Emma Russell, a partner and head of the Finance Practice group in London, was profiled by Brickfield Recruitment. Read more below:
With 6th Annual European Fund Finance Symposium just around the corner on June 28, we caught up with the FFA’s Chair of Europe Emma Russell for a chat about her involvement in the Association, its growth in Europe, and glimpse ahead at the conference.
Can you explain a little bit about your background in fund finance and how you came to be involved in the FFA?
I did my first fund finance deal around 2002 or 2003, which was a unit trust financing transaction – a type of real estate financing that was quite popular at the time. I did my first true sub line deal shortly after that for RBS. So I’ve been in fund finance for about 20 years – essentially ever since it first became an active industry in Europe.
Back then it wasn’t as popular space to be in as it is now. Fund Finance was seen as an add-on to leveraged finance (leveraged was seen as a sexier field to be in than fund finance) obviously it has grown exponentially over the years, and I’ve remained in the space throughout that time including the crash in 2008/2009. I attended the first couple of FFA conferences in New York, I’ve known Dee Dee Sklar, Jeff Johnston and Mike Mascia for over a decade.
I’ve been actively involved in FFA Europe since the inception really, when Rob Duggan and I used to informally co-chair it, for want of a better word. Along with Dee Dee and a small team we set up Women in Fund Finance (WFF) initiative and the board about six years ago.
I set up the European Fund Finance team at Haynes Boone London in January of 2017 and we’ve grown the practice from zero then to a fairly substantial portfolio today. We predominantly act for lenders including the full gamut of alternative lenders, but we act for lenders and sponsors, and advice on the spectrum of what now are considered to be fund finance products: sublines, NAV, GP lending, pref equity, secondaries and more structured deals like CLOs and securitisation structures – anything you can think of from a fund finance perspective.
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