John Powell


Banking and Finance


John is a specialist in asset, development, corporate and acquisition finance, complex debt restructuring solutions, export credit financing and specific project financing arrangements. Following on from his role leading the firm’s Banking and Finance practice group, John is now the Chair of the Russell McVeagh partnership.

Bringing years of international experience to his practice, John provides expert advice to banks, mezzanine funders and debtors.

John works with major New Zealand banks, corporates and insolvency advisors. He is sought after by institutions and individuals for his sharp insight, pragmatic style and wealth of experience.


Having practiced in New Zealand and Asia (ex-Hong Kong), John has applied his considerable skills in funding, structuring and regulatory matters across a variety of jurisdictions. His recent transactions have included:

  • Advising Argosy, Vital and Scentre Group on their borrowing arrangements.
  • Advising the bank funders to Precinct, Stride and PFI.
  • Acting on the establishment of funded export credit platforms with EKF. 
  • Advising on the seasonal and other funding requirements of Ballance and Zespri.
  • Providing growth funding advice to BeGroup.
Property and Development Finance
  • Advising bank funders on various subdivision, commercial, apartment and hotel developments.
  • Advising mezzanine lenders on apartment and other shared-ownership structures.
  • Advising developers funding, retail, commercial and student accommodation projects.
Project, Asset and ECA Finance
  • Acting for ANZ Bank on the establishment and utilisation of funded and unfunded export credit programmes with EKF (Denmark) and ECGD (United Kingdom).
  • Advising BOTM on the utilisation of EKF supported funding. 
  • Advising on the construction and launch of various Hong Kong and Chinese satellites.
Acquisition and Corporate Finance
  • Advising the Perpetual Guardian group on its core and acquisition funding arrangements.
  • Acting for International Container Terminal Services (Philippines) on its bid for Vancouver Port.
  • Acting for Barclays on a limited resource, equity put option take-out enhanced, zero-coupon loan to support an equity investment on Hangdarm Island, South Korea.
  • Advising Heartland Bank on its acquisition funding of the Seniors Money Business.
  • Advising on Pharmacybrands’ acquisition of the Radius Pharmacy business. 
  • Advising the lender on NIB’s acquisition of the Tower medical insurance business. 
Debt Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Advising PricewaterhouseCoopers as receivers of the Mainzeal group. 
  • Advising the agent and security trustee in connection with the restructuring of the ownership and debt facilities of the Metroglass business.
  • Advising Oaktree as a significant investor in Mediaworks.
  • Advising statutory supervisors on the managed restructure debenture programme.
  • Acting for Smart Communications on its acquisition of control of Piltel through discounted debt purchase arrangements.
  • Acting for Bank of America and IFC on their refinancing of Star Petroleum Refinery’s (Thailand) US$570 million domestic, international, IFC and JBIC debt.
  • Acting for TRI and Celcom (Malaysia) to refinance their convertible bond obligations.
  • Refinancing of the Sunway group’s US$100 million Euro-convertible bonds (Malaysia).


LLB (Hons), BCom, University of Canterbury.

Notary Public.


John became a partner at Russell McVeagh in 2004 and is the current Chair of the Russell McVeagh partnership. Previously he has been the Practice Group Chair for Banking and Finance.

Prior to joining Russell McVeagh, John was a consultant at the Hong Kong office of Linklaters.

He is listed as a leading lawyer for Banking and Finance by Asialaw Profiles 2018, Chambers and Partners 2020, and Best Lawyers® 2020 in New Zealand. John is also listed by IFLR 1000 as a highly regarded lawyer for Banking and by Who's Who Legal 2020 edition as a recommended lawyer for 'Banking - Finance'. 

John has also been chosen by his peers to be listed as one of the world's leading lawyers for Banking and Finance in the 2017 Expert Guides: Banking, Finance and Transactional Guide 2017 6th Edition.

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