AG has advised Warrington Borough Council on its acquisition of a 33% stake in Redwood Financial Partners Limited, the parent company of "Redwood", marking the first investment of its type by a borough council.

Entering the market as a new UK SME Business bank, Redwood obtained its banking licence on 11 April 2017, following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Redwood plans to offer secure SME lending products to owner occupied businesses, as well as to experienced commercial and residential property investors, following the emergence of a gap in the market, as larger banks turn away from SMEs in the wake of the Financial Services sector shakeup and Brexit.

Warrington Borough Council's investment allows Redwood to open a regional office in Warrington prior to its launch, acting as a gateway to the North West. The deal is a key indicator of the ground-breaking investments local authorities are making, as they find innovative ways of maintaining services.

Commenting on the deal, Mike O'Connor, National Head of Infrastructure, Projects and Energy at AG said: "Over the past decade local governments have continued to feel the pressure to find innovative ways of maintaining services without the pain of hiking taxes for the ever-growing populations. We have seen a number of council using their borrowing powers economically and using their funds to buy real estate assets – however investment of this sort is ground-breaking and the first of its kind.

"We are delighted to have advised on the landmark investment, which builds on our local government expertise in advising on such schemes, and combines it with our investment and Financial Regulation experience, to deliver advice to the council, in a deal which promises to boost the local economy."