Grapevine applauded the chutzpah of the head of Allen & Overy‘s (A&O) financial institutions group Alistair Asher following the merger between building societies Nationwide and Portman.

Asher declared: “This is the number one building society merging with the number three, and will make smaller building societies question what their meaning in life is. If you have a building society that’s committed to being a building society but with these
efficiencies of scale, it will be hard for them to compete.”

Perhaps the statement is a new business development tactic for the firm’s competition team.

If there was any investigation, Asher would feel confident of securing the mandate.

Not only is A&O advising the acquirer Nationwide, but Asher’s old boss, former A&O senior partner Bill Tudor John, is chairman of Portman and will be deputy chair of the merged company.

But this isn’t another A&O conflicts story, is it?