Aviva takes tough line in panel review

A&O joins Slaughters on Aviva’s plc roster; insurer insisted on discounts

Aviva demanded a 15-25 per cent headline fee discount for firms pitching for its plc panel, which advises the insurer’s board. The company is hoping to cut its legal spend this year. This should be easy – last year it spent £35m on disposals and major restructuring.

There will still be work for Allen & Overy (A&O) and Slaughter and May this year, who were appointed last month following the first review of the plc panel since 2007. David Broadley and Philip Jarvis led the rigorous pitch for A&O, while Jonathan Marks and Richard Smith represented Slaughters. Clifford Chance’s David Pudge, Katherine Coates and Simon Sinclair were unsuccessful, as was a Linklaters team of Nick Rees, Aedamar Comiskey and Duncan Barber. Clifford Chance and Slaughters were the previous panellists, while A&O has won a new appointment.

The group is also kicking off a panel review for the UK and the group. There are no fixed-fee requirements, but the plc advisers, who are grandfathered into the panel, can choose whether to uphold their discounts. Firms have been asked to tender for spots related to the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Poland, Turkey and Asia, with firms only able to pitch if they have an office in the location.

European general counsel Monica Risam says this is all about getting global rosters into line after a rather haphazard set-up. The new list is expected to be in place by early July, with a review of the UK and group panel set for two years later. A plc panel review could also take place at the same time.