A&O finance practice in global streamlining

Magic circle firm replaces national model with six international banking boards

Allen & Overy (A&O) has completed a radical overhaul of its finance practice, arranging it along new global product lines and appointing a new global banking board.
The old groups, which are arranged on a national basis and centre around traditional relationships with partners, will be replaced by six international product groups.
These are leveraged finance, asset finance, projects, global loans, regulatory and restructuring.
The new board will be made up of David Morley as head of banking, Jonathan Brayne as deputy head of banking, Chris Rushton as managing partner of operations and Stephen Gillespie as managing partner of strategy.
According to Morley, the changes will improve global integration.
“We need to increase integration because our clients want a global service and they want consistency around the world,” he said.
The changes are hoped to lead to a better focus on training and development. Because lawyers in London are more specialised than those in other centres such as Frankfurt and Paris, the global groups will be used to share the specialisation and know-how that comes out of London.
“The old group's impact may not have been that great out of London, as there's not been as much integration as there could have been,” said Morley.
The focus on product groups will help to market clients and make cross-selling more effective. “Take, for example, Barclays,” said Morley. “We need to market all the different products at the bank. The people in acquisition finance need to be marketed by the acquisition finance group, the asset finance bankers by the asset finance group… and so on.”
In the last four years the banking group has grown from around 40 partners to over 110 and the group now needs global management.
This is where the new management team comes in. As well as the four executive holders, there will be a global banking board made up of 10-14 people nominated from major international offices.
The management will follow a producer/manager structure, which means that they will continue to fee-earn.
A&O has been exploring ways of managing client relationships globally and the scheme is now being rolled out across the firm.