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Olswang has used its Thames Valley connections to win a first instruction from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The firm has completed the property and finance aspects of a small London development, but is already advising on far larger acquisition finance jobs.
NatWest, part of the RBS group, instructed Olswang despite its not being on the bank's panel. Regional divisions of NatWest are given leeway to instruct non-panel firms on deals worth less than £10m.
At the core of Olswang's Reading practice is the M4 corridor office of now defunct Andersen-tied firm Garretts, which Olswang took over last June. Former Garretts property partner Debra Kent, who is now based in London, led a pitch to NatWest alongside Olswang's head of banking Moni Mannings.
NatWest instructed the firm on the finance and property aspects of a deal to purchase a site in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, which will be developed as a mixed use residential and business site. The work was completed by Reading property assistant Karen Johnson.
It was a relatively small and straightforward deal, but Olswang has used its regional entrée to leverage RBS contacts in the same way that other firms have avoided panel restrictions by advising on highly specialised finance transactions.
The firm has since been instructed on a significantly larger finance matter and hopes RBS will use it for further property, banking and corporate work. Mannings said: "Since we went into the Thames Valley, we've been making a concerted effort to launch ourselves in the region. One of the key areas that was underserved was banking."