Management Team

Jonathan Russell


Jonathan brings to Spire a 24-year career in Private Equity at 3i where as a proven and established industry leader, he was responsible for creating and managing the Buyout Division. This was a pan-European operation with circa 100 executives based across the major European economies. In that period he turned around the performance of Eurofund​ III, delivering a 17% IRR on this €2.3 billion 1999 fund, raised and invested Eurofund IV in 2003 at €2.7 billion which has delivered a 2.1x net result to investors. In 2006 he raised Eurofund V at €5.0 billion.

In 2008 he was Chairman of the European Venture Capital Association ("EVCA") and led the Private Equity industry’s response to the EU’s AIFM directive, which in its early drafts was a significant threat to the industry. Thanks to the EVCA’s efforts this threat receded.

Jonathan has a BSc (Hons) in Ophthalmic Optics and an MBA from London Business School.

Phil Bennett-Britton

Partner, Portfolio Manager

Previously Phil was co-Portfolio Manager of 3i’s inaugural debt fund, and having worked on the acquisition of Mizuho Investment Management, took over portfolio management responsibilities for two of 3i’s Harvest CLOs. In 2011, he led the structuring of 3i’s Credit Opportunities Fund, Palace Street I Limited, and in 2012 led the acquisition of the European CLO management contracts from Invesco. He was also responsible for secondary trading across all of 3i’s debt funds.

Phil started his career in Corporate Finance at ING Barings, before transferring to ING’s Acquisition Finance and Sponsor Coverage team. He subsequently moved to Mizuho Corporate Bank, where he worked in its Leveraged Finance Origination teams in London and Hong Kong.

Phil has a degree in Law from the University of Nottingham.

Oliver Drummond Smith

Partner, Portfolio Manager

Previously Oliver was part of 3i’s Buyout Team where he was involved in a number of private equity transactions. In addition, Oliver was the co-Portfolio Manager of 3i’s inaugural debt fund and through his involvement in the acquisition of Mizuho Investment Management, was instrumental in the establishment of 3i Debt Management. He was responsible for leading 3i’s entry into the North American debt management market.

Oliver began his career at Barclays Bank, where he worked on arranging Leveraged Finance transactions. In 2007, he joined Merrill Lynch as a senior member of their mid-market Leveraged Finance team.

Oliver has a BSc in Mathematics from Bristol University and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.