Wait is over as Lloyds finalises customer-pay panel

Lloyds Banking Group has finalised its long-awaited customer-pay panel in what marks the first formal process for its third-party roster.

The bank was due to put in place its third-party panel, for which its customers pay the fees, early last year after deciding to split it from its own-account panel but firms were left in limbo for over a year.

Now the bank is understood to have doled out spots to Osborne Clarke, Hogan Lovells, CMS Cameron McKenna and Addleshaw Goddard following a tender process and is in talks with other firms including Ashurst.

The bank has split its panel into 12 spots with each divided into five or six value bases. Some firms have won work with a price tag of up to £25,000 while others will be given the chance to work on mandates of over £1m.

While some firms are understood to have been sent letters two weeks ago notifying them of their spots others have been informed less formally and are still in negotiation over the role they will havekay.

One source said: “A lot of firms who have been considered are not the ones which have the major relationships with the banks that other firms have so they may have all been treated slightly differently.”

It is the first time the bank has run a formal process for the transactional panel and comes months before the bank launches a review for its prestigious own-account work (2 November 2012).

In 2012 that panel was slashed when firms were appointed to roughly eight sub-panels with winning firms including CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds, Osborne Clarke and Stephenson Harwood. That means that at least two firms have now won spots on both of the bank’s panels with partner Will Meredith understood to be leading the Lloyds’ relationship from CMS.

The finalised roster confirms earlier suspicions that previous sub-panels like corporate lending, trade finance and real estate finance would be merged into one (25 February 2013). There is a heavy weighting on real estate in the new roster which was led by Lloyds in-house lawyers Jon Alexander, corporate real estate counsel Lesley Wan and legal sourcing relationship manager Gregg Thompson.

It brings an end to a nail-biting period for the bank’s panel firms, who have been waiting to hear the results of its customer-pay panel review since early last year. The process was expected to kick off in January 2013 but was delayed until March. However by June last year firms had still not been informed about the timescale for its review (10 June 2013).

By February this year the bank was understood to be collecting internal feedback on its panel firms in preparation for kicking off the review. Sources said they were expecting submission bundles from the in-house team later that month (28 February 2014).

However last week some sources said they had received emails from the banking team informing them that the process was still underway.  

Bank customer-pay panel spots are less coveted than spots on own-account panels however spaces are still fought over. 

A source said: “Lloyds is bound to be more selective about the firms advising the bank on own account than it would on this panel which is more for usual day-to-day loan type work. You’d think it was a less sensitive matter than advising on M&A for example.”

But another source said the firm would “certainly not be disappointed” to win a place.