Last Friday, 2 March 2018, Alex Berry, in the UK’s Legalweek, published ‘The end of panels? Barclays adviser shake-up provides vision of RFP-free client relationship‘.
Berry’s article outlines reaction to Barclays Bank’s announced shift away from the traditional [and largely, IME, procurement-driven] panel review process – in that, by the end of this panel term, in 2021, Barclays will not be re-tendering its panel.
The good news for the current private practice client relationship partner(s) – but probably not the many tender writers out there (including me) – is the news that:
“When the latest panel appointments come to an end in 2021, Barclays will fully move over to the new model, with lengthy panel reviews – and the laborious RFPs they entail – becoming a thing of the past.”
Which, begs the question – “What new model?”
The answer according to Berry is something termed:
‘active relationship management’.
Think about that for a second: ‘active relationship management‘ – then ask yourself: “How that differ from BAU (business as usual) in your firm?”.
‘active relationship management’ – “will give the bank more flexibility to manage the size and composition of the panel, with law firms added and removed from the line-up on an ad hoc basis.”
But hang on a second – ‘Isn’t that what the whole RFT process is?’
Isn’t that what we have been talking about for years, vis-a-vis the whole rationalisation of panels?
It would appear not.
In Barclays Bank’s case:-
“Barclays argues that this model will help it to develop deeper relationships with its long-term advisers, while the bank is also looking to increase its use of alternative fee arrangements and move towards the “redundancy” of the hourly rate.”
Replacing a legal panel with an ARM structure, with no end term, with the aim of helping the client “develop deeper relationships with its long-term advisers”. I’d second that.
But, “the bank is also looking to increase its use of alternative fee arrangements and move towards the “redundancy” of the hourly rate” – sorry, but wrong platform to have a constructive discussion on this issue.
End result:- likely to be a churn a burn until the next RFT.