Macquarie to name first panel outside Australia

Aussie bank to set up dedicated roster as subsidiaries come of age

Macquarie Group is preparing to formalise its first-ever roster of Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) advisers, with the rapid growth of the banking group’s non-Australian business creating an urgent need for a standalone panel.

The process to keep legal fees down comes as Macquarie’s Emea operations have developed from being satellites of the Australia-based bank to robust businesses in their own right.

The investment bank plans to draw up a core panel of 12 firms by the first two weeks of 2012 covering all practice areas.
The bank currently has a so-called ’portal’ of a large number of preferred firms advising on matters in the Emea area on an ad hoc basis, but there are no restrictions on the firms it can go to.

Macquarie is understood to be requesting discounts on notional fees and asking firms to consider seconding lawyers to the bank.

Macquarie currently has an established relationship in Europe with Baker & McKenzie and also gives work to firms including Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Travers Smith and US firm Kirkland & Ellis, all of ­which are expected to be on the roster. Its corporate relationship partners include Alan Paul at A&O, Brendan Moylan at Clifford Chance and Ian Bagshaw and Jessamy Gallagher at Linklaters.

The process is being headed by Mark Topfer, Emea head of legal for fixed income, currencies and commodities, who joined the bank a year ago with a mandate to set up a legal panel. He arrived from ­Morgan Stanley, where he was executive director.

The bank’s London employee numbers have increased from a minimal figure 10 years ago to ­roughly 1,000 today, with an additional 500 in the rest of the Emea region. The group says it has 230 in-house lawyers globally, but will not disclose the Emea lawyer headcount.

One City partner indicated that the bank’s in-house team already has a formal way of selecting firms for matters through pitches and that the panel launch ­represents a formalisation of terms and conditions.

It is understood that the bank made a similar request for submissions 18 months ago and went through a ­procurement process ­roughly three years ago.

While Macquarie has had an Australia-based panel for a number of years, it is a ­relatively late mover in launching a formal roster in Europe, following a trend set by banks such as Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander.