Norton Rose is celebrating the close of its first deal for Bear Stearns after 18 months spent wooing the investment bank.

The securitisation group, led by global head Jonathan Walsh, won the role of adviser on the debut £130m mortgage-backed issue for Bear Stearns’ mortgage lending subsidiary Rooftop Mortgages.

It is believed to be the first time a new non-conforming mortgage lender has been established in the UK for several years.

The instruction followed a competitive tender process concluded last year. Bear Stearns has previously instructed Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Weil Gotshal & Manges on securitisation matters.

Walsh has been targeting Bear Stearns for more than 18 months, developing relationships with senior managing director Richard Downer and former head of legal Steven Bartlett.

Walsh founded Norton Rose’s securitisation practice in 1995 after quitting Clifford Chance. The firm now has four dedicated securitisation partners advising on capital markets, securitisation and derivatives.

Since its inception, the securitisation group has set up HSBC’s Regency programme and the Lock Ness programme for Royal Bank of Scotland; it has also been highly active in Portuguese securitisation as well as advising a raft of ratings agencies.