Top five UK bank and former building society Abbey National has hired Bell Pottinger Financial for public relations advice on its ill-fated merger plans with Bank of Scotland.
Abbey turned to the City PR outfit in place of retained agency Brunswick, which also acts for BoS and could not work on both due to conflict of interest issues.
Brunswick will, however, continue to be retained by Abbey.
Bell Pottinger MD David Beck and director John Coles will lead the account, reporting to Abbey National head of media relations, Christina Mills.
The brief will include media relations and some public affairs work.
No formal pitch took place.
Beck said an initial team of six were working on the account, but added that more staff may be needed.
This week, merger talks between Abbey and BoS were on the brink of collapsing when details of the two banks' discussions were leaked.
Both parties came to blows, accusing each other of disclosing the information.