Santander institutes corporate asset roster

Banco Santander has launched a revamp of its external legal advisers with the introduction of a series of ’soft panels’ to sit underneath its main legal roster.

The new appointments, which are part of a preferred firm approach to legal ­services procurement rather than a formal panel arrangement, include the formation of a group to advise on corporate asset finance work.

EMW Picton Howell is one of up to five firms named as counsel on asset finance matters. Other firms that have advised the bank on asset finance in the UK in the past include Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, DLA Piper and Hammonds.

Santander head of ­commercial law Joanna Day is understood to be speaking to all firms on the main panel to discuss what work they can do for the bank as it continues to expand its UK presence.

One adviser to Santander said: “They’re almost creating a corporate banking structure from scratch.”

The shake-up comes in the wake of Santander’s acquisition of 318 RBS branches in England. Longstanding corporate counsel Slaughter and May acted for Santander on the deal.

The bank’s main panel was reappointed in July 2009, with 16 firms awarded places for two years. The bank also has an annually reviewed corporate banking panel.