ABN Amro shakes up advisers

After months of delay Dutch investment banking giant ABN Amro has kick-started its long-awaited panel review.

The new panel arrangements, which are expected to be put in place by the end of the year, will comprise nine specialist sub-panels. These will include separate panels for IP, litigation, employment, outsourcing, structured finance and structured derivatives.

The global panel comprising Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters, will not be affected by the review.

ABN global head of legal John Collins, who is spearheading the review, wrote to approximately 20 firms yesterday (15 November) inviting them to submit tenders. The bank has reversed the process by asking firms to pitch for the panels the bank believes the firms’ expertise is most suited to.

Collins told The Lawyer: “The new panels will be more specifically focussed on products and subject matter expertise. Firms will be appointed to those sub-panels that the bank believes they offer real strength and depth in.”

“We will retain relationships with our existing core firms but additional firms will be added where we feel they offer a particular specialism or niche expertise,” added Collins.

It is understood that the bank will appoint 15 to 20 firms to its panels. ABN polices its panel arrangements rigorously and the bankers are not permitted to instruct non-panel firms without the legal department’s consent.