Bank set for first ever panel review

One of the largest banks in the UK is about to launch its first ever domestic panel review.

The National Australia Bank (NAB), which has a market capitalisation of £12bn, owns the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks. It is the largest bank in the UK after the four main retail banks.

Its UK firms include Addleshaw Booth & Co, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Dundas & Wilson, Tods Murray and the London office of Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

CMS Cameron McKenna is also believed to work for the bank.

Regional general counsel for Europe Nuncio D'Angelo confirms the review will begin within the next two months.

He adds that a review “has not been a regular thing in the past but it will be now. It is a way of maximising competition between our service providers”.

Yorkshire Bank is a long-term client of Addleshaws and is assisting the bank in its review.

Partner John Priestly says: “We have been invited to comment and help shape the process. It is a natural evolution in our relationship.”

Addleshaws lawyers spend several hours a week at Yorkshire Bank to help out on the spot if needed.

One senior banking lawyer says: “It would be interesting if (NAB) open it up. If they decide to do that it would obviously mean less work.”

The review is one of a series of recent panel slashing exercises by Australian companies wanting to cut legal costs.

Westpac was the most recent bank to follow the trend when it dropped Clayton Utz (The Lawyer, 21 February).

But Priestly is not surprised by NAB's policy: “It is to be expected that global companies will market test.”

D'Angelo is a Mallesons partner but is on a two-year secondment to the bank.