People: Cowgills; eCapital Commercial Finance; MHA Moore and Smalley; PM+M; Claritas Tax; Fylde Rugby

Rob Lord and James Marshall

Cowgills, the business and advisory firm, has appointed James Marshall as deal origination director, to support both the company’s rapidly growing corporate finance team and the wider group.

James, who joins from BGF Private Equity and was also formerly with Clearwater International, will be based out of Cowgills’ Manchester office in Spinningfields. He will be working closely with the corporate finance team and under deal origination partner, Rob Lord.

Rob said: “2022 has been another year of extraordinary growth for the corporate finance team and we are delighted to welcome James into the deal origination team, which will help us with identifying future opportunities and generate deal flow. His background is a perfect fit for our business and this is another high quality senior appointment for Cowgills as we continue to grow rapidly.”

James’s appointment follows the recent expansion of the transaction services team and a series of new partner announcements across Cowgills’ offices in Bolton and Liverpool in recent weeks.

James added: “Joining Cowgills at a time of such unprecedented growth is a really exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to supporting the team and working closely with Rob Lord to continue to drive the business forward.”


Invoice financier, eCapital Commercial Finance, has appointed Joe Roe to the role of regional sales manager. Based at eCapital’s Manchester office, Joe will be responsible for working with businesses in the North West region to enable greater access to vital funding solutions.

The appointment comes on the back of a period of continued growth for eCapital as demand for finance continues. The company, having remained committed to delivering funding solutions to businesses throughout what has been a challenging few years, has seen a 52% uplift in the amount of finance provided to UK SMEs in the past year alone.

Joe Roe

In joining eCapital, Joe brings with him a wealth of experience having spent more than a decade working within the debt collection industry. Having worked most recently at Cerberus Receivables Management his focus has always been on supporting clients whose businesses were affected by customers failure to pay their dues.
He has earned a reputation for building strong relationships to help resolve the issues. He said: “I’m moving to the positive side of the equation – working with businesses who want to access funding to make their business plans come to life. Despite these challenging times, it’s great to see business owners’ resilience and determination to keep their businesses moving forward.”

Darren Cottenden, director of eCapital, said: “Businesses in the region need to know that in the current economic and political climes they have unfailing support from their funders – eCapital are totally committed to doing what we can to support our clients as we navigate through the next 12 months and Joe will be instrumental in delivering that support.”


Accountancy and advisory form MHA Moore and Smalley has welcomed 37 new trainees and apprentices as part of its 2022 cohort.

The new recruits will be based across the firm’s North West offices supporting clients and colleagues across the region. They are part of a total cohort of more than 100 trainees to join MHA across the UK.

The 2022 group is made up of a mix of university, college and sixth form graduates who will now embark upon professional accounting and tax qualifications funded by the firm.

In addition to this, three interns also join the firm on 12-month work placements to gain industry experience alongside their degree studies.

2022 intake

Rebecca Coombes, HR director at MHA Moore and Smalley, said this is a record number of trainees for the firm in a single intake: “Once again, we’ve been hugely impressed with the professional and personal qualities of those who applied and so the successful candidates deserve huge credit.

“This is about creating great futures for our people, clients and communities. This group represent the next generation and we look forward to helping them grow and develop successful careers with us.”

MHA Moore and Smalley is part of MHA, a UK-wide network of independent accountants and business advisers with 30 offices nationwide. MHA collectively employs 136 partners, 1,375 staff and has a combined turnover of £121.9m.

The firm has offices across the Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria region.


Blackburn and Bury-based PM+M – the chartered accountancy, business advisory and financial planning group – has named its latest group of apprentices who will be working across the firm’s accounting, audit, tax, cloud accounting and financial planning teams.

This year, PM+M has recruited its largest intake, appointing nine new apprentices.

Joining the Blackburn office are: Alice Young, Muneebah Pathan, Mazhar Patel, Afeefah Panchbhaya, Dylan Howorth, Freddie Park and Sumayyah Karolia, while the Bury office has welcomed Tyler Morton and Safaa Chaudary.

Back row (L to R): Alice Young, Mazhar Patel, Safaa Chaudary, Dylan Howorth and Muneebah Pathan. Front: Afeefah Panchbhaya, Freddie Park, Tyler Morton and Sumayyah Karolia

The new trainees will work alongside their colleagues to gain hands on and practical experience and at the same time will study towards their chosen qualifications.

Jane Parry, managing partner of PM+M, said: “Everyone at PM+M knows the value they add, and we are collectively looking forward to helping each one kick start their career and reach their full potential.”

Muneebah Pathan said: “Myself and the other new apprentices are so excited to be joining PM+M. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn and gain valuable experience so this is an opportunity that we will all be grabbing with both hands – especially as PM+M is so committed to supporting young talent across Lancashire and Greater Manchester.”


Claritas Tax, the independent tax advisory firm with offices in Manchester, Birmingham, and London, has promoted Alex Hall to associate partner.

The promotion forms part of the firm’s growth strategy and reflects the firm’s commitment to professional development and career progression.

Alex Hall

Alex Hall said: “I am very lucky to be part of the Claritas Tax team and the support I have received since joining has been incredible. It feels like I have been here a lot longer than 10 months and I am looking forward to contributing to the continued growth of the firm in my new role.”

Matt Hodgson, partner, said: “It has been a very strong year for Claritas, in which Alex has helped to play a crucial part. We are passionate about providing our employees opportunities to maximise their potential and Claritas is proud to have Alex on our team.”

Iain Wright, partner, said: “Alex is a fantastic member of the team. This promotion is a hugely deserved recognition of his hard work, talent, and dedication to delivering strategic excellence. I know that he’ll continue to further our ambitious growth, delivering an outstanding service for our clients.”


Fylde Rugby Community Foundation has revealed several appointments.

Vicki Thompson has joined the Trustee Board. An accountant by profession, Vicki has been involved in a number of non-profit roles, with an emphasis on supporting the local community. She is currently a Trustee at The Boathouse Youth Charity in Blackpool.

She has spent many years enthusiastically following rugby from the touchlines with her husband and four sons. This has encouraged her to become involved in girls’ rugby through the Foundation and helped her to gain her RFU coaching qualification.

Chris Brown has also become Honorary Treasurer. A keen rugby fan, he is passionate about giving back to the local community.

Vicki Thompson

He is the founder and managing director of Chartered Accountants Brown & Co, based on the Fylde Coast. As well as Chris being Honorary Treasurer, Brown and Co is providing the compliance services to the Foundation. Chris has a wealth of experience supporting both small and large local businesses, having previously spent nearly eight years at KPMG.

Chris is the current President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for Lancashire & South Lakeland and plays an active role in developing the next generation of Chartered Accountants in the region.

He is also a member of The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network, a network committed to supporting the local community and raising aspirations for young people.

And Phill Mills has been promoted to Foundation manager. Phill started with the Foundation in September 2020, as head of community coaching and has worked with the board of Trustees, community group and his coaching team to grow rugby engagement in Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool through a range of programmes.

With a wealth of coaching experience in the community and representative sectors and after completing his Sports Coaching degree at the University of Central Lancashire, he started his journey at Preston Grasshoppers RFC before setting up a tag rugby coaching business.

Phill also worked as a community rugby coach for England Rugby, and has had numerous coaching roles including head coach at Uclan and forwards coach for Lancashire u17s.

He has come from a rugby playing background including playing for Fylde Rugby 1st XV and has represented Lancashire and England Counties. He is responsible for developing and managing the delivery of programmes while growing and sustaining contracts with clients. In addition, he will be responsible for managing existing relationships with sponsors and other grant awarding bodies and developing new relationships.