asia-Pacific region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract and intellectual property disputes.

Mr Hadi is frequently instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court, and is experienced in oral testimony. His experience spans matters involving the ICC, UNCITRAL, HKIAC, DIAC, KCAB and CIETAC, and in the courts of the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas. He has extensive experience of disputes involving businesses operating across the Asia-Pacific region, having been based in Hong Kong since 2012, and is fluent in Hindi and Urdu.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hadi worked as a strategy consultant, advising private equity funds, financial institutions, and corporate clients on commercial due diligence, market entry, and corporate strategy. Alongside his dispute work, he also provides valuation advice for strategic, restructuring, and tax purposes and advises on economic and financial issues in regulatory matters.

Mr Hadi regularly presents to law firms on damages and valuation issues, and facilitates advocacy workshops on the cross-examination of expert witnesses. He has also been a guest lecturer on the LLM in arbitration and dispute resolution at the University of Hong Kong.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Academy of Experts. He holds an MA in physics from Cambridge University.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mustafa Hadi of Berkeley Research Group is “very responsive and analytical” and draws praise as “extremely clever”, especially in disputes and expert testimony valuations.

Biography

Mustafa Hadi is a managing director in BRG’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices. He leads the firm’s disputes and international arbitration practice in the Asia-Pacific, and is co-leader of BRG’s Asia-Pacific region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract and intellectual property disputes.

Mr Hadi is frequently instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court, and is experienced in oral testimony. His experience spans matters involving the ICC, UNCITRAL, HKIAC, DIAC, KCAB and CIETAC, and in the courts of the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas. He has extensive experience of disputes involving businesses operating across the Asia-Pacific region, having been based in Hong Kong since 2012, and is fluent in Hindi and Urdu.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hadi worked as a strategy consultant, advising private equity funds, financial institutions, and corporate clients on commercial due diligence, market entry, and corporate strategy. Alongside his dispute work, he also provides valuation advice for strategic, restructuring, and tax purposes and advises on economic and financial issues in regulatory matters.

Mr Hadi regularly presents to law firms on damages and valuation issues, and facilitates advocacy workshops on the cross-examination of expert witnesses. He has also been a guest lecturer on the LLM in arbitration and dispute resolution at the University of Hong Kong.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Academy of Experts. He holds an MA in physics from Cambridge University.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mustafa Hadi is looked upon with enormous favour for his deep expertise in forensic accounting relating to high-value international disputes.

Biography

Mustafa Hadi is a managing director in BRG’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices. He leads the firm’s disputes and international arbitration practice in the Asia-Pacific, and is co-leader of BRG’s Asia-Pacific region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract and intellectual property disputes.

Mr Hadi is frequently instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court, and is experienced in oral testimony. His experience spans matters involving the ICC, UNCITRAL, HKIAC, DIAC, KCAB and CIETAC, and in the courts of the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas. He has extensive experience of disputes involving businesses operating across the Asia-Pacific region, having been based in Hong Kong since 2012, and is fluent in Hindi and Urdu.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hadi worked as a strategy consultant, advising private equity funds, financial institutions, and corporate clients on commercial due diligence, market entry, and corporate strategy. Alongside his dispute work, he also provides valuation advice for strategic, restructuring, and tax purposes and advises on economic and financial issues in regulatory matters.

Mr Hadi regularly presents to law firms on damages and valuation issues, and facilitates advocacy workshops on the cross-examination of expert witnesses. He has also been a guest lecturer on the LLM in arbitration and dispute resolution at the University of Hong Kong.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Academy of Experts. He holds an MA in physics from Cambridge University.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mustafa Hadi is “very personable and a pleasure to work with” remark impressed sources, with one adding, “He has a strong intellect and demonstrates broad knowledge across a number of areas. Mustafa always has a clear understanding of our needs and the requirements of his role, as well as the bigger picture of the case.”

Biography

Mustafa Hadi is a managing director in BRG’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices. He leads the firm’s disputes and international arbitration practice in the Asia-Pacific, and is co-leader of BRG’s Asia-Pacific region. He specialises in addressing issues of valuation, damages and accounting in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes, including M&A, private equity, joint venture, shareholder, breach of contract and intellectual property disputes.

Mr Hadi is frequently instructed as an expert in international arbitration and in court, and is experienced in oral testimony. His experience spans matters involving the ICC, UNCITRAL, HKIAC, DIAC, KCAB and CIETAC, and in the courts of the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, the BVI, Bermuda and the Bahamas. He has extensive experience of disputes involving businesses operating across the Asia-Pacific region, having been based in Hong Kong since 2012, and is fluent in Hindi and Urdu.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hadi worked as a strategy consultant, advising private equity funds, financial institutions, and corporate clients on commercial due diligence, market entry, and corporate strategy. Alongside his dispute work, he also provides valuation advice for strategic, restructuring, and tax purposes and advises on economic and financial issues in regulatory matters.

Mr Hadi regularly presents to law firms on damages and valuation issues, and facilitates advocacy workshops on the cross-examination of expert witnesses. He has also been a guest lecturer on the LLM in arbitration and dispute resolution at the University of Hong Kong.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Academy of Experts. He holds an MA in physics from Cambridge University.

Law Business Research
Law Business Research Ltd
Meridian House, 34-35 Farringdon Street
London EC4A 4HL, UK
© Law Business Research Ltd 1998-2021. All rights reserved.
Company No.: 03281866