Incredible shrinking panels

Bank panel reviews are like buses – you wait for one, and there’s suddenly just no stopping those eager GCs. This week The Lawyer revealed that Citigroup is close to revealing its re-jigged and reduced Emea panel, while the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) is soon to announce its first-ever formal UK panel of legal advisors.

Neither of these moves should really come as a surprise. In-house teams have embarked on a long, hard slog towards shrinking, economising and formalising panel arrangements. The Pension Protection Fund is just one case in point – just this month cutting its formal advisers from 27 to 23, while participating in a handy panel-sharing agreement with a number of other regulatory bodies.

It’s up there with Legal & General, which cut its roster from 19 to five and Eon, where Pinsent Masons scooped the mandate to be the sole legal provider over 40 other firms.

And let’s not forget the cost-cutting put in place by Aviva, where pitching firms were asked to cut hourly rates by at least 15 per cent until the end of December 2015.

As we await the results of Citigroup and BTMU’s panel reviews, one thing’s for sure: the trend towards incredible shrinking panels is unlikely to disappear any time soon.

PS: To get the inside track on the Aviva panel read our in-depth feature: The inside story

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