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BARCLAYS Bank Trust Company has selected a panel of three firms to conduct its legal work in place of more than a hundred individual firms.

Reading firm Field Seymour Parkes, Birmingham's Edge & Ellison, and George Davies & Co of Manchester have been chosen to handle Barclay's non-contentious probate, wills and conveyancing work for the next three years.

Both Field Seymour Parkes and George Davies were previously “preferred solicitors” regularly used by Barclays, but Edge & Ellison was not regularly used by the company.

The panel was set up in October after a selection process which began in March. Field Seymour Parkes partner Robert Watsham said 17 applicants made presentations and a final shortlist of seven was drawn up.

Barclays trustee manager Martyn Frost said he knew of no other trust companies that had made similar moves.

He said Barclays wanted to standardise the service, and felt it could supply its clients with more competitive fees and services and would have more control over the provision of these services using a panel. He stressed it was not a cost-cutting exercise.

He would not disclose how much the work was worth, but said it would be spread evenly between the firms while individual firms would still be used where requested by the client.

Edge & Ellison head of tax and trust Neil Pearson said it was a “substantial amount” of work, dealt with by the department's five solicitors in Birmingham and two in Leicester.