Slaughters and Reed Smith among firms appointed in Santander UK panel review

Santander has completed a review of its UK legal panel, with Slaughter and May and Ashurst among the law firms appointed to the new line-up.

Reed Smith, Taylor Wessing and Eversheds Sutherland are among the other firms to have secured places on the roster following the review, which was run by Aquanima, a Santander subsidiary that deals with procurement.

A partner at one panel firm said: “It was quite a long process. The bank was asking for all the usual things – it is about proving you have all the IT, corporate social responsibility and diversity and all of those good things, as much as reasonable rates, discounts and secondees.

“In previous reviews you were pitching on a reverse auction basis, but that didn’t happen this time.”

One partner close to the review told Legal Week that Santander’s new UK chief legal and regulatory officer John Collins, who joined from RBS last year, was likely to have been involved in the decision-making process.

A Santander spokesperson described the review as “business as usual” and said: “Santander regularly reviews its external legal teams to ensure they remain best in class and offer value to the bank.”

Santander last reviewed its UK panel in 2014. The bank is known to work with firms including Gowling WLG, Hogan Lovells, CMS and DLA Piper.

Santander is currently reviewing its global legal panel, with firms still waiting to find out if they have been successful. That review is being run from Santander’s Madrid headquarters by general secretary and board secretary Jaime Perez Renovales and his team.

The bank also has a ‘pass through’ panel of firms that it recommends to clients, which is reviewed separately.