US firm Alston & Bird has opened a London office in response to a UK ‘boom in the payments sector’. Atlanta headquartered Alston & Bird joins a growing number of US firms opening offices in the capital. It has hired three partners – two from US practice K&L Gates – and will focus on clients in the finance and payments industry.

Alston & Bird’s payments partner Rich Willis will serve as the office's partner in charge and three other partners will join him, along with four associates.

The firm’s chairman and managing partner Richard Hays said: ‘Our London office reflects the strength of our global finance and payment systems practices, as well as the vitality of the many clients we have been serving in these areas.'

Duncan Douglass, leader of the firm’s payment systems team, said: ‘A boom in the payments sector has gathered pace in the UK as consumers change the way they pay for goods, and legacy providers are challenged by rivals.’

Alston & Bird has 12 offices worldwide, including in Brussels and Beijing.