Lovells has beaten off City competition to be reappointed by major property client Coal Pension Properties as the main adviser on its largest UK portfolio.
Acting through LaSalle Investment Management, Coal decided to retender the role some six years after appointing Lovells in a competitive process. The portfolio has now grown to £1.5bn. It is understood that four other City firms went through the two-stage tender process, which looked principally at capability and pricing and followed an initial market testing. Lovells real estate partner Michael Stancombe, who manages the relationship, said: "This is the major portfolio and inevitably the one that is most in front of the trustees in terms of values and costs. That is why it was picked on for the retendering." Coal also uses Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Nabarro Nathanson and Coudert Brothers for its smaller portfolios, while new acquisitions for the main portfolio are split between Lovells and BLP. Stancombe said: "All of the major institutional players know the main legal firms. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they multisource to varying degrees so that they can always ensure they have firms which are interested in challenging and innovating to keep the others up to the mark." Lovells will continue to provide legal advice in relation to the portfolio, including sales and purchases, lettings and development projects, and day-to-day management and property litigation. A core property team of 30 is involved, plus 10 specialists from tax, construction and corporate.