People on the move: Clough & Willis; Freeths; Equistone Partners Europe; AJ Bell Investments; Swinton Group

Rhianna Bateson and Jack Trickett

Bury law firm Clough & Willis has grown its team with the appointments of Rhianna Bateson and Jack Trickett.

Bateson has joined as a private client solicitor and will be specialising in wills, inheritance tax planning, probate and estate administration as well as lasting powers of attorney and court of protection matters.

She completed her legal practice course in 2006, started her training contract in July, 2014 and qualified in July 2016. Bateson joins Clough & Willis from JWK Solicitors.

Trickett, is the firm’s newest paralegal. He will initially be based in the property department and will then be working across the business in rotation.

He graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University and completed his legal practice course a year later at Manchester Law School.

Shefali Talukdar, managing partner of Clough & Willis, said: “We are excited to welcome Rhianna and Jack to firm. Their arrival is great news and we look forward to seeing them making their mark with their colleagues and clients.

Bateson added: “Clough & Willis is a fantastic firm that is both client and community focused, so both myself and Jack are thrilled to now be part of the team.”


National law firm Freeths has announced the significant expansion of its planning and environment group across its network of 11 offices.

Andy McMullan joins as director in the Manchester office to lead planning consultancy in the North West and Yorkshire regions.

He has arrivedfrom Knight Frank and will work closely with planning lawyer Michelle Spark who joins from Addleshaw Goddard as senior associate in Leeds.

In London, planning lawyer Jennifer Roe joins from Russell Cooke. In Sheffield, Arunsiri Doheny-Adams joins from Bond Dickinson as an environmental lawyer, along with Victoria Teece who started in Leicester earlier this year from Charnwood Borough Council.

In Nottingham, the planning consultancy and planning legal offer is further strengthened with the promotion of Mark Bassett and Polly Wisner to senior associate and of Liz Garvey to associate.

Freeths unique multi-disciplinary planning and environment group is now a 25 strong team comprising planning consultants, planning lawyers and environmental lawyers led by 5 partners all of whom are recognised for their expertise in Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.

Head of the planning and environment group, Chris Waumsley said: “It is an exciting time for the planning and environment group and our continued growth reflects both our client’s desire for multi-disciplinary advice on development projects and that the group is widely recognised for its depth of experience and quality of advice.”


Equistone Partners Europe has announced the appointment of Sebastien Leusch as investment director at its Manchester office as the firm continues to seek new investments from its €2bn Fund V.

Leusch joins Equistone having previously worked at Montagu Private Equity, where he spent nine years developing a strong reputation for delivering transactions across a broad range of sectors in the North of England and Europe.

This followed a seven-year spell with PwC, latterly as a director in the Corporate Finance team, where he was responsible for a broad range of lead advisory assignments, including on acquisitions, disposals, and management buy-outs and buy-ins.

At Equistone, Leusch will work alongside Steve O’Hare, senior partner, and Andi Tomkinson, investment director, to identify new investments and support the firm’s existing northern portfolio, which includes Willerby, Apogee, Wealth at Work, Travel Counsellors, Concept Life Sciences, and Fircroft. These companies have combined revenues of over £1.6bn and around 4,000 employees.

Leusch said: “It is an exciting time to be joining Equistone’s Manchester team. The firm has a diverse portfolio and has backed a number of high growth businesses in the North of England

Steve O’Hare senior partner at Equistone said: “Seb has demonstrated an ability to identify and secure key investments and manage those companies through to exit. Seb is well known in the northern deal community and also has expertise across a range of sectors and geographies, which will add value to the team at Equistone.”


Kevin Doran has been appointed chief investment officer and managing director of AJ Bell Investments with immediate effect.

AJ Bell Investments is a business division of AJ Bell, one of the UK’s fastest-growing online investment platforms.

Doran, who is based at AJ Bell’s headquarters in Salford Quays, will be responsible for leading the investment team and developing the range of solutions it offers to financial advisers and customers.

He was previously chief investment officer at Brown Shipley with overall responsibility for the investment proposition, incorporating investment strategy and portfolio implementation.

Meanwhile, Matthew Brennan is joining AJ Bell as fund manager. He will be part of the team responsible for the day-to-day running of the AJ Bell funds and will work with Doran to further grow the range of investment options that AJ Bell provides.

Brennan previously worked with Doran at Brown Shipley, where he was senior fund manager and head of fixed income research, with specific responsibility for managing its discretionary fixed income fund.

Andy Bell, chief executive of AJ Bell, said: “Our new range of funds have been well received by customers and we are looking to build on that initial success.

“Kevin and Matthew bring a huge amount of expertise and knowledge to the business at a time when we believe there is growing demand for straightforward, low-cost investment solutions.”


Manchester-based insurance broker Swinton Group has hired a new senior claims manager, to enhance the growing insurer development and products team.

Dennis Owens, joins Swinton from BGL Group, where he was employed as an associate director. He has over 10 years’ experience in claims and insurance, specialising in operations management, strategic planning and process improvement.

Owens will be responsible for Swinton’s claims strategy, customer experience and management of suppliers and will work within the insurer development and product team, headed up by Kirsty Walker.

Walker, director of insurer development and product, said: “Dennis has a wealth of commercial experience and understands the importance of risk management and stakeholder engagement.”

Owens said: “I am excited to be joining an established brand like Swinton during a period of transformative change. I look forward to working in the team to drive industry leading customer improvements across the complete claims cycle.”