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General counsel of Apacs Susan Ward is quitting her post to take up a similar role at the London Clearing House (LCH).
Apacs, the Association for Payment Clearing Services, is the UK payment clearing and money transmission organisation. It is responsible for the management and development of the principal electronic and cheque clearings.
LCH currently outsources the majority of its commercial work to Clifford Chance, which it has had a long-standing relationship with dating back to the company's inception.
But it has been without a general counsel for almost a year and part of Ward's role will be to assess both the in-house and external legal requirements.
Ward will report to LCH's managing director - risk and deputy chief executive Andrew Lamb.
Lamb says: "We have been looking to redefine and refocus the internal role. Part of that is to look at the relationships with Clifford Chance and/or any other external advisers. It is for Susan to specify whether we need additional resources."
LCH acts as central counter-party for all financial and commodity contracts traded on the City's derivatives exchanges.
It is owned by its 110 members, which include all the major international banks such as Goldman Sachs, Chase Manhattan, Paribas, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.
Ward says: "It is an exciting company at the moment with a very dynamic team, looking to expand its product in a very competitive market. It also gives me much closer involvement in the business itself."
An Apacs spokesman says: "We are assessing the situation and our requirements for the future. Susan has been here for 12 years and we are very sorry to see her go.
"It is very difficult when someone has been here for so long and has such a wide span of experience. You cannot get a one-for-one replacement."
Ward is regarded as a leading player in what is considered one of the most intricate areas of law. Philip Wood, head of Allen & Overy's banking group, says: "Susan is very, very highly thought of. She is known as a top expert in this very complex field. This will be a good move for her."
Ward is also senior vice-chairman of the Bar Association for Commerce Finance and Industry.