People: Bank North; CBRE; Brown Shipley; Velstar; Pierce Business Advisory & Accountancy Group

Louise Halliwell

Manchester-based Bank North has appointed Louise Halliwell as head of savings.

Louise joins following almost eight years at the Yorkshire Building Society, as a senior manager, in which she led the savings products department across a range of the group’s brands. Louise brings more than 20 years of banking experience, the last 12 of which as a savings specialist.

Before joining the Yorkshire Building Society, Louise worked at the Skipton Building Society, overseeing sustainable balance sheet growth across the building society’s savings portfolio. Louise has also held managerial and other roles at industry leaders such as Lloyds Banking Group, HBOS, and NatWest.

In her role, Louise will oversee Bank North’s savings product strategy, a vital component of delivering a successful regional bank for the UK. Louise’s vast experience and consumer knowledge will help Bank North tailor attractive savings products, as well as delivering an excellent customer experience. Attracting consumer deposits will ensure that Bank North is able to deliver fast, business-centric, and local lending to UK SMEs.

Louise’s appointment comes as Bank North continues to strengthen its team following a successful Series A funding round and Banking License (AWR (Authorised with Restrictions)) awarded by the PRA & FCA earlier this year.

Jonathan Thompson, Bank North CEO, said: “Louise will bring to Bank North huge expertise in the UK savings market, and will help ensure that we can deliver the most compelling offer, coupled with the best possible service to our future customers. I am excited to work with Louise and our growing team of experts as they continue to build our offer. Savers will play a vital role in helping Bank North to shake up the UK SME lending market, and our products must be crafted to recognise this – supporting our customers to build their savings.”

Louise Halliwell said: “It is great to join Bank North at such an exciting time in the business’s journey. Having led the savings teams at established brands, I am looking forward to working with the Bank North team to craft a range of new savings products to appeal to UK savers.

“In a short time, Bank North has already achieved a great deal, from building a revolutionary model to appeal to UK SME’s and commercial brokers to receiving AWR, and I look forward to helping to shape the next chapter in the bank’s journey.

“As an authorised bank, our future customers will be able to deposit their savings at Bank North safe in the knowledge that their money enjoys the same FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) protection as they would at any of the big high street banks.”


CBRE has further strengthened its Northern UK development team in Manchester with the appointment of Andrew Playfer as senior director.

Andrew’s background in both public and private sectors will bolster the team’s development and strategic advisory expertise.

Andrew joins the team from Cheshire West and Chester Council where he was head of property. His role with the council involved team restructuring, asset management, disposal and investment policy planning, as well as implementing processes and process mapping across the property team.

Prior to that he was director for AEW UK, which saw him lead on the asset management of its shopping centre portfolio and associate director for JLL, where he managed the Standard Life Shopping Centre portfolio.

Andrew Playfer

At CBRE Andrew will focus on projects with both public and private sector clients around the UK, specialising in the North West and in particular, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

He will concentrate on working with local authorities on their organisational structure, portfolio reviews, regeneration strategies and, in particular, shopping centres (retail/town centres).

Alistair Chapman, senior director at CBRE Manchester, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the team. Andrew brings with him a wealth of experience working within the local authority sector and his extensive private practice background will be instrumental in providing CBRE’s clients with tailored and expert advice to maximise the performance of property portfolios.”

Andrew Playfer, said: “I am pleased to be joining such a dynamic team. The development sector is currently a very exciting area to work in and CBRE is at the forefront with market leading insight and expertise. I look forward to working with both new and existing clients in broadening and strengthening CBRE’s offer.”


Brown Shipley, a Quintet Private Bank, has appointed Georgina Breeze as a client advisor for Manchester. She will report to Martin Cuthbert, head of Brown Shipley’s Manchester office.

Georgina Breeze

Ms Breeze brings 13 years of experience, joining from Barclays Wealth and Investment Management where she spent the past 10 years looking after high net worth and entrepreneur clients, providing investment advice on discretionary and advisory portfolios. Prior to her time at Barclays Wealth, Ms Breeze started her career in financial services at St James’s Place, where she joined as a business development manager, later being appointed as a financial adviser, responsible for attracting new clients and looking after their investment and financial planning needs. She also holds a voluntary position as a school governor.

Martin Cuthbert said: “Georgina brings extensive expertise in the client advisory sector, representing our ongoing intentions to continue strengthening our presence in Manchester and deliver our wider strategic growth plans in the North West.”

Georgina said: “I am passionate about understanding our clients’ needs and helping them to achieve their financial goals.

“Brown Shipley’s ability to provide a bespoke wealth management service as part of the Quintet group resonated strongly with me, and I am delighted to be joining the team in Manchester having built my career in the North West.”


Liverpool-based full service Shopify Plus agency, Velstar, has made six new hires as it prepares for ambitious growth in 2022.

Amit Singh

Amit Singh joins as senior front end developer, with more than a decade of experience designing and developing bespoke online stores for direct to consumer brands. Razi Syed has also been appointed to the role of senior front end developer. Having previously worked for Velstar as a freelancer, he’s secured a permanent position with more than six years of developer experience. Both Razi and Amit will work remotely as part of the agency’s new hybrid working model.

Also joining the development team as junior front end developer is Liverpool Hope University graduate, Richard Waters. Having studied computer science, Waters has gained a wealth of experience building online systems, as well as work experience at various design agencies, creating CRM systems and mobile apps.

Vince Hollwyood

Meanwhile, Vince Hollywood has been hired to strengthen the back end development team’s capabilities. He joins from marketing and development agency, The Loft, and has more than 20 years of programming experience.

Michael Gainford fills the newly created role as tester. With more than 10 years of experience working as an analyst in the financial, automotive and construction industries, he will be responsible for ensuring the highest quality software is created before deployment.

Finally, completing the line up of new hires is Jack Powell as junior UX/UI designer. After working as a freelancer, he has gained a wide range of experience in Shopify design, particularly within the fashion industry.

Velstar CEO, Dan Sheard, said: “The calibre of talent that we have at Velstar is key to our success as a business and is what sets us apart from so many of our competitors. We’re excited to welcome these six new talented individuals who bring fresh experience, ideas and energy to our team.

“It’s a really exciting time for us. We’re working with bigger brands than ever before, including international names such as AVON, Castore and YourZooki. These huge client wins are a testament to the quality of work we’re producing and the high standard of service we’re delivering.”

He added: “We have ambitious growth plans for 2022, so we’re currently on a major recruitment drive across all the departments, including digital marketing, UX/UI design and front end development. And to support our growth and expansion plans, we will be moving to a bigger office space in the new year located in the heart of Liverpool’s business district.”


Blackburn-based Pierce Business Advisory & Accountancy Group has welcomed two new directors in its corporate finance and tax divisions as it continues its growth plans.

Steve Bell, who has more than 30 years’ experience in corporate finance, joins Pierce’s six-strong and growing corporate finance team, which has had an active year advising on many substantial deals and has been involved in securing more than £60m CBILs lending.

Steve joins from Sheffield-based Castle Square Corporate Finance, where he spent seven years as a director. In addition, he has also held corporate finance roles at Haines Watts and Grant Thornton and was an investment manager with YFM Group. He will work alongside existing corporate finance directors, Kevin Steven, John Green and David Sharpe.

Steve Bell, left, and Dominica Ball

Dominic Ball joins Pierce as tax director and will lead the 10-strong department alongside Nadeem Hussain. He brings more than 15 years’ experience working for PWC, Grant Thornton and, more recently, his own tax consultancy firm.

Jimmy King, Pierce’s managing director, said: “Following our management buyout in 2019, we set in place a plan for growth. It would see teams across the practice welcome talented individuals to provide our clients with the best knowledge and advice to help them grow their businesses and navigate the many challenges.

“Steve and Dominic bring with them years of experience that will prove to be invaluable to our clients and professional partners. Both share our vision and fit seamlessly into our ‘can-do’ and value-added approach, and they’ll undoubtedly have a key part in making Pierce a continued success. We are delighted that Steve and Dominic have joined the Pierce team.”

Established in 1929, Pierce has a team of more than 75 people operating from its Blackburn headquarters across the UK. It has specialist sector teams advising clients in manufacturing, engineering, professional services, construction and property.