BLP adds Ashurst partner to City banking team

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is continuing to bulk up its finance practice, hiring a partner from Ashurst for its London banking and capital markets group.

Simon Small joins BLP today, having been a finance partner at Ashurst since 2006. Before that he was a partner at Linklaters, where he helped establish the firm’s securitisation business.

Small specialises in capital markets deals, specifically residential mortgages, trade receivables, auto loans, credit cards, commercial real estate and project bonds.

BLP finance head Matthew Kellett said: “Simon joins us at an exciting time as we refocus the finance department for the next phase of growth.

“After a number of departures we’re now undertaking a hiring programme. Simon’s one of six new partners that we’ll have hired by the end of the year. We’re building a broad-based finance practice, but focusing on our areas of strength: asset finance, infrastructure and energy and bank lending, which will complement our already market-leading real estate finance group.”

Key deals for BLP’s finance group this year include advising Royal Bank of Scotland on Project Isobel – its plan to offload a £1.6bn portfolio of UK property loans – as well as on the financing for Rontec Investments’ purchase of Total UK’s downstream business.

Earlier this year, BLP hired Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom counsel Paul Simcock into its banking and capital markets team (13 June 2011).