People on the Move: GCA Altium; Express Solicitors; Catax

Gareth Owen

Global investment bank GCA Altium has strengthened its European debt and restructuring team with the appointment of Gareth Owen as director based in its Manchester office.

GCA Altium has 19 dedicated debt professionals and has advised on 35 debt deals in 2019 and more than 100 in the past three years. Gareth joins the team to boost GCA Altium’s debt offering in the North, driven by increased demand in the region.

Prior to joining the company, Gareth spent 12 years at Lloyds Bank working in a variety of debt financing roles including restructuring, corporate lending and leveraged finance.

Most recently, Gareth was head of the regional strategic debt finance team at Lloyds Bank, based in Manchester, leading a team across the North, Scotland and Midlands.

In that role he worked closely with corporate clients, private equity houses and the advisory community to structure and fund a range of debt finance deals in the UK mid-market.

Gareth Owen said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be joining GCA Altium which, as a firm, has a strong reputation for its dealmaking ability on a global scale.

“I am looking forward to working alongside the European debt and restructuring team in expanding the firm’s offering in the region and using our international connections to support companies across the North.”

Simon Chambers, managing director at GCA Altium, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Gareth to the GCA Altium European debt and restructuring team.

“It is a busy time for our debt teams across all regions, so the wealth of market knowledge he brings, coupled with his experience in the North, will help us to expand our reach even further.”

Phil Adams, chief executive at GCA Altium, said: “We are really excited that Gareth has joined us.

“We have built a really strong integrated UK M&A advisory business which combines local relationships with global reach and specialist knowledge.

“Gareth will bring additional expertise to our team in the North and provide our clients with senior, local debt advice while leveraging our European access to all of the key banks and credit funds, which is increasingly important at this point in the cycle.”


Pauline Reeves has been appointed by Manchester-based personal injury (PI) law firm, Express Solicitors, as its new chief financial officer.

With years of experience in acquisitions and financial management, Pauline will play an integral role in growing the 320-strong firm by overseeing the purchase of UK PI firms, as well as taking responsibility for financial management, reporting and strategy.

A commercially astute chartered accountant who launched her career 25 years ago at Ernst & Young London, Pauline’s more recent positions include head of group finance at Empresaria Group, finance and operations director at Ntrinsic Holdings and chief financial officer at Join the Dots Limited.

Pauline said: “I’m delighted to join the strong and dynamic management team at Express Solicitors and to be part of their continued growth plans.

“The firm has a great reputation in the market, a high calibre of employees and a commitment to continued growth. I look forward to helping the firm to achieve its growth ambitions, both organically and through acquisitions.”

Pauline Reeves

Managing partner, James Maxey, said: “The aftershocks of this pandemic and the changes to legislation next year could potentially lead to further consolidation in the PI sector.

“We are in a strong position to capitalise on this consolidation and see the addition of Pauline’s experience in corporate acquisitions and strong financial management as key to achieving our ambitions to further grow our market share.”

Express Solicitors is ranked in The Lawyer Top 200, its lawyers and the firm are recognised in The Legal 500 and noted in Chambers and Partners. Express Solicitors specialises in personal injury and accident claims, clinical negligence claims and serious injury cases.


Chris Lonergan has joined specialist tax relief firm Catax as its new partnership development director to further strengthen its partnership team.

Chris joins Catax from SalesLevers, a specialist in driving sales performance, where he was head of sales performance consulting from 2018.

Prior to that he was head of business growth consulting at chartered accountants Haines Watts for five years, which was his third stint with a Top 20 accounting firm.

In Chris’s new role he will be responsible for helping accountants build collaborative partnerships with Catax.

This will enable accountants’ clients to take advantage of Catax expertise on research and development (R&D) tax credits, capital allowances, and Patent Box, in a professional and ethical way.

Mark Tighe, Catax chief executive, said: “Chris’s vast experience working in accountancy firms means he is well-placed to build new working relationships and further develop existing partnerships at Catax.

“R&D tax relief, in particular, couldn’t be more important to firms carrying out research and development right now, in the middle of a global pandemic. Accountants are able to draw on our expertise by collaborating with us on behalf of their clients to ensure they receive what they are entitled to in tax relief, in a timely way.

Chris Lonergan

“We are delighted to welcome Chris to the team and look forward to seeing partnerships grow as we move forward.”

Chris Lonergan said: “Having worked at three ambitious Top 20 accountancy firms in business development and as a fee-earner, I can see what Catax are trying to do from all perspectives.

“Catax offers a flexible partnership programme suitable for firms of all sizes and levels of expertise.

“Numerous smaller firms do not, or cannot yet, offer advice on the tax reliefs we specialise in. This increases the risk that clients won’t take advantage of these schemes, giving their competitors a greater edge.

“Many mid-sized and larger accountancy firms do have a good level of knowledge but are often so snowed under with client work that they miss key elements of claims. In extreme cases this can result in their clients facing time-consuming challenges from HMRC.”