People: Davis Blank Furniss; pro-manchester; BDO; Wealth Recovery Solicitors; Pugh; PM+M

Kirsty Morbey and Alison Cameron

Law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Alison Cameron as a senior associate solicitor in its family team.

Alison’s new role will see her acting on behalf of clients seeking advice on key aspects of family law including relationship breakdowns and divorce proceedings, financial matters as well as arrangements for children.

Alison will primarily be based in Glossop and will be working closely with Kirsty Morbey – partner and head of the family team. She joins the firm from Manners Pimblett Solicitors. She has also previously worked at Russell and Russell Solicitors and TWP which was acquired by SAS Daniels in 2012.

Kirsty Morbey said: “The last 12 months has been a strong period for the family team so we are delighted that Alison has joined us. Her empathetic approach and strong experience will enhance our service and help our clients during challenging times in their lives.”

Alison said: “Davis Blank Furniss is one of the region’s best known law firms so I am pleased to now be working alongside Kirsty and the team.”


Danny Simpson

Professional organisation, pro-manchester, has appointed Danny Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Mid communications, as its new chair. Jennifer Smith, from Forbes Solicitors, and Ngozi Wellor, from Aurora Wellness Group, were also voted in as board members at the AGM held this Wednesday (September 20).

Danny takes over the position from Sean Williams, head of professional sector channel within the commercial lending team at Together, who has been in post for the past 12 months.

Danny’s journey at Mid Communications has taken him from a sales executive in retail to a regional leader to an experienced sales director for six years with a demonstrated history of working in the telecommunications industry, supporting the growth from £3.5m to £20m.

On taking the chair role, he said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity to harness my passion to foster a culture of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity. Working alongside pro-manchester emulates that.”

Sam Booth, pro-manchester CEO, said: “Danny brings an enthusiasm that is second to none, he is a force to be reckoned with and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the next 12 months.”

Nicola McCormick, pro-manchester COO, said “Danny is so passionate about Manchester, sustainable development, and ensuring that we meet his social, economic, and environmental goals, and that rubs off on everyone he meets.”

Sean Williams said: “I’d like to say a particular thanks and huge appreciation to Sam, Nicola, and the whole pro-m team for the amazing work that they do in delivering the programme that adds the value it does to our members.”


Claire Frangou

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO has strengthened its North West team with the appointment of Claire Frangou.

Claire joins the corporate finance team as partner. She brings more than 25 years’ experience to the firm, with expertise in advising on mergers and acquisitions, disposals and fund raising, including extensive experience of private equity.

Angela Cross, partner and head of BDO in the North West, said: “Claire is a valuable addition to both the North West and National M&A teams. Her experience will be vital, as we look to strengthen our footprint in this field and continue to build a talented team in the region.”

Claire will be based in the firm’s Manchester office and will work alongside a team of 17 corporate finance specialists, including partner Jason Whitworth, managing director James Fieldhouse, and directors Chris Cumber and Jonathan Lewis. She joins from KPMG.

She said: “I believe there is an excellent opportunity to combine my experience and relationships with the existing strength of the team to create a market leading position in the North West.

“The North West has an incredibly strong entrepreneurial history, and that ensures there is always a flow of M&A opportunity as founders look for funding and to exit. Manchester is the second largest private equity community in Europe and that will continue to underpin and fund activity in the region.

“In the next few months, the level of activity may be affected by wider economic pressures, but there are strong drivers to deals – both corporate and private equity have a desire to invest and founders may wish crystallise value at existing tax rates prior to the next election.”


From left: Max Bibby, Grace Sloan, Mark Montaldo, Thomas Blanchfield

Wealth Recovery Solicitors (WRS ETL), the Manchester-based specialist law firm that helps victims of crypto and conventional investment scams recover their funds, has made four new appointments to its team.

Mark Montaldo, a former director of the Liverpool-based claims specialist CEL Solicitors, has joined as a consultant solicitor. He has 15 years’ experience in litigation and dispute resolution, covering a wide range of claims, and has latterly specialised in disputes arising from financial mis-selling and fraud, recovering millions of pounds on behalf of clients.

Thomas Blanchfield, a trained accountant and experienced finance director, is also a former director of CEL. In his role as a consultant at WRS ETL he will assist the firm both in the growth of its current work streams and the further development of its fraud department.

The firm has also welcomed Max Bibby and Grace Sloan to its team. Mr Bibby joins as a crypto trace investigator from fellow ETL Global member firm Glaisyers ETL, where he worked in business administration.

Ms Sloan, meanwhile, has joined as a trainee solicitor on secondment from Glaisyers ETL. She first joined Glaisyers as a litigation paralegal in 2019, and will complete the final seat of her training contract at WRS ETL.

WRS ETL was founded in March 2021, by director Josh Chinn, a qualified solicitor, and operations director Richard Irving. Within less than a year of being established the firm became part of the ETL Global network of professional services firms, members of which employ more than 20,000 people across more than 50 countries worldwide.

Josh Chinn said: “I would like to welcome Mark, Thomas, Grace and Max to the team. They join at an exciting time for our firm, which is on course to record around 600% year-on-year growth in 2023.”


Andy Thompson, left, and Paul Thompson

Auction house Pugh has boosted its senior team with the appointment of award winning auctions specialist, Andy Thompson, previously a director at SDL Property Auctions.

Thompson joins Pugh as a director and has more than 15 years’ experience of the North West auctions market, starting out in his property career with Edward Mellor before joining SDL Property Auctions in Manchester as a valuer in 2017. He was appointed SDL director of auctions in 2022.

Thompson’s appointment comes after Pugh joined forces with South Yorkshire property auctioneer Mark Jenkinson this summer to combine the two firms’ monthly auction listings and create one of the north’s largest property auctions. Both Pugh and Mark Jenkinson are part of property group Eddisons.

Pugh managing director, Paul Thompson, said: “Andy has rapidly become one of the leading lights of the North West auctions industry and we’re really pleased to welcome him to the Pugh team, where I have no doubt he will go from strength to strength and help to drive the continued growth of the business.

“Andy played a key role in establishing SDL Auctions’ presence in the North West and his extensive expertise in the auctions market, will be invaluable to us as Pugh continually works to provide the very best service to our clients.”

Andy Thompson said: “This is an exciting time to join Pugh, which is fast becoming the go-to property auction house in the north and more widely across the country.”


Jane Parry and Helen Clayton

PM+M, the Blackburn and Bury-based chartered accountancy, business advisory and financial planning group, has revealed a change at the top.

Managing partner of eight years, Jane Parry, will be retiring in April 2024. She will be stepping down as managing partner on September 30, when Helen Clayton, partner in the audit, accounting and advisory team, will assume the role.

Jane joined PM+M 14 years ago and was appointed managing partner in 2015. She will remain as a tax partner until she fully retires at the end of April to ensure a smooth transition period. During the six month handover period, Jane will be working closely with fellow tax partners, Roger Phillips and Wendy Anderson, who will together be leading PM+M’s tax service delivery following her departure.

Helen Clayton joined PM+M in 2015. Over the past eight years, she has spearheaded the opening of the firm’s Bury office and led on its continuing expansion. She has worked closely with Jane on all team recruitment, retention and progression matters, with both transforming the talent development programme at PM+M.

Jane said: “Leading PM+M has been a huge privilege and the highlight of my career. I am so proud of all that we have achieved in my time and to have played my part in taking the firm to what it is today. I will be leaving behind a great team and have every confidence they will continue to take the business forward and keep looking after our clients.

“Helenhas a wealth of experience and expertise and I have full confidence in her ability to lead PM+M into a successful future.”

Helen said: “Under Jane’s leadership, PM+M has gone from strength to strength. Her vision, ambition and style has inspired the whole team, so my focus will be on continuing to ensure PM+M moves forward as a relevant and inclusive business, continuing to take immense pride in its people, clients and connections across all our communities. I would like to personally thank Jane for everything she has done, in particular her mentoring of me personally.”