Banking and finance lawyers remain rushed off their feet because of the M&A boom. But at the same time as firms scramble to win roles advising on cashed-up private equity bids, the increasingly competitive and complex auction process is making ever-increasing demands on lawyers’ time – and pockets.

Tightening the belt further, a number of banks and financial institutions have also taken the axe to their legal teams in a bid to further improve the bottom line.

Investment house Singer & Friedlander slashed its list of advisers, while Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) overhauled its UK and Irish in-house function to install a virtual firm within the team. Australian banking giant ANZ, though, did break this trend, expanding its roster from nine to 32 firms.

This Special Report examines the impact of such trends. It also reviews the booming Russian securitisation market and the options available when raising liquidity.