Bibby, Catalyst, Recognise and OakNorth announce new hires



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Bibby Financial Services, Catalyst Property Finance, Recognise Bank and OakNorth Bank have bolstered their teams with new hires.

Bibby Financial Services

Bibby Financial Services has appointed Riana Azam as regional head of corporate to boost its support for businesses in the North of England and Scotland.

She will head up Bibby’s corporate team in the North, based in Manchester, and will focus on developing deals for larger businesses with turnover of up to £100m to support a range of requirements, including cashflow funding, growth and expansion, management buy-ins and buy-outs, refinancing, corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions.

Riana, who has over 15 years of experience in the invoice finance and asset-based lending sectors in the North West, joins Bibby from Nucleus Commercial Finance, where she worked as a regional sales director.

Prior to this, she held roles at Metro Bank, Santander and RBS.

Gary Davis, head of UK sales at Bibby Financial Services, said: “We have had an incredibly strong first half of the year with our sales teams across the country, delivering fantastic results and continuing to support UK SMEs.

“I’m delighted to welcome Riana to BFS at a time of positive change. 

“With her experience and connections, I’m confident we’ll be able to bolster our support for businesses throughout the region even further.”

Catalyst Property Finance

Catalyst Property Finance has appointed Lee Griffiths as a relationship manager.

In his new role, he will be responsible for originating loans, structuring, and pricing lending terms and building successful customer relationships.  

Lee, who previously worked as a commercial property investment consultant, spent the last two years working for Iceberg Group, specialising in asset finance and working capital funding for the legal sector.

“I am delighted to have joined Catalyst who have shown fantastic growth over the past few years, even during these challenging times,” said Lee.

“I was really impressed by their values and vision for the medium/long term, and it was clear from our first meeting that I wanted to be a part of the journey.”

James Farge, head of new business at Catalyst Property Finance, added: “We recognise the requirement to support our clients with the best customer service in order to retain the relationships we have worked hard to build. 

“The recruitment of Lee into the new business team at Catalyst was an easy decision to make. 

“I am looking forward to working closely with Lee as he further enhances our ability to originate quality business, in what is, a very competitive market.”   

Recognise Bank

Recognise Bank has appointed Robert Hulse as head of professional practices and Jawad Anjum as head of healthcare.

Robert, who joins Recognise from Shire Professional Funding, will focus on firms such as lawyers, accountants, architects and vets.

Meanwhile, Jawad will concentrate on the medical sector, including businesses like pharmacies and dental practices.

The appointments are part of Recognise’s intention to provide finance support to the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses, including its range of professional practice loans for funding needs ranging from tax, insurance and VAT to office refurbishments and management buy-outs.

Commenting on his appointment, Robert said: “It’s fantastic that Recognise is committed to developing financial products specifically for professional practices, especially when so many other banks and lenders are becoming selective in the professions they work with and are even withdrawing, causing major funding gaps. 

“I am looking forward to driving the development of this area and helping to support many more businesses.”

Jawad added: “The role of medical professionals such as pharmacists during the pandemic confirms just how important they are. 

“Funding in the medical sector is becoming harder as a lot of banks have tightened their criteria and have little or no local presence. 

“Recognise aims to become a funding partner that understands their business and will help them grow.”

Angela Norman, head of corporate development at Recognise Bank, commented: “When we were setting up Recognise, we identified a need within the professional practice and medical sectors. 

“Both are important industry sectors for the UK, but very few mainstream banks were offering loans tailored to their business needs and financial circumstances.
“Recognise is committed to supporting professional practice and medical firms, and now, with the appointment of Robert and Jawad, we have experts who understand the unique challenges of these sectors. 

“We aim to become trusted partners for these businesses and their brokers by helping them achieve their ambitions.”

This follows the recent appointments of six new BDMs covering London and the Midlands, as well as the North West and Yorkshire.

OakNorth Bank

OakNorth Bank has appointed Carolyn Schuetz as a non-executive director.

Carolyn has over 30 years of experience in global financial services experience, particularly in delivering large-scale transformational change and creating new ventures.

Early in her career, she started and scaled her own business, Cypress Knowledge, a corporate consultancy advising senior executives at early stage financial and technology companies in Silicon Valley on strategy, funding and business development.

For the past 16 years until March 2020, Carolyn worked at HSBC, most recently as the chief operating officer for group retail banking and wealth management. 

She is a chartered professional accountant and has an MBA from Stanford.

Commenting on her appointment, Carolyn said: “Having started and scaled my own business, I’m acutely aware of the challenges business owners face when it comes to accessing fast, flexible finance. 

“This is one of the primary reasons that OakNorth’s mission and unique approach really resonates with me. 

“I’ve been following the bank’s incredible growth story for the last few years and am excited to now be a part of it. 

“I look forward to working with the team and supporting entrepreneurs in their growth ambitions.” 

Joel Perlman, co-founder of OakNorth Bank, added: “Carolyn has several decades of varied and highly relevant experience across technology and financial services. 

“She also has experience as an entrepreneur which is clearly aligned with our mission and the customers we serve.

“We are excited to be welcoming her to the board and look forward to her valuable contribution.”

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