Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May have bagged the lead roles on the negotiations between insurer Resolution and Abbey over the bank’s £29bn of closed life fund assets.
The firms, though, have switched roles since advising on the £2bn merger of Resolution and listed insurer Britannic a year ago, when Slaughters acted for Resolution and Herbert Smith for Britannic.
This time around Herbert Smith corporate partner Michael Shaw is understood to be advising Resolution, while Slaughters is acting for Abbey.
The firm has also advised Resolution since its 2004 launch, while Herbert Smith built up a close relationship with Britannic until last year’s merger.
It emerged at the start of May that Resolution and Abbey were in talks over Abbey’s closed life funds. A successful deal would more than double the assets managed by Resolution, which is the UK’s largest closed life fund consolidator.
In total, Resolution manages six-million policies, formerly run by companies such as Royal & SunAlliance and Swiss Life.
A statement issued by Resolution said the deal was still in its early stages, adding: “Any transaction would be funded by an appropriate mix of equity and debt.”
Allen & Overy is representing Resolution’s financial advisers Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
The firms declined to comment.