Barclays’ strategic business review will have far-reaching implications for law firms hoping to make the bank’s legal advice panels, which are due for revision in June 2014, it emerged this week.
The bank spends £100m a year on legal services, divided between panel firms and 1,000 in-house lawyers.
Under the review, Barclays will ‘forgo’ £500m in revenue from its investment bank, reflecting a greater emphasis on retail banking. The investment banking and finance panel is currently 43-strong, and includes all five magic circle firms.
The structured capital markets tax-related business will also close, with implications for the eight firms on what was the bank’s ‘wealth products’ panel. All have UK offices. A further eight firms advise Barclays Wealth US.
As he unveiled plans to radically change Barclays’ focus on global markets, chief executive Antony Jenkins also moved to transfer from the bank’s general counsel responsibility for the compliance function.
Barclays will also see ‘smaller regional fee pools in Asia and Europe’ with Africa, the UK and US becoming priorities, Jenkins said.
Bjarnie Anderson, the ex-director of legal operations who oversaw the bank’s far-reaching 2003 review of its legal needs, said the geographic announcement is significant. ‘A key consideration for selecting panel firms is "what is your geographic reach?",’ he told the Gazette. ‘You map the grid of your needs and place it over your local expertise and capabilities.’
Other parts of the review point to a significant increase in legal work handled in-house, which would shrink the fee pool for private practice law firms.
Jenkins will also introduce a ‘balanced scorecard’, reflecting the bank’s ‘permanent and material shift’ in its values. This will affect staff remuneration, including that of in-house lawyers.
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