RBS unveils line-up for corporate panel

Bank appoints 24 firms to handle high-value work in overhaul of legal services

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has finalised its panel for high-value UK corporate banking, structured finance and financial markets work.
Of the magic circle firms, the panel includes Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with which RBS has strong links.
Linklaters, the main corporate adviser to NatWest, is also on the panel, as is Slaughter and May.
Lovells and Herbert Smith are believed to have tendered for a panel position, but did not make it, although historically neither firm has very strong ties with RBS.
The formation of the panel was part of a broader plan to overhaul the purchase of legal services following RBS's takeover of NatWest. RBS is aiming to introduce gradually its own system of pre-accredited counsel to business divisions across the bank.
The new panel does not affect appointments on lower value work, where there will remain more discretion. It also does not cover Scottish advisers or insolvency and restructuring.
Under the new system, each business in the group will have the power to decide which lawyers to use from the panel.
RBS head of group legal services Derek Arnott said: “Very few, if any, firms can truly be said to be expert across all the areas which need advice. We concluded that we had to adopt a horses for courses approach.”
The panel has 24 members, which is a relatively large number for the banking sector.
The full list of RBS panel members comprises: Addleshaw Booth & Co, A&O, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Denton Wilde Sapte, DLA, Eversheds, Freshfields, Hammond Suddards Edge, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Masons, Norton Rose, Pinsent Curtis Biddle, Richards Butler, SJ Berwin, Slaughters, Stephenson Harwood, Theodore Goddard, Travers Smith Braithwaite, Watson Farley & Williams and Wragge & Co.