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Lloyds Banking Group takes on Morgan Stanley lawyer to head litigation and contentious regulatory

As Lloyds Banking Group makes a series of senior management hires it has emerged that the global financial institution has brought in Morgan Stanley lawyer Michael Hartridge to replace group litigation and contentious regulatory head Nicola Myatt, who has left the bank.

Following LBG’s takeover of UK banking group HBOS in 2008, Myatt was appointed to head the combined litigation team, having headed the same function at Lloyds.

Hartridge’s hire earlier this year comes as the bank conducts a shakeup of parts of its in-house function, including considering outsourcing its retail & wealth and asset finance litigation teams to a panel firm. Currently all teams involved in the restructuring are reporting to Hartridge.

His appointment is one of a series of recent high level hires for LBG. This summer retail and wealth disputes head Aamir Khan left LBG for US legal process outsourcing provider (LPO) Clutch, where he is GC and senior director for the UK and Europe, with his position now filled by UBS Wealth disputes chief and former DLA Piper lawyer Philippa Simmons, who started her new role last Friday (8 November).

That LBG is reviewing its litigation and regulatory arm is not surprising given that it hired the former GC of the Financial Services Authority, Andrew Whittaker as its current GC in June 2012. It is also following the trend of many financial institutions, which have had to beef up those functions in the wake of a tougher regulatory landscape.

The bank is currently advertising for a further litigation lawyer and is one of many dealing with the continuing fallout from the financial crisis, having set aside a UK fund of around £750m in provisional legal costs.

Other internal movement at the bank of late has included former corporate M&A head Hugh Pugsley, who took over as GC for group legal from Kate Cheetham in mid-September, when the latter was promoted to deputy GC in January this year.

LBG declined to comment. At the time of writing Myatt’s destination was unknown.