Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lawyer Ismail joins Skrine

By Habhajan Singh
Top-notch Islamic finance legal brain, Mohamed Ismail Shariff, has joined local legal firm Skrine to establish an Islamic finance practice at the 45-year-old firm. Ismail, one of the legal pioneer's on the local Islamic finance front, joins as a partner at Skrine. At the moment, the company does not have any significant presence in the sphere of Islamic finance.
"To be able to compete with other international firms, and with Malaysia becoming an Islamic banking hub, there is a need for size and quality of services," Mohamed Ismail told The Malaysian Reserve recently. That must be backed with a big set up, where other necessary services are available. This is to meet the present trend," he said.
The move to Skrine means that his company Mohamed Ismail & Co has ceased to exist as a firm as of Oct 1. On April 24, another major local legal firm, Azmi & Associates, announced its merger with 12-year-old legal firm Illiayas, headed by Mohamad Illiayas Seyed Ibrahim. Azmi & Associates and Illiayas had entered into a merger agreement to create a "larger Malaysian law firm with expanded practice areas and partnership base", it said in a statement then.
Meanwhile, in a letter to fellow lawyers, Mohamed Ismail said with the combined strength and expertise of both the firms, comprising 89 lawyers, Skrine will be in a better position to provide a wider range of legal professional services of international standards.
"A notable addition to Skrine’s considerable and highly-regarded expertise will be an enhanced range of Islamic banking and finance, and takaful services," said Mohamed Ismail, who began practicing law in 1970. He added that Skrine has a varied and extensive practice, and his role would be to enhance the firm's Islamic finance practice.
Among others, the legal firm has practices in the areas of banking and finance, capital markets, corporate and commercial, intellectual property and tax.
According to its website, Islamic finance is listed as one of the services under the company's banking and finance practice, which also includes acquisition finance, asset finance and leasing, corporate recovery and insolvency, and retail banking.
In a note on its website, Skrine says it has advised on many international public and private transactions, usually dealing with complicated and layered financing based on local law (including tax and regulatory matters) and cross-border issues. Skrine was founded in 1963 as Skrine & Co by John Skrine, Stanley Peddie, Peter Mooney, William Donald Bewsher and Chin Yoong Chong.
(The Malaysian Reserve, Oct 6, 2008, p32)

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