Nationwide delays launch of panel review

Nationwide Building Society has delayed the launch of its general panel review until the autumn.

Liz Kelly
Liz Kelly

The delay echoes that of both Barclays (14 January 2013) and Lloyds Banking Group (25 October 2012), the first of which was pulled back as the banking giant moved away from biennial reviews, the second understood to be related to the size of the task involved.

The Lawyer revealed in October that Nationwide was preparing to launch its first wide-ranging panel review early in 2013 with five coveted spots up for grabs (22 October 2012).

The last review, in 2009, saw Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, Eversheds, Nabarro and Olswang all successful in their bids.

However general counsel Liz Kelly, who will be leading the procurement exercise, said the review will be pushed back to the autumn to allow more time to “get things right”.

“We look at our panel as an extension of us, so we want to make sure we get this right,” she said. “We spend a lot of time with our panel firms, talking with them about our strategy, getting them in to negotiation and project meetings. A lot of our credibility stands on this – so it is important that we have the right people.”

Kelly said there would be no shake up of the review process but added that new specialist areas would include compliance.

“Going forward this [panel review] will be a similar process to previous panel reviews, although we might end up looking for new specialisms on the compliance side,” she said. “We will have a two-way, face to face discussion across a table. It needs to work on both sides. I need to ask, would I put these people in front of our CEO?”

Other panel reviews from the last few months include the Royal Bank of Scotland’s, which saw Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Stephenson Harwood among the firms appointed to the reduced panel (23 October 2012).