Investec to standardise adviser relationships in overhaul of legal panel

Banking group Investec has kicked off an adviser review in an effort to standardise relationships across its legal roster and cut back the number of law firms it uses.

The review, which is being led by head of legal and compliance Richard Brearley, covers three of the bank’s four business units – private banking, capital markets and property investment, with investment banking unaffected.

Investec has standardised its terms and conditions for advisers, with each panel firm signing up to similar contracts. Firms will now provide standard information on billing and agree to terms on how often they will meet. The bank has also used the process to update information on who will manage the relationships at each firm.

So far only the private banking panel has been confirmed, with those appointed including Shepherd & Wedderburn, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith, Wragge & Co, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Howard Kennedy and London firm Glovers.

The review, which was carried out during April and May this year, was headed up by the unit’s head of legal, Scott Southgate.

It is understood that Eversheds has not been appointed to the panel. The national firm saw its relationship with Investec come under strain when it moved the bulk of its funds – totalling at least £18m of firm and client money – to six UK clearing banks in October 2008, cutting back the number of institutions it used from around 20, one of which was Investec.

Reviews of the other units are still being carried out and are likely to be finalised by the autumn.