ING hacks in-house team

ING Barings is radically restructuring its legal department and making a raft of redundancies, including laying off the global head of legal and compliance.

As part of a group-wide reorganisation, Ian Kellow, who is also managing director and general counsel, will be out of a job from April. As many as eight other roles in the 25-strong London legal and compliance team are understood to be being made redundant as well, although it is not clear whether the lawyers will leave the company.

The post of director and assistant general counsel Sarah Whitehead, who is head of the debt group in the department, will be one job that ceases to exist.

Parent company ING Group is integrating London-based ING Barings into Amsterdam's ING Europe, and the US investment banking business of ING Barings is being sold to ABN Amro. As yet it is unclear what is happening to the US in-house team.

The bank is reducing the number of staff across the board by about 1,000, half of which will leave from London.

ING Barings uses Clifford Chance and Linklaters & Alliance for the bulk of its legal work, along with a mix of other firms such as Herbert Smith, which advises the bank on litigation.

In Amsterdam, Clifford Chance advises ING Barings, on debt finance, project finance, telecoms finance and trade and acquisition finance. Linklaters member firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is understood to be ING Group's preferred external adviser.

Kellow is understood to be considering a move to Hong Kong, but the other lawyers are not yet thought to have secured new positions. The compliance lawyers within the bank are not believed to be included in the restructuring, which means that function will remain intact.

One source close to the bank says: “All of the global functions that had previously been run out of London are being disbanded, and all the support functions are being localised. A number of key people are leaving as a result of that.”

A spokesperson for ING declines to comment on individuals or teams that might be involved in the restructuring. But a statement from the bank says there will be an “elimination of ING Barings' head office functions and an alignment with ING's support function in Amsterdam” to “create a lower cost structure”.