Barclays hunts for African panel

Barclays has launched a tender for its first international panel for Africa, after completing its inaugural local panel in the region this week.

General counsel for Barclays Bank of South Africa Mark Edwards said he was looking for two US and two UK firms to advise the bank in Africa, where Barclays is making rapid expansion.

“The international firms are being subjected to the same rigorous tender process that our [South] African firms went through,” said Edwards. He added that a decision was expected by the end of the year.

The bank is known to have previously used both Denton Wilde Sapte and Clifford Chance in the region.
Some sources speculate that frontrunners for the US firms are White & Case and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, both of which have offices in the region.

The shake-up of Barclays’ advisers comes after the bank transferred its African operations, which had been headquartered in London, to South Africa over the course of the last year. “The relocation of the Barclays Africa head office to South Africa and the subsequent expansion of business activities has prompted the need to put in place a dedicated panel of law firms to provide quality legal services to all aspects of the head office’s activities,” said Edwards.

The four firms, all domestic, appointed to the Africa head office panel are Bowman Gilfillan, Cliffe Dekker, Sonnenberg Hoffman Galombik and black empowerment firm Mukwevho Mkhabela Adekeye.

The four will not only handle all the South African work, but will also project-manage other transactions in the African region.