Paul Norris has joined Navigator as its Regional Representative (Asia Pacific) based out of Singapore. Paul brings a wealth of experience having worked first hand in project finance advisory, investment and lending. He comes with over seventeen years of experience as an oil & gas geologist, an engineer in the civil transport sector and more recently as a Director in investment banking at VTB Capital Plc and ABN AMRO Bank (Infrastructure Capital teams).
Paul Norris – quick facts
- Oil & gas geologist, engineer and consultant
- Director, Project finance banker, investor and advisor
- Chartered Engineer and Geologist, Finance Masters
- Previously worked for VTB Capital, ABN AMRO, Bank of Ireland and EDF Energy
As regional representative Paul is responsible for developing and also managing business in Asia. This extends from initial meetings with potential clients all the way through to transaction structuring, coordinating modelling assignments and delivering a wide range of training. Paul’s deep expertise in project finance combined with his consulting and technical background brings a fantastic wealth to Navigator’s Asian ambitions across the board.
1. Why have you chosen a career in the project finance industry?
It’s hard to put it into words but I guess it’s a part of finance that just fascinates me. Probably because most good project financiers rarely just have a finance background. We see a mix of engineers, geologists, chemists, lawyers etc who have ventured into the role from the various industries that make it up and they all contribute to the mix. I feel very fortunate as I have been on nearly all the sides of the equation – from bobbing around on semi-submersible drilling platforms in the North Sea (UK) as a geologist looking for hydrocarbons, designing a major new airport and associated infrastructure in Hong Kong, advising on project risk on large new railway schemes in the UK (Thameslink, West Coast Route Modernization), the financial modelling of new electrical networks and a whole county street lighting upgrades; to lending debt and investing equity in public-private partnership schemes in the UK, Europe and Russia.
2. What was your first job?
I came to project finance from the oil and gas industry. My first job was as a mud-logging geologist on exploration rigs in the North Sea in the UK, Holland and Norway. The first time I flew onto a rig we were hit by a massive storm and the rig, being a semi-submersible i.e. not fixed to the ocean floor, had to pull-off the drill string and roll around in sixty-foot waves in winds of excess of eighty kilometers an hour for three whole days. Scary stuff!!
3. What did you study and how does it help you in this role?
I was trained as an engineering geologist at London University and I have a mining finance and economics masters from Imperial College (London). In addition to this I have professional qualifications being a chartered engineer and chartered geologist. So you could say that I have a very technical background as well as a good financial grounding from my masters and having to study for securities exams in the UK and Singapore. It helps when you attend construction meetings and someone takes you for a typical banker and tries to pull the wool over your eyes with jargon! Also, it’s great value for clients to have someone that actually understands their business from the ground up.
4. What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different. For example, it could be that I am running a financial modelling training or applied theory courses such as International Project Finance in Asia. However, typically my day starts by looking through e-mails from our Australian office as that opens 3 hours ahead of Singapore and there could be messages from the UK (from the night before). I might add my input to a bid and then I might have a morning client meeting or a working lunch followed by afternoon client meetings. A bit of everything really.
5. What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Delivering a good service! From consulting advice, to delivering a course where I can see that people are excited as they have learnt something new or benefited from my sharing from transaction experience. It might sound clichéd but that is really motivating!
6. What is on your agenda for 2011?
To develop our business in the Asia Pacific region, starting with Singapore and including regional neighbours such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. This is my main focus at the moment as it will show our Asian clients that we are serious about this part of the world and that we are here to support them in growing their businesses. My aim is to make Singapore such a busy office that we need to increase the team size!
Regional Representative (Asia Pacific)
Phone: +65 9199 4582