Barclays Group has completed the second phase of its panel review
Barclays Group will today announce the results of the second phase of the review of its external legal function. The business banking lending panel, which is one of the special-purpose panels set up last year, is being cut from 100 firms to around 25. Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters & Alliance, DLA, Lovells and Simmons & Simmons, which make up Barclays' general advisory panel, have all been selected to stay on the panel. The decision is controversial because only 10 of the 11 firms on the bank's pre-review non-statutory 'Matrix' panel have made the new selection. As well as all the firms on the general advisory panel, Freshfields (now Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer), Eversheds and Hammond Suddards (now Hammond Suddards Edge) were also on the Matrix panel. The review was started at the beginning of last year when Barclays began a full-scale review of its external legal advisers and set up a number of special purpose panels to replace the Matrix panel. The six panels, which were announced last year, specialise in general advisory, securitisation, commoditised products, human resources, tax planning and private client work. When business banking lending is announced this week, only the private equity panel will remain undecided. The Barclays aims to improve its relationships with its external advisers by slashing the panel. The bank hopes that by developing relationships with a smaller number of firms it will increase its control over them. Project and operations director at Barclays Des O'Connell declined to comment but said that the announcement would take place early this week.