Lloyds TSB and troubled rival Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have both kick-started panel reviews as Lloyds’ HBOS takeover remains up in the air and RBS regroups after seeking a bailout from the Government.
Both banks started the reviews as their current panel agreements were about to expire.
One Lloyds relationship partner told The Lawyer that it was uncertain when the bank would make its final decision on the panel, as the HBOS takeover had not been finalised.
The source said: “Despite the uncertainty, the review’s going ahead and this time round Lloyds understandably has requested firms to provide discount rates and offer other suggestions on how to cut costs.”
HBOS legal chief Harry Baines, who is slated to become general counsel of the enlarged Lloyds-HBOS, has yet to add his input to the review. The tender process is being undertaken by Lloyds’ procurement team, with Chris Riley taking the lead – a strong indication that the bank is looking to drive down costs.
RBS has just begun its panel review and has yet to tell firms its requirements. The new panel will be the first since RBS acquired ABN Amro. The Dutch bank’s core advisers include Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus ;Deringer, Linklaters and Lovells.
RBS was one of the first banks to outsource the procurement ;process, sparking uproar from firms not used to a structured approach ;to ;law ;firm selection.