People: MHA Moore and Smalley; Alternative Futures Group; OBI; Avison Young; Castlefield; Place Capital Group

Elizabeth Hall and Robin Houghton

A new senior consultant has been appointed at North West accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley to strengthen the company’s growing financial planning team.

Robin Houghton has joined the firm as senior financial planning consultant from Tilney Financial Planning, where he spent 12 years as a chartered and certified financial planner.

Specialising in working with entrepreneurs and NHS professionals and based primarily at MHA Moore and Smalley’s Preston office, he will support clients across the UK on a wide range of financial planning issues.

Elizabeth Hall, financial planning director, MHA Moore and Smalley said: “Robin is an experienced financial planner and his unique areas of expertise will add to the strong knowledge base we already have within the team.”

Robin is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, where he is an examiner for the CFPTM qualification, the global gold standard for financial planners.

He said: “I’m proud to be joining MHA Moore and Smalley and looking forward to using my skills and experience to support existing and new MHA Moore and Smalley clients while developing my own expertise.”


North West health and social care provider, Alternative Futures Group (AFG), has appointed Brian Walsh as its new chair of trustees.

He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge having spent more than 35 years of his professional career working in social care, academic institutions, health and the charity sector. He is an experienced and respected chair of learning disability and social care charities and retired from his role as executive director of adult and c hildren’s socialc care in 2015.

He has previously chaired the board of Keyring – a national charity for people with learning disabilities – and represented the ADASS executive group in England (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services).

Brian Walsh

Brian currently chairs the board of QUAD, an independent arts, digital media and exhibition centre in Derby. He is keen to see how the two charities can work more closely together to promote the arts and use of digital technology to enhance further independence and choice for people who access AFG services.

Brian took up the role of chair of trustees at AFG in November 2021 and will succeed the outgoing chair, Chris Hannah, who has served the board for eight years.

Ian Pritchard, AFG chief executive, said: “His substantial leadership experience in the third sector along with his influential adult social care experience will be invaluable in supporting AFG to reach its ambition to become ‘the market leading provider of innovative and digitally-connected support for our people’.”

Brian Walsh said: “Taking on the role of c hair of trustees at AFG is a real honour for me. The work that the charity and its support workers carry out changing lives and providing greater outcomes for the people they support, particularly in these challenging times, is outstanding.”


Manchester property firm OBI has made three hires across its Workplace team to kick-off 2022.

Vicky Peacock

Nathan Potts joined in a senior role bringing 10 years of experience in commercial and residential interior design. He also holds a position at the University of Salford lecturing on the BA Hons Interior Design course.

Nathan has led the design on a number of large scale commercial and residential projects across the UK and the Middle East, with previous positions held at BDP and 74 Architects prior to joining the OBI team.

Vicky Peacock has also joined the team. She has previously worked on a number of serviced office space interiors and commercial workspaces including 111 Piccadilly and on the redevelopment of Cotton House.

Rebecca Callahan

Vicky’s appointment comes on the back of Rebecca Callahan joining the workplace team. She has joined from global brand IKEA following graduation with a first-class degree from Manchester Metropolitan University and is set to bolster the team with a series of new projects scheduled for 2022.

Nathan Potts said: “Working with such a strong team with a wealth of experience enables us to deliver a unique service that sets OBI apart from the rest.”

Founder of OBI, Will Lewis, said: “We have strengthened our team with top tier talent which enables us to continue being a workplace market leader and providing advice to our clients alongside delivering high quality office spaces suitable for their needs.

“It’s been great to welcome Nathan, Vicky and Rebecca to the team, and we are looking forward to the year ahead as we continue working with our key clients on their workplace offering.”


Avison Young has boosted its project consultancy and management team in Manchester with the appointment of project management and advisory consultant, Ramone Johnson.

Ramone brings more than 13 years’ experience to Avison Young, primarily from working within the power and real estate sectors in the roles of project manager, employer’s agent, contract administrator and programme set up, management and delivery. Ramone also has extensive experience working with both private and public sector organisations to help them realise not only their commercial objectives, but also their political goals.

Ramone Johnson

As an associate at Avison Young, Ramone’s main responsibilities will be to assist with the successful delivery of vast array of projects and programmes around the country where he will be working with both local authorities and public sector bodies.

Ramone has already been commissioned as a programme management and assurance partner with a local authority body in the North East of the UK and will continue to grow that relationship.

He said: “Joining the team at Avison Young is a real peak in my career and I believe I have the skillset and experience to deliver results that will contribute significantly to the company’s continued growth plans.”

Ramone is also an independent advisor to Liverpool City Council, providing a high level focus on the council’s audit, assurance, and reporting arrangements. He also assists with reviews of the council’s governance, risk management and control frameworks, and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes and develops, maintains and monitors the codes of conduct alongside councillors and other co-opted members.


ESG investment and financial planning specialist Castlefield has appointed William Thomson to its investment management team.

Bill joins Castlefield having been head of office at Brewin Dolphin, in Manchester.

With more than 35 years’ investment management and leadership experience Bill is a well known face within the industry. In this newly created position Bill will use his industry know-how to help build on Castlefield’s existing strong focus on client service to charity and private clients. He will also work closely with the Castlefield Client Engagement Team on new business development initiatives.

Castlefield managing partner, John Eckersley, said: “We know he had a lot of interest from other investment management businesses but recognised that Castlefield, with its employee-owned structure and strong focus on clients’ values, is a unique opportunity.

William Thomson

“As a business with a heritage of managing money for charities, Bill’s experience of working with charity clients and as a charity trustee himself will be invaluable as we look to build on our own recent successes – such as being awarded a mandate by the charitable arm of the ethical research organisation, EIRIS.”

Bill Thomson said: “I’ve been an admirer of Castlefield for some time, as they’re recognised in the industry as a pioneer in the responsible investment field.

“Castlefield has been delivering responsible and sustainable investment since it was first formed, long before it became popular, so the team knows what they’re doing. 2022 is also the firm’s 20th anniversary so it’s an exciting time to join.”

This appointment marks a trio of recent appointments to confirm Castlefield’s broader growth strategy, with Nyle Yates joining as a senior executive in the IT team and Anita Mistry joining as client services executive.

Based in Manchester and styled as the ‘Thoughtful Investor’, Castlefield is an employee-owned investment and financial advisory group, specialising in responsible and sustainable investment.


Place Capital Group, the estate regeneration specialist set up by David Smith-Milne in 2021, has announced a trio of new recruits to support its growing project and development pipeline, taking headcount at its Castlefield and London bases to 29.

Leading the expansion is Eleanor Binns who has joined as project director. Eleanor has previously spent 16 years with project management specialists Buro Four, where she was project director working from the Manchester office. Amongst Eleanor’s projects while with Buro Four were the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) and Gorton Monastery, where she was lead project director.

Eleanor joins Place Capital Group to head up the company’s project delivery and will lead the implementation and delivery of all of PCG’s major projects. These include the regeneration of the Shadsworth estate in Blackburn, a second major estate due to be announced soon, and increasing number of direct development projects that the business is now starting to target.

Eleanor Binns

Eleanor said: “PCG has a unique take on the country’s affordable housing challenge, seeing potential for new, lower cost homes on our ageing, often unloved former council estates, whilst lifting those estates through expert place making. Not only does this innovation excite me, the culture and values that the business brings to the market were exactly aligned with where I wanted to be.”

Ben Burton also joins as a development manager from City of York Council’s zero carbon homes programme. He supported the start-up of the 600-home programme and was development manager for two of the largest zero carbon homes sites in the UK, Duncombe Barracks and Burnholme. He was also involved in the development of extra care housing, sports facilities and community facilities, including the Burnholme Health and Wellbeing campus and Lowfield Green.

Jamie Pratt joins the team as a paid intern. He was previously in the Royal Marines before being medically discharged through injury. He is a second year student of Building Surveying at The University of Salford.

Chief executive David Smith-Milne said: “We are lucky to have found three highly talented, and exceptional individuals, in what is a tight recruitment market. The new team members join our fast growing business which is expanding through recent acquisitions and new and interesting project wins across the UK.”