BLP builds asset finance capability with Russell Clifford hire

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has appointed Russell Clifford as a partner to join the Asset Finance group within its wider Finance team.

Russell, who was previously at Allen and Overy, has a broad range of experience in finance.  He specialises in structured asset finance, particularly rolling stock financing transactions and is also known for his work in the marine finance sector.  Russell’s work also includes assisting clients with tax based finance transactions.  As well as advising on major UK projects, he is adept at handling large cross border transactions with recent experience including advising on the £1.5bn Alstom Pendolino train-lengthening project for the West Coast Main Line route and on BTMU Capital Corporation’s acquisition of Allco’s European rail business.

Russell will be joined at BLP by Jamie Wiseman-Clarke, also from Allen & Overy, whose experience covers rail and aviation finance. 

BLP’s transport team already has considerable rail expertise dating from the privatisation of the UK railway industry and has since been able to expand the project finance/PFI and international practice into new areas of rail project finance work. Russell’s appointment demonstrates BLP’s willingness to bolster its finance offering and more specifically its rail capabilities. His hire follows the recent partner recruitment of leveraged finance expert Andrew Bamber who will be joining the firm in September. The team has also appointed banking and capital markets specialist Richard Hughes and Jayne Black and Eleanor Hunwicks, both of whom are leaders in the advising of servicers of commercial mortgage loans.

Simon Allan, BLP’s head of finance, said: “Russell’s appointment is a welcome addition to the team.  His expertise in both finance and tax related transactions is a natural fit with the current requirements of our clients. Beyond the growth of our corporate tax team, we want to continue to enhance our capability in structured asset finance transactions and Russell’s appointment meets both those aims.

“Furthermore, his proven capability within the rail and more specifically the rolling stock arena will help us provide additional support to clients within the sector both in the UK and beyond.”

Russell said: “I am pleased to be joining BLP.  I have seen how they have developed not only as a firm but as a finance practice and am looking forward to working with the existing highly regarded team. The entrepreneurial attitude at BLP will provide an excellent environment for me to help to further develop BLP’s rail and finance credentials.  I am very excited about the prospect of working across a number of different areas and look forward to collaborating with the tax and international teams from my base in finance.”

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