“MB Legal”: Point of Attraction for Foreign Companies

17.04.2024 | 23:10 Home / News / Articles /
Founded in 2022, the “MB Legal” law firm is already a leader in a number of market sectors. Specializing in securities, capital markets, IT law and working with foreign companies, the firm provides legal services to a wide range of customers, including large international organizations, financial institutions, IT companies, and small and medium-sized businesses.

In a conversation with Banks.am, founding partner of “MB Legal” Mesrop Manukyan and partner Marine Shahparonyan spoke about the company’s current work and future goals.

“Grow or leave”

Mesrop Manukyan, “MB Legal” founding partner

“MB” has been operating as a consulting company since 2020. We founded it with my brother Davit Manukyan. Davit specializes in financial and business consulting, and I was a law partner. There was synergy between these two directions, but also some differences in terms of development. In 2022, we decided to separate the consulting and legal blocks, establishing the “MB Legal” law firm and “MB Consulting”. At this stage, Marine Shahparonyan joined the law firm as a partner. Currently, 10 specialists work in “MB Legal”, and although the team is not large, we have established ourselves as market leaders in a number of fields.

Mesrop Manukyan

We have an internal, unwritten “constitution” in the company, to which every professional agrees to when joining our team. The basis, of course, is honesty and adherence to the law under all circumstances and conditions. Another important requirement is teamwork. This implies constant communication between team leaders and employees, listening to the latter’s observations and suggestions.

In “MB Legal”, we have an important principle that may seem intimidating at first glance. When hiring, we warn the specialist: “In the near future, you either have to grow or leave the company.” We firmly believe that professionals who are not willing to grow are not a good fit for our team. As a company, we provide opportunities for advancement and development. It is very encouraging that we almost have no cases of employees leaving the company (smiles-ed.).

“Interest in Armenia has surged not only among Russian companies but also among Western ones”

Mesrop Manukyan

Our law firm offers a full range of services, covering every field except criminal law. Of course, in some areas, the company is a market leader. With our knowledge, we have specialized in corporate law, IT law, securities, and capital markets and we are also providing services to foreign companies.

Some 20-30% of the largest companies involved in the securities market in Armenia are clients of “MB Legal”. The same is true with corporate law.

We also actively work with foreign companies. Over the last few years, interest in Armenia has surged, not only among Russian companies but also among companies from Western countries. American and European companies have shown keen interest in starting operations in Armenia. In the last year or two, we have facilitated the relocation of over 50 medium to large foreign companies to Armenia. There is a large number of IT companies moving from Russia, but there are also companies from Estonia, other European countries, and the United States.

Companies often seek to establish themselves in Armenia not only to benefit from specific privileges (tax privileges in the IT sector - ed.), but also by valuing human capital. Many companies want to be represented in Armenia due to having many local employees.

Show the advantages of Armenia

Marine Shahparonyan, “MB Legal” partner

The geopolitical situation and the sanctions of recent years have forced Russian and Western companies to think about alternative business options. Armenia has emerged as one such option. When contacted by a foreign company, our task is to present the advantages of Armenia, and show how the Armenian environment is more favorable.

For this purpose, we develop strategies as a team. It is important to present the complete picture to our potential client, from the company establishment to ongoing operations. We guide our clients through all stages of the process.

Often, the management staff of foreign companies may not physically come to Armenia, and they need a reliable team of consultants, accountants, tax and legal specialists. In other words, our task is not only to register the company, but also to establish a solid foundation for its operations, foreseeing and preventing possible risks related to further work.

Currently, we have customers from the United States, Europe, Singapore, and Russia. Recently, Chinese companies have demonstrated interest in Armenia, including quite large companies with over 100 employees. “MB Legal” provides legal support not only to these companies, but also to their employees, assisting with visa and residency rights issues.

The IT sector remains the most active, but recently we have observed growing interest from the crypto sector as well. We have had clients who wanted to operate in Armenia’s free economic zones.

At “MB Legal” we have specialists fluent in Russian, English, German, and French. This ensures that communication with foreign clients is conducted in a language that is acceptable and convenient for them, facilitating smoother interactions. We are available to our partners 24/7, understanding that issues may arise outside of regular business hours.

Our top priority is ensuring complete customer satisfaction, which has led us to earn unconditional trust from our clients. It is very encouraging to hear from new clients that “MB Legal” was recommended by another of our partners. It means we are on the right path.

Support to local companies and expert work

Marine Shahparonyan

In the Armenian market, “MB Legal” specializes in IT and corporate law, capital, and securities markets. We have extensive experience in registering investment funds and licensing investment companies as well as managing their day-to-day operations. We analyze the client’s corporate structures to optimize them, design necessary changes, and execute complex corporate transactions such as reorganizations, consolidations, mandatory buybacks, etc.

We also work with Armenian companies seeking to establish themselves and offer services abroad. Considering the client’s objectives, we present the most suitable countries based on tax and legislative requirements. Later, in the chosen country, we support establishing a subsidiary company, opening bank accounts, and obtaining the necessary permits. We also carry out routine maintenance.

The team of specialists at “MB Legal” also cooperates with a number of international institutions, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Our specialists are involved as experts in the programs implemented by these organizations. Currently, we are one of the legal experts for the Council of Europe on judicial system reform. One of the interesting projects implemented was the World Bank’s “Electromobility/Analysis of the Electric Vehicle Sector in Armenia” project. This initiative aimed to support the expansion of electric mobility in Armenia by identifying legislative issues and barriers and presenting a strategy of recommendations.

“To be a point of attraction for foreign companies”

Mesrop Manukyan

When defining future goals, “MB Legal” adopts a forward-looking approach, spanning the next 5-10 years. In this regard, we have a threefold strategy: first, about the Armenian market, second about the Russian and CIS markets, the third about the rest of the world. Currently, we are actively engaged in these last two directions and will continue to be a point of attraction for foreign companies and businesses.

As for the Armenian market, our aim is to activate our legal representation section, as almost everyone in the company has a lawyer’s license and professional experience.

Marine Shahparonyan

Experiencing dynamic growth in recent years, “MB Legal” is positioned as a steadily growing company. Our focus lies not only in providing one-time consultancy services to clients but also in accompanying them throughout their journey.

Yana Shakhramanyan

Photos by Emin Aristakesyan
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