The Atlanta-based firm takes advantage of the UK's booming payments sector.
According to a recent report published by UK Finance, a trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector, debit card payment volumes will reach £22.3 billion by 2028. Last year, debit card payments amounted to £15.1 billion. Total card payments will have accounted for 50% of all payment volumes in 2019. Cards are supplanting cash, delivering strong growth in UK payment systems in the process. It is therefore savvy of Alston & Bird to expand its finance-and-payments practice by launching a new office in London.
The firm has hired three partners in total, two of whom are from K&L Gates. Andrew Petersen, who was leading the finance practice in K&L Gates’s London office as well as the firm’s Global Finance practice, has joined the ship, as has fellow finance partner James Spencer. Known for their financial transactions work together for over 17 years, the duo will be joined by two associates from K&L Gates. More associates are expected to join them.
The third partner is dual-qualified (England & Wales and Ireland) competition partner and payments industry expert James Ashe-Taylor. Ashe-Taylor arrives from Constantine Cannon, where he headed the firm’s European antitrust practice. He will be accompanied by two associates from Constantine Cannon.
Alston & Bird payments partner Richard Willis, who leads the Brussels office, will also have oversight of the London office.
Alston & Bird Chairman and Managing Partner Richard Hays said, “Our London office reflects the strength of our global Finance and Payment Systems practices, as well as the vitality of the many clients we have been serving in these areas.”
Atlanta is a hub for movie productions, but the city is also widely known as the payment processing capital of the world. According to the American Transaction Processors Coalition, Atlanta processes over 70% of the payment transactions, earning itself the nickname “Transaction Alley”. Alston & Bird has been enjoying this home-turf advantage to establish a highly capable payment systems practice with a strong track record in the US.
In 2011, the Brussels office of the firm was launched to further the payments systems practice. Now, with the launch of the London office, Alston’s payment systems practice will be stronger than ever before in Europe.