top of page
Frame 125.png


The principals and key staff have strong pedigrees in asset raising, with around 65+ years of collective experience across asset management sales and strategy. They have worked in senior roles at blue chip global asset management firms and investment banks. We have a clear and demonstratable track record of raising significant levels of AUM across different strategies, geographies and investment cycles.

Ryan Durance

  • LinkedIn_ryan-durance
Founder, Managing Director

Ryan is the founder of Briarwood Partners. He has 17 years of Asset Management experience. Since 2010 Ryan has directly raised in excess of $2.5 bn+ of AUM and has extensive experience across traditional and alternative assets. He has a wide array of relationships across Family Offices, Institutions, Private Banks and Wealth Managers. He spent the previous 4.5 years with Bennelong Funds Management Group, who are a $8.2bn Australian headquartered multi-boutique Asset Manager, owned by a SFO. In December 2016 Ryan set up their London based subsidiary BennBridge. He led the Business Development function as Head of Business Development and was also heavily involved in sourcing new investment boutiques. At the time of Ryan’s departure, BennBridge had four investment boutique partnerships, 20+ employees in London and $1bn+ of AUM.   Previously he was the Head of Institutional Sales at Bennelong Funds Management. Based in Melbourne, he was in charge of Institutional relationships globally and won the businesses first non-Australian mandate from a Hong Kong based institution.   From 2010 to 2015 he worked for Cazenove Capital and Schroders following their acquisition of Cazenove Capital in 2013. At Cazenove he covered a Pan-European investor base and raised a significant amount of assets across their traditional and alternative asset strategies. At Schroders he was a Product Manager for their long/short strategies and was instrumental in helping grow the alternatives franchise within Schroders. Other roles included Coutts & Co, Barclays Wealth & Sanlam.   Ryan graduated from Liverpool University with a degree in Modern History & Politics. In his spare time he is a keen sportsman and has a particular love of Cricket. He has a young family and also ran the 2017 Paris marathon raising nearly £5,000 for Water Aid.

Natalie Benjamin-Pinel

  • LinkedIn_Natalie

Natalie is a Partner at Briarwood Partners.  She has 18+ years of experience and most recently ran the EMEA Capital Introductions team at Citi, where she spent 10 years. Previous to that, she focused on European allocators and asset managers within Capital Introductions at Merrill Lynch.  She began her career on the buy side, working in sales and investor relations at GLG Partners.    Throughout her career, Natalie has focused on sales and distribution advisory of alternative funds, into a European investor base.  She has deep relationships with end allocators such as Endowments/ Foundations, Pensions and Family Offices. She also has extensive experience across intermediaries such as Family Offices, Private Wealth Managers, Investment Consultants and specialist Alternatives allocators.   Her experience has allowed her to work across a wide variety of funds across different strategies and life cycles. Natalie has seen a wide spectrum of funds that have gone on to be successful with a number of paths to achieving that growth. In addition to the successes, she has seen a large number of firms fail. She believes that those that failed hold as valuable a lesson as those that succeeded.   Natalie lives in London with her Bulgarian husband and two children.  She graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in Russian Joint Studies, and continued on to do an MSc in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies.  Natalie is half French, half British, and speaks 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian & Bulgarian).  In her spare time, Natalie enjoys reading,  hiking and learning about physics, history, and archaeology.

James Bignell

  • LinkedIn_James
Jim Bignell Bio Pic35.jpg

Jim is a Partner at Briarwood Partners. He has 24 years of Financial Markets experience, the majority of which has been in Hedge Funds, both allocating and asset raising. The last 11 years have been spent at Bank of America where he was Managing Director, EMEA Head of Capital Advisory, assisting hedge funds with their asset raising plans globally across a multitude of strategies, mainly focused on Equity Long/Short, Event Driven and Multi-strategy funds. He has extensive relationships with both European and US investors, particularly within the Institutional and early stage space. His relationships predominantly span Endowments and Foundations, Pension Funds, Fund of Hegde Funds and Family Offices. Prior to BofA, Jim worked at both Olympia Capital and Cadogan Management as a hedge fund allocator. At Olympia he was Head of Equity Long Short and Event Driven investing and an Investment Committee member where he was responsible for sourcing, selecting and investment due diligence for hedge funds (including UCITS) on a global basis. At Cadogan Management, between 2006 and 2011, Jim was a senior research analyst on the European team focused on Long/Short Equity, Event Driven and Credit Long/Short, as well as Investment Committee member. Jim’s introduction to Hedge Funds was in 2004 when he joined KBC Alternative Investment Management, a $4.5bn Convertible Arbitrage and Credit Long/Short focused hedge fund, as part of their finance team. Jim started his career at Arthur Andersen (later Deloitte & Touche) in 1999 in their financial markets division. Jim graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Finance. He is a Chartered Account (ACA), holds the CAIA qualification and is based in Cape Town.

Tom Hickey

  • LinkedIn_Tom
Director of Distribution

Tom is Director of Distribution for Briarwood Partners. He has 10+  years of financial services experience working in senior marketing and distribution roles.  Tom has spent the past 5 years with Contango Asset Management, a listed Australian business that partners with, and promotes, high-quality fund managers to the wholesale and intermediary channels of the Australian market. During his time with Contango, Tom directly contributed to growth in funds under management from $185m to over $1.2bn.  Tom has been involved in the development and distribution of funds across all major asset classes including listed global equities, domestic equities, private credit, private equity, fixed income and alternative assets. Tom has extensive experience working with high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, family offices and intermediary clients. Previously Tom was General Manager, Investments at Switzer Financial Group where he was closely involved in the setup of Switzer Asset Management. Tom holds a Bachelor of Communications from Charles Sturt University and RG146, Managed Investments.  Tom is fluent in French and has recently relocated to France with his French wife and two young children. Tom enjoys jazz music and loves being around the ocean. He enjoys all sports particularly surfing, Australian Football and golf.

Nadia Tasneem

  • LinkedIn_Nadia
Nadia_ID_LBS 155.jpg
Team Assistant

Nadia is the Team Assistant for Briarwood Partners. She supports the team with investor relations, sales support, presentations and reports, and project work. She joined Briarwood Partners in September 2023, and hopes to help contribute to the growth and success of the business. She recently graduated with a Masters in Management from London Business School (2023). She also has a degree in English from University College London and has worked for a year as a corporate strategy analyst for a Hong Kong-based insurance company. On the weekends, Nadia spends time at dance classes and rehearsals for musical theatre shows. She enjoys watching West End shows and participating in amateur performances. Nadia speaks three languages (English, Malay, Chinese) and enjoys reading and exploring language and literature.

bottom of page