People: Bevan Brittan; Mills & Reeve; Finance Yorkshire; and more

National law firm Bevan Brittan has appointed a new partner to lead its national Pensions Team in Leeds.

Pensions specialist Nigel Bolton joins the expanding legal business’ wider Employment, Pensions & Immigration practice.

It advises clients across the UK in a range of industries including Energy, Health and Social Care, Housing, Higher Education, Local Government and Financial Services.

The appointment continues the growth of Bevan Brittan’s Leeds office. Five years after opening with a team of eight lawyers, the firm now employs over 55 people in the city, including 13 partners.

Bolton, who joins from Freeths, becomes the sixth partner to be recruited in the past 12 months by the firm, which also promoted 17 lawyers in 2020, including four new partners.

Duncan Weir, managing partner at Bevan Brittan, said: “I am delighted to welcome Nigel to our business and look forward to working with him to grow our national pensions practice, meeting the increasing demand we are seeing for this advice from our clients.

“Having had a strong 2020, despite the obvious challenges every business faced, Nigel’s arrival shows our continued ability and determination to invest in our business and ensure we have good people who understand our clients’ needs and the markets they operate in.”

Michael Boyd, partner and head of the company’a Leeds office, added: “It is a real sign of the confidence we have in our business and in our Leeds office that we are able to make another strong addition to our team.

“Nigel’s appointment is another way in which we can offer our clients across the UK the expertise, market knowledge and support they need in these challenging times.”

Bolton specialises in all aspects of pensions law and acts for Trustees and Sponsoring employers of UK final salary and money purchase schemes, as well as for individuals, Trustees and providers of SIPP and SSAS arrangements.


Victoria Hughes-Barker

Law firm Mills & Reeve has expanded its Leeds real estate team in a move that boosts its sector expertise in healthcare, agriculture and real estate investment.

Victoria Hughes-Barker has joined the team as a senior associate from Pinsent Masons.

She advises across the full spectrum of real estate matters with specific expertise in care home and retirement village property work, which is a key focus for the real estate and healthcare teams.

Meanwhile, associate Fiona Crane has relocated from Cambridge to the Leeds office, which has beefed up the real estate team’s agriculture and food expertise.

She specialises in advising agricultural clients including large landowners on all areas of real estate law including negotiating farming arrangements and the management of rural estates.

Fiona Crane

Simon Sherwood, head of the Leeds team, said: “Our strategy of focusing on our core sectors has enabled us to advise a growing client base of regional, national and international clients who often require highly-complex advice.

“It is a strategy that has fuelled the growth of the Leeds real estate team, which now has seven solicitors and has proven highly resilient in these extremely turbulent times.

“Our reputation in providing unrivalled expertise in the healthcare, agriculture and real estate investment sectors has been enhanced by the arrival of Victoria and Fiona who will play an integral role in the further development of the Leeds team.”


John Warner

Finance Yorkshire has appointed two new board directors and two new members to its Investment Advisory Panel (IAP), which monitors the performance of its fund management teams.

John Warner and Nigel Ward have joined as non-executive directors and Melanie Perkins and Peter Tait will provide support and advice to the Finance Yorkshire board on the performance of its funds as IAP members.

The new appointments come as Finance Yorkshire is well advanced in developing its new investment fund to support business growth across the region.

The fund is being created using the legacy monies created by the success of Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund and has the support of the two Government departments, which provided a proportion of its original investment capital.

Warner is senior partner at BHP Accountants after spending 10 years as its managing partner. He was a member of Finance Yorkshire’s IAP and is chairman of the South Yorkshire Investment Fund. He is also a trustee of a number of local charities.

Ward was a partner at PwC where he headed its Northern Transaction Services practice for many years advising businesses across a range of industry sectors on acquisitions, disposals and finance raising.

Nigel Ward

He holds a number of other non-executive roles providing commercial advice to companies in the region.

Perkins is an experienced commercial private equity professional and held executive roles with the British Business Bank, Capital for Enterprise and 3i. She is a non-executive director of The Key Fund.

Tait has more than 35 years’ experience working in the asset management, investment trust and pension fund industries.

He is a director of the Murray Income Trust and a member of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Finance and Investment Committee.

Finance Yorkshire chairman James Newman said: “These important appointments are being made as Finance Yorkshire enters a new chapter, to create a new fund that will build on the successful achievements of our previous fund.

“Strengthening our board and the IAP provides us with additional, valuable commercial experience and scrutiny to ensure the new fund invests to enable companies across the region to realise their ambitions to grow and prosper.

“I would also like to thank Peter Myers and Peter Yendell, who are retiring from the Board and IAP respectively, for their significant contributions to the success of Finance Yorkshire  over many years.”


Yorkshire-based Sewell Group has announced Jo Barnes as its new managing director of Sewell Estates.

Sewell Estates is made up of Sewell Investments, Sewell Construction, Sewell Facilities Management, Illingworth and Gregory and Shared Agenda. Sewell Group also includes the retail operations of Sewell on the go.

Barnes will work with Simon Davison, Group finance director, and the business unit managing directors to take Sewell Estates to the next level, finding new business synergies and opportunities in line with the Group’s growth aspirations.

She said: “I’m privileged to work with such a talented, creative and hard-working group of people and I’m really excited to contribute all I can to the next phase in our Sewell journey.”

She has 26 years’ experience working in property development and regeneration across the North of England and Scotland.

She joined Sewell Group in 2008, initially as CEO of Hull Citycare. In 2012, she went on to establish Shared Agenda, a specialist estates consultancy that delivers services across the UK.

Barnes, a Chartered Director, also represents Sewell on various company boards, including the education and regeneration vehicle Hull Esteem, and the joint venture behind the £200m Yorkshire Energy Park development, Hull Eco Park Limited.

She will continue in her role as MD of Shared Agenda, whilst leading the collaborative effort of the Sewell Estates businesses.

Paul Sewell

Paul Sewell, chairman of Sewell Group, said that for some time, he has intentionally been less involved in the day to day business operations, allowing the next generation of business leaders to flourish and shape the Sewell Estates of the future.

He said: “This is the natural next step. Over the past few years our senior team has demonstrated that, even in the toughest of times, our Estates businesses are robust, well led, and filled with talented people.

“Over the past decade Jo has grown our public private partnership Citycare and created its hugely successful sister company Shared Agenda. In doing so, she has proven herself to be an outstanding business leader.

“I am hence delighted that she will now become our Estates Managing Director who will coordinate our businesses in Investment, Construction and Facilities Management and work with their leaders to take us to the next level.”