RBS litigation spells bad time for bank, good time for litigators

It’s been a month of banking fines and heavy-hitting probes but it looks like the tension wasn’t just between the banks and the regulators.

Last week Bird & Bird was replaced by Flagdate on the mammoth £4bn RBS shareholder battle over a 2008 rights issue last week after a disagreement over fees.

The firm was first instructed on the case in September last year. The claimant group alleging the bank put out a “defective” prospectus has since swelled to 32,000.

RBS has turned to Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) to defend the case. But HSF is just one of the many advising the bank on a veritable tidal wave of banking litigation, including the mammoth Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fines handed down last week.

Linklaters advised on that probe as well as the investigation into retail banking competition led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). As if that wasn’t enough, the bank is also bracing itself for another round of FCA fines in relation to a 2012 IT breakdown.

Clifford Chance won that mandate, with partners Kelwin Nicholls and Carlos Conceicao advising. Looks like it’s a bad time to be a banker but a good time to be a banking litigator.

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