ING to City firms: don’t worry about conflicts

ING Group’s UK legal chief has moved to allay law firm fears about accepting instructions against the major banks.

Speaking to The Lawyer, Adrian Marsh, head of legal for ING’s UK wholesale business, said City firms are being overly concerned, and while ING’s terms of engagement prohibit firms from accepting instructions against the bank, it is not a blanket ban. “ING takes a much more pragmatic view and would rather have a decent commercial firm on the other side,” said Marsh.

His view is shared by the head of legal on another leading European investment bank, who said firms were being “paranoid”.

The in-house lawyers spoke out following an investigation by The Lawyer which revealed that any company that wants to sue one of the UK’s big five clearing banks would find it virtually impossible to instruct a top law firm (The Lawyer, 27 September).

Although ING’s panel is much smaller than the system adopted by all of the UK clearing banks, Marsh said he was surprised at the suggestion that banks were playing the panel system as a method to prevent firms from accepting instructions against them.

Marsh said ING would not add Herbert Smith to its panel just to stop the firm suing it.